How Can Our Prayers Go Unanswered?

As demonstrated by the following scriptures, this question has been asked for many centuries.

Job 31:35 (NIV) says “Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.”

Psalm 13:1 (NIV) says How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”

Habakkuk 1:2 (NIV) says How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?”

To answer the question “How Can Our Prayers Go Unanswered?”, consider the following.


Reason # 1: You Have Not Asked

James 4:2 (NIV) says You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.”

Matthew 7:7 (NIV) says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Reason # 2: You Have Unconfessed Sin

Isaiah 59:1-2 (NIV) saysSurely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

1 Peter 3:12 (NIV) says For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Reason # 3: You Really Don’t Believe

James 1:6-8 (NIV) says But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

Reason # 4: You Have Wrong Motives

James 4:3 (NIV) saysWhen you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Reason # 5: You Have Unresolved Conflicts

Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) says “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

Mark 11:25-26 (NIV) says And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Reason # 6: You Have An Uncompassionate Heart

Proverbs 21:13 (NIV) says Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.”

Reason # 7: You Are An Unresponsive Husband

1 Peter 3:7 (NIV) says Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

Some Final Thoughts

1. When you pray and your request is not according to God’s will, God says “NO”.
2. When you pray and your request is according to God’s will but the timing is wrong, God says “WAIT”.
3. When you pray and your request is according to God’s will and the timing is right, God says YES.

1 John 5:14 (NIV) says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

Don’t Give Up – Resolve Your Issues
And Keep Praying!

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Principles Of Confrontation.

Sometime rebuke is necessary, but it must be used with caution. The purpose of any rebuke, confrontation or discipline is to help people, not hurt them.



2 Corinthians 7:9 (NIV) says yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.”

2 Corinthians 10:2 (NIV) saysI beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.”


2 Corinthians 7:4 (NIV) says “I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.”


2 Corinthians 7:14 (NIV) says I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well.”

2 Corinthians 8:21 (NIV) says For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.”


2 Corinthians 11:22 (NIV) says Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I.”


2 Corinthians 7:13 (NIV) says By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.”

2 Corinthians 12:14 (NIV) says Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.”


2 Corinthians 7:15 (NIV) says And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling.”

2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) saysFinally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”


2 Corinthians 10:3 (NIV) says For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.”

2 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV) says We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.”


2 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV) says “I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others.”

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Do Not Judge Or Slander Others!


Matthew 7:1-2 (NASB) says “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

James 4:11-12 (NASB) says Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?”

James 5:9 (NASB) says Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”

The Bible tells us to examine our own motives and conduct instead of judging others. The traits that bother us in others are often the habits we dislike in ourselves. Our untamed bad habits and behavior patterns are the very ones that we most want to change in others.

Do you find it easy to magnify others faults while excusing your own? If you are ready to criticize someone, check to see if you deserve the same criticism. Judge yourself first, and then lovingly forgive and help the other person.

The statement “Do Not Judge.” is against the kind of hypocritical, judgmental attitude that tears others down in order to build oneself up. It is not a blanket statement against all critical thinking, but a call to be discerning rather than negative.

We are to put our trust in God to be the final Judge.


Matthew 15:19 (NASB) says “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. “

Ephesians 4:29-32 (NASB) says Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

1 Peter 2:12 (NASB) says “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

We can grieve the Holy Spirit by the way we live. The Bible warns us against unwholesome language, bitterness, improper use of anger, brawling, slander and bad attitudes toward others. Instead of acting that way, we should be forgiving, just as God has forgiven us.


This is sometimes difficult to do, but the Bible tells us that we are to act in love toward our neighbors, just as God acted in love toward us by sending His Son to die for our sins.

Remember: We all have faults, no one is perfect! If you don’t go “Fault Looking”, you won’t be a “Fault Finder”. Don’t be the devil’s mouthpiece – always do your best to speak words that edify (build up)!

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Making Choices In Sensitive Issues.

All of us make hundreds of choices every day. Most choices have no right or wrong attached to them – like what you wear or what you eat. But we always face choices that carry a little more weight.

We don’t want to do wrong, and we don’t want to cause others to do wrong, so how can we make such choices?


  • Does my choice help my witness for Christ? (See 1 Corinthians 9:19-22);
  • Am I motivated by a desire to help others to know Christ? (See 1 Corinthians 9:23; 10:33);
  • Does my choice help me to do my best? (See 1 Corinthians 9:25);
  • Is my choice against a specific command in scripture and would it cause me to sin? (See 1 Corinthians 10:12);
  • Is my choice the best and most beneficial course of action? (See 1 Corinthians 10:23, 33);
  • Am I thinking only of myself, or do I truly care about the other person? (See 1 Corinthians 10:24);
  • Am I acting lovingly or selfishly? (See 1 Corinthians 10:28-31);
  • Does my choice glorify God? (See 1 Corinthians 10:31);
  • Will my choice cause someone else to sin? (See 1 Corinthians 10:32).

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NASB) says Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

So, be careful with the words you speak and the actions you take. Let every sensitive issue choice you make be done with kindness and in love!

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Christians, Don't Give Up!

Christians were never promised an easy life. Instead, Bible scripture constantly reminds us that we must have a purpose and a plan because there will be difficult times and Satan will attack us.

Winning a race requires purpose and discipline. The Christian life takes hard work, self-denial, and grueling preparation. As Christians, we are running toward our heavenly reward.

The essential disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and worship equip us to run with vigor and stamina. Don’t merely observe from the grandstand or the pew; don’t just turn out to jog a couple of laps each morning. Train diligently – your spiritual progress depends on it.

At times, we must even give up something good to do what God wants. Each person’s special duties determine the discipline and denial he or she must accept. Without a goal, discipline is nothing but self-punishment. With the goal of pleasing God, our denial seems like nothing compared to the eternal, imperishable reward that will be ours.

But, consider this. It is easy to tell others how to live and then not to take our own advice. We must be careful to practice what we preach so we won’t be disqualified.


1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NASB) says Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

The Purpose
  • Run to get the prize.
  • Run straight to the goal.

The Plan
  • Deny yourself whatever is potentially harmful.
  • Discipline your body, training it.

The Prize
  • A crown that will last forever.


The Purpose
  • Don’t become weary in doing good.
  • Don’t get discouraged and give up.
  • Do good to everyone.

The Plan
  • Sow to please the Holy Spirit.

The Prize
  • Reap eternal life.


The Purpose
  • Put on the full armor of God.
  • Pray on all occasions.

The Plan
  • Use all the pieces of God’s armor provided for you.

The Prize
  • Taking our stand against the devil’s schemes.


The Purpose
  • Press on toward the day when you will be all God wants you to be.

The Plan
  • Forget the past and press on toward what is ahead.

The Prize
  • The prize for which God calls us heavenward.


The Purpose
  • Entrust these great truths to people who will teach them to others.
  • Be strong in Christ’s grace, even when your faith Is faltering.

The Plan
  • Endure hardship like a soldier, and don’t get involved in worldly affairs.
  • Follow the Lord’s rules, as an athlete must do in order to win.
  • Work hard, like a farmer who tends his crops for the harvest.

The Prize
  • We will live and reign with Christ.
  • He always remains faithful to us and always carries out His promises.

Psalm 34:19 (NASB) says Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Remember – God has a plan for your life and a home in heaven for your faithfulness. Don’t Give Up!

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