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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