Some of the questions I am frequently asked are... "Why doesn't God answer my prayers?" ..."Doesn't He see my needs?" ..."Doesn't He care about me?"
So,I'd like to address these questions... The first thing you need to be assured of, is God knows your needs before you even ask (Matthew 6:8)
Second, God cares unequivocally about you. Here are some scriptures to back that up...
I Peter 5:7 "Cast your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you."
Ephesians 5:29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.
Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Matthew 6:25-26"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
If you are feeling like God does not answer your prayers because He doesn't care about you, or your needs... that is a lie from the enemy and you need to remember what God says... then believe it and trust that His word is true.
THE NEXT THING YOU NEED TO KNOW, IS WE HAVE THE ASSURANCE THAT GOD HEARS EVERY PRAYER ...
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. -Psalm 34:15
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him - Psalm 4:3
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. - Psalm 18:6
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words Romans 8:26 (This means that even when we don’t know the words to pray…when all we can do is groan because our hearts are heavy,, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and always knows what is in our hearts)
How God Answers Our Prayers
SOMETIMES THE ANSWER IS "YES"...
SOMETIMES THE ANSWER IS "NO" OR HE CHOOSES TO ANSWER DIFFERENTLY THAT WHAT WE PRAYED FOR. God Sees the bigger picture of our lives. He might know that what you are asking is not the best thing for you or someone you are praying for... or He sees the negative things that could occur if He were to give you what you are asking... or perhaps He has something better in mind. If God doesn't give us what we are asking for, we have to remember that He has a good plan and a purpose for everything in our lives and He only wants the very best for us. He is looking at everything from an eternal perspective. Our time on earth is meant to prepare us for eternity. God cares about our physical needs, but He is infinitely more concerned about our spiritual needs and growth. This is where knowing God's character and knowing His promises are so important. When we have faith and trust in Him, then we can rest knowing that He hears our prayers, sees our needs and He is faithful to answer according to His will, which is always the best.
SOMETIMES, THE ANSWER IS "WAIT". THERE IS VALUE IN WAITING. THERE ARE MANY LESSONS TO BE TAUGHT IN OUR PERIODS OF WAITING. THERE ARE SO MANY EXAMPLES IN THE BIBLE, OF THOSE WHO HAD TO WAIT, SOMETIMES FOR A VERY LONG PERIOD OF TIME, BEFORE THEY SAW GOD'S PROMISES FULFILLED AND THEIR PRAYERS ANSWERED. GOD IS NEVER LATE OR EARLY...HE IS ALWAYS RIGHT ON TIME... BUT IN OUR HUMANNESS, IT IS EASY TO GROW WEARY, DISCOURAGED, FRUSTRATED AND IMPATIENT IN OUR TIMES OF WAITING. IF WE TRUST GOD AND TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD, WE KNOW THAT HE WANTS ONLY THE BEST FOR US AND IT IS WORTH NOT RUSHING AHEAD OR TRYING TO FORCE THINGS OR MAKE THEM HAPPEN IN OUR OWN TIME.
There are many things that we will never know, or understand, this side of heaven... things like, why some people are healed and others aren't ...why some people are spared from tragedies and others aren't... We need to know that when our prayers aren't answered, it doesn't mean it's because we are necessarily doing something wrong...sometimes we can be doing everything right... Remember, when we are living a life that is pleasing to God, we are more of a target for the enemy. We must remember that we live in a fallen world and there is evil in this world. God created this world to be perfect, but sin entered in. God does not cause evil... God does not cause anyone to sin or do bad things, yet God gets blamed for a lot of things that are not His doing. God made a way for us through Jesus, and God does promise to work all things together for good for those who love Him. He will redeem what the enemy has meant for our harm. We are told there will be suffering in this world...that we will share in the suffering of Christ, so we should not believe those who misconstrue scripture and say that say if we have enough faith, that we will never be sick, or that if we are sick, it's because there is sin in our lives... that we will only have financial prosperity, etc. The Bible is full of examples of people that followed God and were beloved by Him, yet faced every form of adversity here on earth.
The Apostle Paul, who was one of the most faith filled people who has walked this earth, prayed three times to be healed of an affliction and God told Him, "His grace was sufficient, that when we are weak He is strong in us." Sometimes God allows things for a greater good. An example of this is Joni Eareckson Tada. She is one of the most inspiring Christ followers that I know...she has such deep abiding faith and God has used her quadriplegia and disability to help millions of people around the world. I was astounded to hear that people have actually said to her, if she only had more faith she would be healed. We can pray, asking in faith and believing with all of our hearts that God can and will heal us, but at times, He doesn't choose to heal in this life because He has a greater plan and purpose for our illness or infirmity...what the enemy has meant for our harm...what the enemy hoped would be a stumbling block to our faith, God will turn around and redeem and use for our good and His glory.
So, I want to make sure that it is clear that by sharing these Bible verses listed below, I am NOT saying that someone you loved died because you lacked faith, or that you weren't healed because of some unconfessed sin in your life. I have no idea and can't presume to know why anyone's prayers are not being answered. I am in no way trying to heap guilt, or blame on a hurting heart... but, I am sharing scriptures so that you might know what the Word of God says, so you can reflect on these things and pray about them to see if there is anything in your life that might be hindering your prayers.
ARE YOU TURNING AWAY FROM SCRIPTURE?
If we don't spend time learning God's word and obeying what we learned, we should not expect God to answer our prayers. King Solomon says in the book of Proverbs, that prayers made from a hardened heart are an abomination to God. “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” Proverbs 28:9). God gives us His word, so He can speak to us. If we disobey what He teaches, He will not answer our prayers.
Now we know that God hears not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and does his will, him he hears (John 9:31)
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; (Psalm 34:15)
The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened (Psalm 66:18)
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:19)
DO YOU HAVE UNCONFESSED SIN IN YOUR LIFE?
Before we decide that God simply doesn't hear our prayers or that it's not His will to give us what we ask, we need to think about if there is any sin that we have not confessed to God...we can pray and ask Him to reveal if there is any unconfessed sin as well. Sin separates us from God...it creates a barrier between us and Him and so it hinders prayer... It breaks the communication link between us and God.
“If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18),
If you have anger, bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart towards someone else or you hold a grudge it can hinder your prayers from being answered because those things are sinful and they separate you from God.
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard. 1 Peter 3:7 NLT
GOD WILL ONLY ANSWER OUR PRAYERS WHEN WE PRAY AND ASK ACCORDING TO GOD'S WILL
1 John 5: 14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
YOU ASK WITH WRONG MOTIVES
James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Selfish motives will not be blessed by God. We must ask in accordance with God’s will as revealed in the Bible. We must ask only for things that are consistent with the character and nature of God. We must ask for things that are for the spiritual benefit of ourselves or for the person on whose behalf we pray. God will not answer self-centered prayers.
YOU ASK WHILE DOUBTING
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 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. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:5-8
Prayers are hindered when we doubt God. The Lord requires total belief and trust in His word. To question God's word, is to call Him a liar. Prayer should be in line with the word of God. Therefore, faith in His word is a guarantee for answer to prayer. Sometimes we go to God and ask Him for something that is positively promised in His word, but we do not totally believe and expect it to happen. Such an attitude would definitely hinder our prayers. God and His word can never fail, never change and never disappoint. He that doubt's God's word is unstable and can't obtain answers from the Lord.
I THINK IT IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE, WE CAN BE PRAYING FOR SOMETHING WITH ALL THE RIGHT MOTIVES AND THERE IS NOTHING IN OUR LIFE TO HINDER OUR PRAYERS, BUT OUR PRAYER STILL MIGHT NOT BE ANSWERED... NOT BECAUSE OF US, BUT BECAUSE OF ANOTHER PERSON INVOLVED IN THE SITUATION...AN EXAMPLE OF THIS IS IF A SPOUSE LEAVES AND WANTS A DIVORCE THAT YOU DON'T WANT... GOD WILL NEVER IMPOSE HIS WILL ON SOMEONE AND FORCE THEM TO DO THE RIGHT THING IF THEY ARE NOT WILLING. IF THAT PERSON HAS HARDENED THEIR HEART AND WANTS TO LEAVE, GOD WILL NOT FORCE THE PARTNER WHO WANTS TO LEAVE, TO STAY.
NO MATTER WHAT THE ISSUES IS... SALVATION, SIN, ADDICTION, ABUSE, ETC...GOD ALWAYS WANTS PEOPLE TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND TO MAKE CHOICES THAT ARE IN ALIGNMENT WITH HIS WILL AND HIS COMMANDMENTS, BUT GOD GAVE US FREE WILL AND GOD WILL NEVER FORCE SOMEONE TO MAKE THE CORRECT CHOICES... BUT THEY WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR CHOICES AND THEIR CHOICES AND ACTIONS MIGHT ALSO AFFECT OTHERS.
WHEN WE ARE AFFECTED BY THE NEGATIVE CHOICES OF OTHERS, SUCH AS WHEN A SPOUSE LEAVES, THE BELIEVER CAN REST ASSURED THAT GOD WILL REDEEM WHAT THE ENEMY MEANT FOR HARM IN OUR LIVES. HE WILL DO AS HE PROMISES IN ROMANS 8:28 TO WORK ALL THINGS TOGETHER FOR GOOD FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE. EVEN THOUGH THERE IS FREE WILL, WE SHOULD NOT STOP PRAYING FOR OTHERS...FOR THEIR HEARTS TO BE SOFTENED... FOR THEM TO SEE CLEARLY...FOR THEM TO BE CONVICTED OF THEIR SIN, ETC. GOD DOES DO MIRACLES IN LIVES THAT ARE YIELDED TO HIM. PERSISTENT PRAYER CAN CHANGE THINGS.