I pray, and pray. I’m encouraged by what I hear. I try all the methods and techniques presented – yet nothing. Maybe all this Christian business is for someone else? Maybe God loves everyone else – except me? I’ll give up. After all, better to feel horrible on my own, than trying to serve a God who doesn’t care about me – right?
Does that sound anything like the life you lead? Are you waiting on God but He isn’t answering? When I was a new Christian, I went through the motions of hearing and believing all that was before me. I left church inspired that God would finally show up in a powerful way. As if “now” I had the answer. As if, “now” I finally locked in on the secrets that had avoided me for years. Answers would soon flood into my life. I soon learned in some ways I was right in my thinking, and my doctrine on prayer would sharpen. Why isn’t God answering your prayers? Here are 3 reasons taken from my life.
- I did not understand what an answer to prayer was. We ask people questions all day long and they give us an answer. They might give us a yes answer or a no answer. They might give us a paragraph length explanation. But nonetheless, they give us answer. Why have we decided that when it comes to God an answer to prayer equates to us getting what we want or asked for? Living a Christian life does not mean we will get everything we desire. Being a Christian does not mean you’ll get the job you want, or promoted faster than everyone else. It does not mean you’ll have a successful business. It doesn’t mean you’ll get the car you want, or the kind of clothes you want. It doesn’t mean you’ll be picked first in the NBA draft or score the most touchdowns, or win a gold medal. Being a Christian means you die to yourself so that Christ can live in you. Can you be a Christian and have success in many areas of your life? Certainly. When your prayers align with God. You will pray for His will in your life. You will pray for His Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen you. When favor comes, God is the first one you give credit to. You might see a Christian who is very successful, but do you know how patient they were? Do you know how many no’s they heard from God? Do you know how many times God told them to wait – yet they didn’t give up? Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
- Your heart isn’t right with God. The first year as a Christian I did everything out of formality. I read my Bible just to get answers to prayer. I gave to the church, just to get answers to my prayers. I was not sincerely seeking God. I hated my life and being a Christian was the answer. I resented the pathetic life I had lived, therefore God owed me – right? I thought He did, but I was wrong. And needless-to-say, I did not see many victories my first year as a Christian. God does not save us so that we can treat Him like a genie in a bottle which we think will fix every problem we’ve ever had. He saves us so wecan live a fulfilling life. I almost gave up serving God because I didn’t get it. Confusion ran my mind. Why is it people who were non-Christians had everything they wanted and needed yet I could barely feed my children? God was waiting to provide – He was also waiting for my heart to change toward Him. Deuteronomy 30:20 “Love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.”
- You’ve missed His answer. Is is possible to miss God’s answer to prayer? I think so. I recall my husband and I would pray for a certain need, but in our minds we would already know how God would provide. For example, let’s say we prayed for God to provide money we needed for rent. Instead of waiting for Him to answer we’d call up a family member and ask to borrow the money. They didn’t have it. Now we’re mad at God because we assumed that was the way He would answer our prayers. We acted – instead of waiting. Here is an example of waiting. A few years ago we had a sudden move and needed around $500 for extras in our new home. We prayed and asked God to provide us $500 to get the things we needed. About two days later a check arrived in the mail for exactly $500! It was money owed to us from a claim three years earlier. We had completely forgotten about it – but God didn’t. It arrived in our mailbox at the perfect time through our prayers to Him. Psalm 115:5 “God provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.”
Now as I have mentioned in other posts, the last thing I ever want to do is write a feel good message. My desire is never for my readers to treat God like He should dump every material item we ask for on our laps every time we ask. Our one and only goal is to seek the Kingdom of God. Jesus says in Matthew 6:8 that God knows our needs. We either conclude God doesn’t care about us, or we must look inside our misguided hearts. When we seek first the Kingdom of God our desire for God’s will heightens. We are no longer bombarded with menial items in life. His presence, His love, His grace, His mercy, is all we care about. Reaching lost souls become more important. Praying for others occupy our minds. God does answer prayers – all day. When your heart humbles toward God – you will wait – for his love satisfies the soul.