6 Reasons Why God Doesn't Answer Our Prayers by Lori Hatcher

6 Reasons Why God Doesn't Answer Our Prayers
Lori Hatcher
1 John 5:14-15

“I don’t want anything to do with God,” Sarah said, “what’s the use? He never answers my prayers.”

If we’re honest, most, if not all, of us have felt like Sarah feels. We may not have spoken the words aloud, but we've thought them—in the privacy of our hearts when the night is dark and our fears loom large.

We read verses like John 14:14, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it,” and conclude that either God is a liar or we’re missing something. We pray for good things—healing, provision, protection, deliverance—but see little results.

We conclude, rightly so, that sometimes God chooses not to answer our prayers. Some will argue that a no is an answer, and it is, but that’s not what we’re asking. We’re asking, like the young woman in my example, why doesn’t God say YES to my prayers?

Scripture gives us several reasons why God doesn’t say yes:

1. We harbor sin in our lives. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” We often willfully ignore God and his principles until we need something, and then protest when we doesn’t deliver what we ask.

2. We ask for selfish reasons. James 4:3 nails this one: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” 

I’ll be the first to admit that many of my prayers are SELFISH—along the lines of “Get me out of this; it’s too HAAAAARD,” rather than asking God to teach me, grow me, and enable me to walk through the challenges of life with grace and faith.

3. What we ask for isn’t good for us. A parenting analogy comes to mind. I like to think that most of the requests I said no to from my children were because they weren’t good for them. No, you can’t play ball in the road. No, you can’t eat ice cream for breakfast. No, you can’t ___________(fill in the blank).

Mercifully, God is so much wiser than I am, and I can trust that when he says no to one of my requests, it’s because he knows it’s not good for me.

4. He has something better in mind. I gain great comfort from the fact that God also said no to one of Jesus’ prayers. “Father, let this cup pass from me,” he prayed in agony in the garden of Gethsemane (Mat. 26:39). And to two of his dearest friends, Mary and Martha, “Lord, the ...

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