As Christians, we take our concerns to God in prayer and many of us make it a daily routine as we bring the same situation to God day after day. Our first prayer begins with humility and reverence, but by the millionth prayer for the same issue we wonder if God is even listening to us as our petitions get stronger and our faith gets weaker. What we don’t seem to understand is that He heard us the first time – God is not deaf.
God hears the prayers of His children and we know this because Proverbs 15:29 says, “He hears the prayer of the righteous.” So, is He so busy that our prayers are in a waiting list to be answered? No. God is Omnipresent, which means He is everywhere at the same time and He is not confined to our time or place. He’s Omniscient, which means He knows everything about everything and is very able to answer every single prayer on an individual and personal level. God is Omnipotent, which means He is all-powerful, supreme and unstoppable, so there is nothing and no one who can stop Him for doing anything.
So why doesn’t He answer our prayers when we pray? There are five basic reasons why prayers don’t get answered right away and the onus for each one is on us – not on God.
1) Are You a True Christian?
Many people refer to themselves as Christians. They have a vague knowledge of God and Heaven and accept that He’s up there somewhere and when they need help on earth they pray because that’s what they are supposed to do. But they don’t know God. They aren’t part of the Family of God and they just assume that this Creator will stop what He’s doing every time they have a need or desire and just cater to them. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. God does not acknowledge the prayers of the unsaved.
“The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.” … Proverbs 15:29
Who are the righteous? They are the Christians. They are the people who realize that they need a Savior because they have sin in them and that with that sin they cannot approach the Holy God of Heaven – ever. They are the ones who realize that with that sin they will not go to Heaven when they die, but rather they’ll go to hell and on Judgment Day will be cast into the Lake of Fire [Revelation 20:15].
They are the people who accept that Jesus is the Son of God who came down from Heaven to be a man so that He could take upon His own body all of their sins. They’re the ones who know that He suffered the beatings, torture and brutal punishment for those sins and that when they nailed Him to the cross and He died, He took those sins down to hell on their behalf. They’re the ones who know that God raised Jesus from the dead and that He lives forever more and is their King.
Christians are people who love God, who praise God and who worship God for loving them even when they didn’t know Him. They are the ones who know that His love toward them is so great that He would actually take on a human body just to pay the punishment for their sins. And they know that He did this so they would not have to endure the wrath that He has already established and will come to those who have sin in them.
Christians are the ones who are born again because they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, repent of their sins and turn away from the world. Christians are filled with His Spirit who comes to live in them and give them a new life. They know that the Holy Spirit will now teach them His ways and give them revelation knowledge of His Word as they study the Bible. They are the ones who God hears when they pray. They are the ones who talk to God as a child would talk to their father, and they present their needs to Him and truly thank Him before they see the answer.
God provided a way for you to become part of Him and no longer part of this sinful world. When you are a Christian who loves the Lord and who lives for the Lord, then you will see that He answers the prayers of the righteous.
- Do you have faith or doubt?
Many Christians are true Christians, but they don’t know God very well and so they don’t have the faith in Him to trust Him or believe Him for help. It’s unfortunate that in this world people have become conformed to its ways and understanding and so aren’t able to take their eyes off of their situation and put them onto God.
The only way to know God is to study the Bible and learn about Him [2 Timothy 2:15]. The New Testament is all about God, who He is and who Christians are in Him. The Old Testament is the background that leads to Christ because everything the people did and everything that was prophesied is directed toward the coming Messiah – Jesus Christ.
Christians who truly know God will easily be able to put their faith and trust in Him because they love Him, believe Him and totally trust Him with their lives. So, they walk by faith. But Christians who get saved and then don’t take the time to know the God of their salvation walk by sight because they don’t have any faith or trust in their Savior. So when they pray God hears them, but they don’t look for the answer because they really don’t have faith in God to provide it.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” … 2 Corinthians 5:7
3) Maybe the Answer is ‘No’?
It’s very easy to assume that you know everything and that all God needs to do is trust your judgment and give you what you’re asking for, but sometimes God doesn’t want for you what you want for yourself. Sometimes even Christians will pray and ask God to let them win the lottery, for example. They think that’s okay because after all, God wants them to live life abundantly [John 10:10] and the lottery would sure do that. But God sees into your future and knows whether or not this would be a blessing or a curse. Perhaps too much wealth at one time would send you away from Him and cause you to not seek Him or that it could even eventually cost you your salvation, and so He won’t grant you the petition of your prayers.
Some Christians attend funerals and wonder why God would let that person die. When they get to Heaven they’ll know the answer, but for now they’ll have to accept that God knows what He’s doing and they’ll have to trust Him. There have been countless incidents where people were saved at funerals and that it’s because of the funeral that they got serious with God and with the afterlife of Heaven. Life on earth is for only a few years and eternity is forever, so when Christians lose loved ones here, they keep the joy they share because they know that the person is still alive and in God’s presence. And one day they’ll will be with them again – only this time it will be forever.
4) Are You Praying According to God’s Will?
Sometimes Christians live only in their own little space and don’t want to see the big picture. God has His plan for this world already set out and it’s going just the way He said it would. The book of Revelation tells us what we can expect and what the outcome of this world will be. Satan brought sin into God’s world through Adam, and God has provided the defeat of sin and death through Jesus to all those who believe in Him.
When Christians have an ongoing, loving relationship with God and they study the Bible diligently, then they know who God is and they know how to pray according to His will. They don’t just pray every day for things and hope for them to happen; they pray for the things that they know God wants and they look for them to happen.
Jesus told us in John 14:14, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” As Christians grow in the Lord they become like Him and their heart and their concerns and their priorities become the same as God’s. They won’t pray for lavish expensive cars so they can show off their riches, but rather will pray for a good car to meet their needs. They won’t pray for an abundance of money so they can live well, but will pray for the needs of the poor and the sick so they can live well. [James 5:14]
5) Are You Praising God and Thanking Him?
God is not deaf nor is He unable to do anything. In Matthew 19:25 Jesus tells us, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” You need to trust Him.
So, once you’ve asked God for something you don’t need to ask Him again. He heard you the first time. What you need to do is start to praise Him and thank Him that He hears and answers prayer – that He’s already answered your prayer. Praise Him and thank Him for being a loving Heavenly Father who cares for you enough to die for you. Worship Jesus for being your Savior and for saving you from the wrath of God to come, and for making YOU part of His wonderful family.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” … Philippians 4:6
God loves to hear from you, to talk with you, to communicate with you. He wants you to cast all your cares unto Him because He cares so much for you [1 Peter 5:7]. The devil wants to stop this relationship [John 10:10] because of his hate for God, but Christians don’t need to fear the devil or run from Him. Jesus has already defeated him for you. Praise the Lord!
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