One of the most common complaints a minister will hear is, “I prayed and nothing happened”. The “why my prayer went unanswered” question is one of the most common and can be one of the most frustrating for all concerned. Unanswered prayers can create doubt and resentment and in a worst case scenario hurt feelings and even apostasy.
So why do prayers sometimes go unanswered? I mean, “ask and ye shall receive”, right?
James makes a point very clear. That if we ask to satisfy a carnal lust or desire then more than likely we will not receive what we petition for.
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3).
In Psalm 145 David reveals something else. God hears those that call on Him in truth, show piety, reverence and love towards Him.
“Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy” (Psalm 145:16-20).
Evil thoughts and evil intentions will get a pass from God too!
“I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me” (Psalm 66:17-20).
If we love God then we will keep his commandments. God will be a natural outflow from our being. God’s will, will be our will and desire. What we pray for and how will reflect this love and devotion to Him
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14).
Maintaining our love and integrity with God and believing in the name of Jesus Christ and all that He is our assurance of prayers asked and answered.
“Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:21-24).
Jesus Christ gave us a prayer to model our prayers after. We do not have to recite this prayer verbatim, for that would be reverting back to the old mindset of Jewish tradition. It is the spirit and intent of this prayer that Jesus wanted us to learn.
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13).
Some of the key components to the Lord’s Prayer is recognizing the supremacy and righteousness of God, asking for forgiveness and offering sincere gratitude and thanks for supplying our every need and keeping us out of the way of evil.
Every prayer should have the above components included in it. But sometimes we are in the right mind and spirit but still our prayers go unanswered. Everything happens in God’s time not ours. Sometimes answers are delayed as a way for us to realize our true level of faith in Him. It can be a time of understanding our relationship. It can also be a time of “Father knows best” and He’s just waiting for us to figure it out.
God always has our best interests at heart. Once we put our trust in that then all worry will go away.
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