Apologetics, Biblical Doctrines, Faith, Prayer, Theology

Why Some Prayers are Unanswered

There are specific reasons why some prayers are not answered.

Some prayers are not answered because they are not offered. “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). Henry Ford had a friend in the insurance business, but one day Mr. Ford bought a million-dollar policy from another insurance agent. His friend called and asked why. Mr. Ford replied, “You didn’t ask me!”

Some prayers are not answered because there is a wrong motive. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3). The Lord is interested in what we ask for and why we ask for things. Our hearts are to be guided by holy motives with God’s glory in view.

Some prayers are not answered because there is a wrong spirit in our hearts. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). Bitterness, jealousy, and hatred will poison the fragrance of prayer.

Some prayers are not answered because the Christian is not abiding in Christ and keeping His commandments. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

Some prayers are not answered because the Lord sees the prayer is not sincere and is not earnest enough. Moses cried out, “Answer my plea for Israel or blot me out of Thy book!” (Exodus 32:32). Jacob said, “I will not let thee go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). John Knox said, “Give me Scotland or I die!” The Bible says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Some prayers are not answered because it is not believed that the prayers will be answered. Sometimes, because God has a sense of humor He might just go ahead and answer our prayer despite unbelief as He did in the case of the saints who were praying for the release of Peter from prison. But they did not really believe it was going to happen despite the fact that the apostle was banging on the front door of the house!

Some prayers are not answered because there is a lack of submission to the known will of God.

We must always pray in the right spirit with the confidence that God wants to answer our prayers for the sake of His own dear Son.

In the Civil War a wealthy couple lost their only son. Their sorrow was overwhelming. They shut themselves up with their grief and refused to see anyone. One day a young man rang their doorbell and asked to see them. The butler told him that they would see no one, that they had suffered a great loss. The young man pulled a letter out of his pocket and said, “Take this to them.” The butler carried the letter in to the couple. The man trembled as he saw the handwriting on the letter. “Look mother,” he said, “this is our son’s handwriting.” He read the letter with trembling hands and quivering lips and this is what it said:

“Dear father and mother. The man who brings you this letter was my best friend in the army. He helped me on many occasions. Now in what I believe will be my last hours he is with me. If he ever comes your way, give him the best you have, for your son’s sake.” You know what that couple did, don’t you? They took that young man in and gave him the best they had, for their son’s sake. Our Father in heaven is rich; He holds the wealth of the world in His hands. He has all we need and is ready and willing to supply those needs. So come now and call upon Him and He’ll give you the best He has for His Son’s sake.

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