Why do we Ask and Not Receive?
Abraham Raymond Eli
There are several reasons why our prayers may not be answered. It is hoped that this brief list will trigger in you the necessary actions needed to achieve the fullness of joy promised in Scripture as a result of answers to our prayers.
There is a set time for everything, and possibly, the time God has set to answer your prayer has not yet come.
“And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him” (Gen. 21:1-2).
“Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come” (Psalms 102:13).
So, patiently wait.
You may be asking amiss. The Bible tells us that when we ask and are not getting answers, we may be asking with wrong and selfish motives.
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3).
You may have set your mind on something and just want God to rubberstamp it. When you take such a position you will only get the answer in your mind! Therefore, never approach God with deception in your heart.
“Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me and sat before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? 4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; 5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. 7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separated himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself: 8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him; 11 That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord God” (Ezek. 14:1-11).
You are not asking in faith. Without faith, we cannot obtain anything from God.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waver is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:5,6).
You are asking, doubting. The Bible says that a doubter or double-minded man cannot receive anything from God.
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waver is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8).
There may be unconfessed sin in your life. Sin isolates you and your requests from God.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
When you confess your sins, fellowship is restored as are answers to your prayers.
For husbands, you may be treating your wife contrary to God’s command.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
You may have rebuffed God’s counsel to you. If you refuse God’s counsel, He will not hear your prayers.
“Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21 She cried in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttered her words, saying, 22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkens unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil” (Prov. 1:20-33).
You may not have asked according to God’s will (1 John 5:14–15). To mitigate this, pray in the Spirit.
“Likewise, the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom. 7:26, 27).
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:10,11).
You are not importunate in prayer. Continue to ask until God answers.
“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of my adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8).
It is time to start getting answers to your prayers.
It is my prayer that as you review the brief list above, the Lord will help you deal with the issues you need to deal with so that you can begin to enjoy unfettered access to God and answers to all your prayers.
But bear in mind that answers to your prayers do not always mean that you will get what you want. It simply means that you will hear from God!