Dr. Rick Koole
You just keep praying, but never seem to get an answer, and you ask yourself “Why?” Is it because God doesn’t hear your prayers; or is it because God hears but doesn’t care about them? As a pastor, I get asked this question often, so let me share with you from the book of James six reasons why it may seem like God isn’t answering your prayers.
Because we fail to ask.
James 4:2 states it bluntly, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” By far the most common reason prayers are not answered, is because we fail to ask God. The lesson is, don’t be shy about bringing your petitions to God. I can assure you He hears.
Because we ask … but doubt.
James 1:6-7 says, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.” It is vital that we have faith that God is not only capable of answering our requests, but that as a loving father He wants to give what is best for us.
Because we ask for selfish reasons.
James 4:2-3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” As a father of five, when they were still at home one of my children might ask for something that because of my experience in living I knew would be harmful to them. It wasn’t that I didn’t hear or care for them that I didn’t give it to them, but rather for their good I withheld it. And so it is with God our heavenly father. He knows when our requests are selfish and will lead to harm should He grant them.
Because we have unconfessed sin in our lives.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” As you seek to pray, ask God to reveal to you unconfessed sin and ask Him to forgive you for those sins. The Bible states clearly that “Your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2). This applies to preachers also. A man can preach with unconfessed sin…but he can’t pray with unconfessed sin.
Because we aren’t earnest enough.
James 5:17-18 says, “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” Do you mean business when you pray or do you repeat the same old emotionless pleas for God’s intervention? When Elijah prayed for rain, he fell on his face before God seven times and pleaded earnestly for God’s intervention. Stephen Olford remarked that “This kind of praying costs, for it involves fasting, discipline, and persistence.”
Because God gave us an answer we didn’t want to hear.
God sees the big sees the big picture and often denies us access to a road that will lead to great sorrow. He allows us to suffer events that will help us to grow in our Christian lives. We may think He has not given us an answer when in reality He has, and the answer is “no.” There are times when “We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that sometimes it is God shaking them.” (Charles West).