“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name. I will do it.”
The Scriptures are full of examples of the Lord answering prayers. As a result of prayer Hezekiah’s life was extended by 15 years, Hannah had a son whose name was Samuel, Jairus’ daughter was raised from the dead. You can probably also provide many examples of how the Lord has answered your prayers as well. Remember that Jesus said that if we ask anything in His name He will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
But why does it seem that there are times that the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers? Many times Christians can feel abandoned by the Lord in their times of greatest need. We can be praying for a specific job that would really help our family, but we don’t get it. We can be praying for personal healing and we aren’t getting better. We can pray for someone to be healed and they can die. Does this mean that God has abandoned us or that He just doesn’t care? The answer to these two questions is a definite no. Let me share with you three basic reasons why the Lord may not be answering our prayers.
First it could be that we are just asking out of selfish motivations. James 4:3 tells us, “You ask and don’t receive because you are asking amiss, that we may consume it on our lusts.” Envy and greed and never good reasons to have anything. Typically those things that we want due to an envious spirit or out of greed only work to separate us from our reliance upon God and diminish our love for others.
Next, the Lord will not answer our prayers if we are living in sin. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we find the following, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” The Lord very clearly states that we must be humble, pray, seek Him, turn from our wicked ways and then He will hear and answers our prayers. If we are living in sin we should not be expecting the Lord to hear and answer our prayers.
The final reason I want to discuss is that the Lord could be working to deepen our faith and our reliance on Him. To see an example of this we must consider Paul and the thorn of the flesh he had to deal with found in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Three times Paul prayed that the Lord would remove this problem from his life and three times the Lord said no. We see the Lord’s response to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” The Lord’s strength is perfected in us when we are weak, when we are earnestly seeking Him. Paul began to understand this truth and goes on to say that when he is weak he is at his strongest. God’s grace will see you through your trial or situation. It is during these times in our lives that we depend more upon the Lord’s grace resulting in a deepening of our faith.