By   •   June 1, 2004   •   Topics:


Why doesn’t God seem to answer my prayers?


So often we are inclined to think that the only answer God can give our prayers is “yes.” We need to remember that “no” is an answer also. “No” is certainly an answer of love on the part of our Heavenly Father when we ask Him for things which are not really for our good or for His glory. God does not always give us what we want; He gives us what we need. Just as a good parent does not grant all the requests of his child, God does not answer every request in the way we desire.

When we think of “unanswered” prayer, it may be that we do not understand the way in which God responds to our requests. He may not grant an immediate answer, and sometimes our prayers are answered in a way that we fail to recognize. We pray for prosperity, and sometimes financial stress is given. But our souls are made stronger for the test. We pray for health, and affliction is given, and we are better able to sympathize with those in affliction. God makes no mistakes, though at times we may question His wisdom.

Our motive for making a request to God must be pure. If your prayer is self-centered, concerned with the gratification of your own desires, God cannot, in faithfulness, grant your requests. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Perhaps you are praying for a person close to you, and you have not seen any changes. God can work through your prayers to soften a heart or to bring about circumstances to draw those for whom you are praying closer to Him. However, God has given man a free will. If your prayers are not always answered as you expect, it is not because God is not working in the situation. It may be that the person for whom you are praying has not yet responded to God’s call. You must not permit yourself to give in to despair. You should, however, continue in prayer, knowing that the Lord is more concerned for them than you are and that it is His will to help them; read 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, and 1 John 5:14-15.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published but you will receive our next BGEA ministry update. You can opt out of future emails at any time.


  1. Gale Nielsen says:

    Chemotherapy done for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma-ocular – left eye cancer. Praying for wisdom for next step in my plan of care. I have gotten skeptical and frustrated with modern medicine and doctors–hoping/praying to continue on a more natural path to remission. On a Mission to be Cancer-free! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻s

  2. Pamela Mills says:

    I am struggling to work to part-time jobs. I have been praying and asking God for help. But I notice that my prayers have not been answered. Is is that
    God is punishing me?

    1. BGEA says:

      Hi Pamela,

      Here is an answer to your question from Billy Graham:

      My Answer

      – BGEA Staff

  3. Jason says:

    This is the reason I came to this blog. I’ve been praying for someone, Andrew, for quite some time. I dd not know if my prayers and thoughts have been working in his life. I know that although I’m concerned for his path in life, God is MORE concerned. I have grown weary in despair with concern for him as it seems he’s pushed me away out of his life. I’m often troubled with my own thoughts of the choices I fear he is making, but I am doing my best to not give in to hope, deliverance, and salvation. This helped me today–“Perhaps you are praying for a person close to you, and you have not seen any changes. God can work through your prayers to soften a heart or to bring about circumstances to draw those for whom you are praying closer to Him.”

  4. Barbara Fletcher says:

    I am a frustrated Christian right now, I have been for a while, I have a lot that is going on but first and foremost, my husband and I have been having issues with our 18 month old daughter- not eating as well as not sleeping well through the night.. we constantly pray for her.. and ask God to give her the need to eat…as well as sleeping in her crib…she hasn’t gained much weight and her Dr. knows about everything that’s going on but-nothing.. Our daughters’ name is Faith..hubby and I are losing faith because our prayers are not getting answered.. it’s affecting our marriage because we don’t have time to spend with each other as husband and wife.

    1. BGEA says:

      We are so sorry to hear of your struggles. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, be assured that He is always with you. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 31:6 that the Lord “will never leave you nor forsake you.” You are not alone; He knows you and understands your suffering. 1 Peter 5:7 says. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

      Remember, though, that sometimes God answers prayer in ways we aren’t expecting and in His own perfect timing. He can use our struggles to strengthen our faith or to work things out behind the scenes in ways we don’t see or understand. But He is still in control.

      Continue praying and seeking His guidance. We are not meant to face struggles alone; God is here to help us and wants us to trust in Him.

      Learn more about finding peace with God:

  5. Lars says:

    How do you know God is even there, if when you pray for something, you accept the outcome as His answer, no matter what it is? How do you know that what happens, would not just happen anyway?
    And how can man truly pray without selfish motives? If you really look at your own motivation, I do not believe that man can do anything that is not selfish in some way. Even if you pray for a miracle to heal someone, that is also selfish, as you do not want to loose someone close to you.
    And how do you reconcile this with Matt 10:9 (if your son asks for bread, would you give him a stone?), is wanting food not also selfish? It seems that there are plenty of times where we end up with stones or snakes in life, after asking for just a drink of water.

  6. Lyne says:

    you said “If your prayer is self-centered, concerned with the gratification of your own desires” i have prayed for almost 10 years for God to send me a helpmate, a good christian man, with godly virtues. Is that a self-centered prayer, only gratifying myself? because i do not understand why my prayer has not been answered, making me feel like i cannot ever be loved especially as everyone my age and younger are settled in their homes. I am getting much older and the fervor and belief that God is listening and will answer this prayer has declined drastically over time. I recently applied for something that was going to really help me and my chances for a career change, i received a mail two days ago and my application was denied. I’m so sad.

    1. BGEA says:

      Lyne, we can certainly understand your desire to marry. Marriage is a wonderful blessing. At the same time, we encourage you not to spend your energy on being concerned about being single. Singleness can also be a blessing!

      Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Commit this area of your life to God. Ask Him to reveal His plans for you and to guide you each day. He loves you and wants what’s best for you. If marriage is included in God’s plan for your life, make certain that you consider marriage only to someone who knows and loves Christ and intends to make Him the center of the relationship (2 Corinthians 6:14).

      Remember that it’s not necessarily God’s will for everyone to marry. 1 Corinthians 7:7 says, “I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of a husband or wife, and others he gives the gift of being able to stay happily unmarried” (TLB).

      Every Christian must answer the question, “Is it God’s will that I marry?” God has our best interests at heart, even if we don’t understand them. Whether married or single, you can be truly fulfilled by following God’s plan and purpose for your life.

      We encourage you to get involved in a Gospel-preaching church and other Christian organizations in your area where you will gain friendships and find opportunities to serve. If you have not already done so, organize your day so that you will have a special time to spend alone with God. Be sure that you do not neglect this “quiet time,” since communion with God will give you power to overcome discouragement and to understand and follow God’s will for your life.

  7. Jeff says:

    I hope god is with me. I am facing tough times. I thank everyone who said a prayer for me, I appreciate all the help I can get. I’ll never give up trying.

  8. Rick says:

    My mom has had COPD for the last 10 years, also she has had two heart attacks, a stroke, and a botched gallbladder surgery. I have been praying for that long for God to heal her to no avail. These last few months have been particularly bad with her having many hospital visits. I now take care of her 24/7 with almost no time to myself. She is very depressed and losing hope.

  9. Denell says:

    I’m a Christian grew up in the church my father was a pastor but he wasn’t a rightoust one I’ve been through so many storms but I made it through these last couple of months has been rough but I’m not giving up right now just need you to pray for me thank you

    1. Jeff says:

      Don’t ever give up, just give it your best every day. I think eventually something good will happen, it has to. Don’t let things bring you down without a fight.