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.

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  1. Kathy says:

    I’ve been reading the Word and trying to study on this. God is not at my command – the whole book of Job seems to clearly point to this. I know people of considerable more faith than I that have prayer for things like physical healing in their lives in order to carry on ministry. Or people praying for others who are abused or taken advantage of. God is God and can answer how He pleases – according to His knowledge which is greater than ours. So I”m finding it very hard to ask for anything, even things that seem good because it seems not to matter – God is going to do what God is going to do. I’m saved for eternity but not sure of value in hoping for much in this life.

    1. Kathy says:

      Actually continuing above post…the Word says you have not b/c you ask not and then also you ask and do not receive b/c you ask with wrong motives. So it seems quite hard to get it right so to say. And so I am feeling resigned to abundant life in heaven and not very much at all now, which i think is probably wrong but I’m quiet tired of hurting from the seeming answer “no”and trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

    2. Kathy says:

      Continuing previous post…so it is easier, less painful to believe that there is not more freedom from illness for me on earth.

  2. Vance Parten says:

    It’s really easy to say to someone to not give into dispare if you have not ever been in that situation before. My whole world collapsed ( my marriage, finances , health and now it’s working on my faith) I have spent countless hours praying ( actually many many years) and trying to remain faithful to God but I am spent. The last month I moved into despair. I am older and have been abandoned by people and now when I pray and He doesn’t answer I feel like by God. I do not understand all of this at all anymore, I do know this, that unless you have been through this you cannot and will not know exactly how others feel going through extreme pain, hurt and fears that after years of going through these the next step is despair if He doesn’t answer

    1. BGEA says:

      Thank you for your message. Jesus encourages us not to lose hope, and He easily could have lost hope hanging on the cross, dying for our sins. He loves you, Vance, and He doesn’t want you to despair. He wants you to trust in Him. Please consider visiting to talk further with a member of our team.

    2. Jeff Alexander Kosakowski says:

      I try not to loose hope, it’s tough I know I have to keep trying, I would appreciate any prayers I could use all the help I can get. I know it isn’t god’s fault that I struggle in life.

  3. Jill says:

    I started a job on April 4th and things got off to a bad start. I knew the only way I could do my work and live in peace was to dedicate my work to God. I felt really good about things for probably about a month. Our office moved a month ago and it is totally new for me. I haven’t been able to get a grip because I am preoccupied with a new commute and location. I have been praying for clarity in my work so I won’t make as many mistakes. I feel like I’m not getting it. Am I asking for the wrong thing?

  4. Barbara Perkins says:

    Thank You, I needed to hear that. I have been praying for my husband and children to be saved and have not seen any progress. Hopefully you’re right. Thank You!

  5. Melva Payne says:

    I have been a nurse 37 yrs, and the majority of prayers are never answered, even though there was faith they would be… sickness, pain, and death continued, people starving in other countries, that believe in prayer, I don’t understand this, I only get very vague answers, no faith, not God’s will, what am I not getting, my faith too is weak now.

    1. BGEA says:

      Hi Melva,

      Yours and other Christian’s prayers aren’t going unheard. Or even unanswered. Sometimes we just don’t get the response we expect or in the time we expect it. We hope you will take a moment to read more about unanswered prayer:

      Here is Billy Graham’s answer:

      My Answer

      – BGEA Team

  6. david tossas says:

    I have been praying for healing with muscle tightness in my throat and head, neck for many weeks. I do stand on the word of God and I believe for healing. To this very day i am feeling same symptoms. Still in worship and still praying without ceasing for complete healing.