Why Are My Prayers Not Answered?
In the age of instant media it has never been easier to reach out to others when they are hurting. Whether it is a natural disaster, the death of a pet or someone dealing with disease "prayer and positive thoughts" are sent by many.
Yet, how many people who "send prayers" are actually praying?
And exactly who are they praying to?
Prayer is essential and powerful, yet it is so often misused or not used at all.
We should not send prayers out to the universe in hopes that somehow they will come back to us with our wishes granted.
Prayer is a gift God has given us. It is the ability to communicate with Him.
We do not need to go through Jesus's mother Mary to get to God. We do not need to walk on broken glass, burn incense, offer an animal sacrifice, or do enough good work.
God has open arms and ears waiting for you to come to Him.
Yet, prayer can be a struggle.
We get tired.
We question; does God hear my prayers, will He answer them?
Here are 4 things that can hinder your prayers:
1. You Aren't Spending Time with Jesus and His Word.
Can we really expect to make our requests known to a God that we are not in relationship with?
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John. 15:5-8)
We have to be connected to Jesus. We have to be immersed in Him, and we need to take practical steps to make it happen.
Could you trade your morning social media checkup for an online devotion?
How about talk to God while doing the dishes or perhaps have a time of worship while driving in your car?
You don't have to quit your job and spend hours locked in your room praying to remain in Christ.
In fact quite the opposite. God expects us to work and be productive with our time.
When we choose daily to remain in Christ, we are choosing to turn off the TV, put our phones down and open the word. We choose to talk to God in our heart while working rather than muttering complaints under our breath or letting our mind wonder into places it shouldn't go.
2. You are Living in Sin
If we are truly abiding in Christ, we will pursue holiness and a life pleasing to God.
James urges us to confess our sins and pray for one another. Why? Because "...the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (James 5:16)
If you are living in habitual sin your prayers will be hindered.
If you take on the title of Christian but live for yourself your prayers will be ineffective.
It's not just the big bad sins that keep us from being in tune with God. It is often the distractions of life. The little things that become centre stage and push God to the sidelines.
3. You Pray Wrong
If we are truly in Christ and we immerse ourselves in His word, our prayers will be in accordance to His will.
"You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:2-4).
Prayer is not a magic wand that is meant to get us everything we want exactly when we want it.
God will not answer our requests when they are based on selfish ambition or are contrary to His will.
There is nothing wrong with offering up our requests to God but it should not be the focus of our prayer life.
Think about how your relationships would be if you were constantly being asked for things and there was never an effort to spend time with you or get to know you.
4. You doubt.
Have you ever prayed and then spoke the opposite of what you prayed for?
Perhaps when you pray you utter requests but you really don't have any faith that you will receive.
There are certain things that we can ask for and expect to receive.
James tells us that when we ask for wisdom we"... must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord." (James 1:6-7)
We need to believe God's promises and trust in His faithfulness.
For years I counted myself out. I fully believed good things were in store for others, I just didn't believe it for myself.
Friend, God has good thoughts toward you. Your Heavenly Father loves you and desires to bless you. Just believe!
Next week we will continue talking about prayer with Three Ways We Must Pray!