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Why doesn’t God answer prayer?

1) Sin:

    If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; (Psalm 66:18 NIV)

    The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the

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    prayer of the upright pleases him. (Proverbs 15:8 NIV)

    But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2 NIV)

    "We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing , and does His will, He hears him. (John 9:31 NAS)

    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. (James 5:16 NIV)


2) Not God’s Timing - God can answer Yes, No or Wait

    There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

    "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)


3) God has something more to teach us - Often God has a different lesson for us to learn from unanswered prayer. . . or He may be wanting to teach us to persist in prayer. . . or He may want to reveal Himself to us in a new way. . .

    A benefit of persistance: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)

    Paul learned something new from God: To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV)

    Jesus revealed Himself in a new way to Martha and Mary: Read John 11


4) Lack of faith -

    If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matthew 21:22 NIV)

    And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)


5) God may have a better answer for you than what you asked for:

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

6) Requests not God’s will

    This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14 NIV)

    And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:13-14 NIV)

The primary way to know God’s will is through God’s Word!

See also Hindrances to Prayer

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