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Unanswered Prayers: The Most Common Reasons Why

Discussion in 'Prayer Request' started by hadirfuss, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. #1 hadirfuss, Jul 3, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006

    One of the greatest benefits afforded to every Christian is the privilege of answered prayers. In the Bible, Jesus made this tremendous promise, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matt 21:22). However, despite the Lord’s willingness to answer prayer, it is obvious that some prayers have gone unanswered. Why is this? The following are the most common reasons why some prayers do not get results:

    1. Lack of Fellowship with God and His word

    John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

    Unanswered prayers are sometimes a result of absence from fellowship with the Lord and His Word. Jesus promised that if we would remain in His fellowship, and allow His Word to remain in us, this would produce results in prayer.

    2. Not seeking to Please the Lord

    1 John 3:22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
    Answers to prayer come when we seek to keep His commandments and please the Lord with our life. This is not to suggest that we “earn” answered prayers, any more than we can earn salvation which comes only by faith (Eph. 2:8-9).

    He answers our prayers from his “grace” and “mercy” (Heb. 4:16), not merely from our good deeds. However, keeping His commandments and pleasing the Lord is a product of our obedience to His word, which is faith in action (James 2:20). What are His commandments? He commanded that we are to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourself (Mark 12:30-31).

    Further, Jesus said we are to love our brethren as He has loved us. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Lack of love, bitterness, unforgiveness is the root of many unanswered prayers, since faith works by love (Gal 5:6).

    3. Unconfessed Sin in One’s Life

    1 Peter 3:12 “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”
    There is no doubt that sin will disrupt the flow of God’s blessings and answers to prayer. The psalmist, David wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear” (Psa. 66:18).
    All acts of rebellion and disobedience to God is considered sin. Sins of “commission,” are those overt acts which are done in disobedience. However, sins of “omission,” are those things we don’t do in obedience, but know we should (James 4:17). The remedy for all sin is to confess it to God, forsake it, and ask Him to forgive you (1 John 1:9).

    4. Improper Motives

    James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
    Our motives in our prayer requests are of concern to the Lord. He wishes to help us in our time of need, but is not obligated to answer prayers which will merely feed our carnal, worldly appetites and (lustful) pleasures.
    Our motives and desires can be corrected by humbling ourselves, and drawing near to God (James 4:8-10).

    5. Not asking in God’s will

    1 John 5:14-15 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

    God will only answer those prayers that are in “His” will. When we ask anything that is in His will, we can have assurance that those “petitions” (requests) are granted to us. God’s will is revealed through His Word, the Bible. Anything promised by His Word is His will, and we can be confident that He’ll honor our prayers based on His Word.

    6. Don’t know how to pray

    Luke 11:1 "...Lord, teach us to pray...”
    Some lack effectiveness in prayer simply because they don’t know what the scriptures teach about prayer. Jesus gave His disciples an outline for prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Take the time to study it.

    Other passages teach that prayer is primarily to be a private, intimate time with the Lord (Matt. 6:6), to be intermingled with praise and thanksgiving (Acts 16:25, Phil. 4:6). Times of fasting with prayer are beneficial to strengthen our faith and power in prayer (Acts 14:23, 1 Cor. 7:5). Jesus often went to secluded places to spend prolonged periods in prayer (Luke 6:12, Matt. 4:2).

    7. Lack of Faith

    Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
    We cannot please God without faith.

    Prayer is not merely “begging” from God. It is “believing” God and His Word! Faith will come forth and grow as we devote our attention to the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Our faith can also be “built up,” by praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20).

    8. Misunderstanding of Faith

    Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Many do not understand that faith is believing in the reality of things, even though we cannot see them (Heb. 11:1).

    Jesus said that “when” you pray, you must believe that you “receive” your answer at that moment. The word, “receive” comes from the Greek word, LAMBANO, which means “to receive now” (present tense). He then says we will “have” them. "Have" comes from, ESOMAI, which means “to possess later” (future tense).

    So, when we pray we must believe in the finished results of our prayer, and we will eventually experience the tangible results sometime later.

    9. Wavering faith

    James 1:6-7 “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;”

    There are those who allow every “wind” of feelings or circumstances to influence or discourage their faith. They vacillate back and forth, like the waves tossed about in the sea. One day they believe, but the next, they’re ready to give up, and so forth.

    Such persons usually base their faith on their feelings or emotions instead of God’s Word. They who waver in their faith cannot expect to receive “anything of the Lord.” Our faith must become stable, steadfast, and consistent to receive from God.

    10. Failure to apply spiritual Authority

    Mark 11:23 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”

    There are times that some prayers may not get far until we incorporate the spoken authority of the name of Jesus. The reason for this is that the problems we face may “sometimes” be a product of an evil spiritual origin. As Paul writes, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).

    In such cases, our prayers may need to engage in what we call “spiritual warfare” to obtain results.
    The need for this type of prayer is most obvious whenever Christians deal directly with demonic activity. For this evil operation to cease, our prayers need to include the exercise of spiritual authority against the devil in the name of Jesus, commanding him to leave (Acts 16:18).

    Therefore, as Jesus indicated, there will be times that we may need to literally speak to mountains (symbolic of obstacles and problems) and tell them to move in Jesus’ name.

    11. Lack of Perseverance

    Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

    Probably the greatest reason that some prayers go unanswered is because many give-up praying and believing before they receive their answer.

    As long as we have the promise of God’s Word, be patient and persistent - keep believing, and don’t quit, no matter how long it takes! God has a “due season” when He will bring the answer to pass.
    Chad, Amby, jpk2271 and 4 others like this.
  2. Excellent word study!!

    Thank you for taking the time to post this.
  3. That was amazing, thank you so much for that post. it has helped me a lot
  4. Good post hadirfuss,

    I believe that the breaking of fellowship or communion with Jesus is the number one reason. Many have a very unrealistic idea of their communion with the Lord Jesus. When we are disobedient we are not in submission to His authority or government and not in communion with Him.

    Luke 6:46 " and why call ye me, Lord,Lord and do not the things I say."
  5. Scriptures that may help...Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” [NKJV] Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" [NASB]
  6. WOW! Thank you for the post!! God bless y'all.!
  7. Very informative ! A good checklist .
    GBU all
  8. Great post. Personally I'm still trying to do the perservering part. I have been praying about a situation for probably 2-3 months now everyday, so many times a day. I believe it will pay off, but I'm not getting any stronger. In fact I feel I may be loosing hope at times, but I know my God. He wont let me down when I truly desire to do his will and see his will happen in my life. Very good post ;)
  9. Thank you for the post, however all of them are great but here is one more I do not see, and I believe: God is in Control and His Ways are not our ways or his thoughts our thoughts so even though we pray we must remember all though the verses tell us to ask and it is given to us, but does it mean it is
    God's Will for us , that it will happen! After all we may ask
    for something that would hurt us in the end, for we
    have no way of knowing the future.

    Therefore when you pray do not be afraid to ask God
    for something that you desire, knowing that He who knows
    all, He is looking out for you. For God has said: THEN YOU
    HEART. ( JEREMIAH 29:12-13 )

    Also do not think that God has abandoned you if a
    prayer isn't answered the way you want. After all, in time,
    you may look back on that prayer request and say "Thank God, He
    Didn't Answer That One!"
  10. GLC, #5 covers that already.

    5. Not asking in God’s will

    That applies to what your mentioning.
  11. Thank you ! Another post to print and put in my map with other great posts.
  12. I feel the same way
  13. Thank you so much for the post ,I have already recognised my areas of weaknesses.

    God bless you.
  14. #14 glc2457, Apr 16, 2008
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
    Just heard this, I know it is an old

    Hello everyone.
    I was listening to my pastor a couple of weeks ago, he was talking about different things. this was one I really enjoyed. C.S. Lewis from the book Shadow land *story about his wife*, He said, He does not pray for God to change His mind; He prays for God to help him to accept God's will in the prayer. For his mind and heart to accept God's will. I loved that. Wanted to share thank you *if to long I apolize*
  15. Wow there is so much here to learn and take in...I feel really blessed to have read this post and I really feel that I can take all of this and apply it to my prayer life and this will really help me.

    Thank you !!!
  16. text

    Thank God for that inspiring encouragements, I've been through this. Honestly, this time I really need someonein which I want to lean on,to cry on for me tobe released.
  17. A must read

    wow! thanks so much for sharing with us. It has blessed me and i have shared with so many of my friends and colleagues. We plan to study the points further during our weekly meeting at the office.

    God bless
  18. I agree it must be in HIS WILL.And that HE is More concerned about the eternal than the now !

    And many times are our motives for our desires are wrong?

    Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
    Jas 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

    Faith only works coupled with LOVE!
    Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

    Act 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
    Act 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

    This guy doubted , it appears to me?
    So Peter pulled HIm up.Now ,He must believe or fall?

    Peter it appears to me? Helped his faith!

    You know i broke my ankle bad a good while back ./the next day, it really looked bad and i could not touch the floor with it!

    I said ,LORD you going to heal this or not?

    He said? you going to walk in faith or NOT?

    Well ,i took about three steps in great pain and it was healed .it still looked just as bad , but was great .soon after a few days the color changed to normal .I never had a problem since with it .

    I had sugar diabetes bad , my sugar had gone to 1008 . i spent 4 days in the hospital ,when i got out ? I had to take 5 shots a day
    I was praying of course, But I was saying ?

    If it could be in HIS perfect will. I wanted healed .But if it had to be in HIS [permisive will? i did not want healing.
    Well, it took about 2 or 3 weeks to get healed:kiss:
  19. Dear hadirfuss

    Your Thread has given me some insight. Praise God!!

    This morning I came to my office disappointed because I was not selected for a Job that I had prayed earnestly for. (My family prayed fervently for that too).

    My written test was great. I was in the top 10. my oral interview went great. Than last night, i recieved a call from my friend who works in the org. that i had applied for. She was in the selection committe. She congratulated me for i had made it! I was advised to look out for the detailed result that will be published in the newspaper today.

    In a matter of an hour, the list was resuffled and i was de-selected.

    I thanked Christ for this turn of events for i beleive He has something better for me, yet i could not help thinking...I am truely consecrated to Christ...where have i gone wrong? The reason i applied was that the pay was great which meant that i could save a substantial amount for my theological studies at Kentucky i plan to do next fall. The job was literally mine because i am qualified for that but... i still wonder why?


  20. Oh what a wonderful promise. thankyou Jesus

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