This is it. The most common question I get when teaching a prayer seminar.
“Why didn’t my prayer get answered?” Or “I prayed and prayed about ____________but it’s like God never even heard me”.
Why does that happen? Well, I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but here are some I’ve discovered in the Bible…
- Unforgiveness. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” -Jesus (Mark 11:24-25 NIV).
- Sin that’s cherished. “If I had cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” -Psalm 66:18-19 NIV
- Disrespect in the home. “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.“ -1 Peter 3:7 NIV
- Evil motives. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” -James 4:3 NIV
- Lack of faith. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” -Jesus (Mark 11:24 NIV). Also – “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” -Jesus (Matthew 21:22 NIV)
- Hypocrisy. ““Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other (the self-righteous Pharisee), went home justified before God.” -Jesus (Luke 18:13-14 NIV)
- Quitting too soon. “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (See Luke 18:1-8 NIV). Also – “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” -Colossians 4:2 NIV
No – you don’t have to be perfect to get amazing answers to prayer… but you do have to be consistent. Since all our prayers come from inside the human spirit, and are filtered through our heart’s condition, prayers arrive at God’s throne with the imprint of our own discipleship.
Seven reasons prayers get rejected. I’m sure there are many more. Can you think of any?