Watch and Pray

This simple blog is devoted to the greatest privilege that man has ever been given; PRAYER.

Unanswered Prayers


I am frequently asked, “Why did my prayer go unanswered?” Quite often that means, “Why wasn’t my prayer answered the way I wanted it?” or “I know God can, but why hasn’t He?”

We do not have all the reasons for unanswered prayer, but we do have some of them based on the Word of God. In this section I will concentrate on 10 reasons. Often a negative statement can result in a positive answer, which is the method being used here:

 1. Not fellowshipping with God. Every believer is called to fellowship with God, according to 1 Corinthians 1:9.”Fellowship” means “to have companionship, partnership, communion; to simply spend time with.” A “call” means “a summons, a request or an invitation.” Jesus modeled this call to fellowship by going to the mountain to pray all night, especially when making major decisions (see Luke 6:12,13).

“Fellowship” means “to have companionship, partnership, communion; to simply spend time with.” A “call” means “a summons, a request or an invitation.” Jesus modeled this call to fellowship by going to the mountain to pray all night, especially when making major decisions (see Luke 6:12,13).

2. Not praying to the Father in Jesus’ name. Jesus instructed His disciples to pray in His name, a directive that is as appropriate today as it was when He first spoke it (see John 15:16). This is a simple truth, but one that not all Christians follow.

3. Not asking, or asking with wrong motives. Some people believe God is too busy to hear their little prayers. But He says that whatever you ask, He hears. God wants more than your grocery list. He wants to dine with you. These truths are summed up in James 4:2,3 and Revelation 3:20.

4. Not asking according to God’s will God’s will is learned by reading and hearing the Word of God, and spending time with Him. Salvation, for example, is explicit in God’s Word. Men of God in the Bible knew His will when they prayed. Moses in Exodus 32:11-14 is a good example. Also read 1 John 5:14,15.

5. Not having God’s Word in you. Jesus said in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” Listening to the Bible on cassette tape is an excellent way to memorize His Word, even playing it all night alongside your bed.

6. Doubt and unbelief. James 1:5-8 tells you to ask God in faith without doubting. Jesus instructed His followers to believe for what they prayed so they would receive. Elijah the prophet, a man with a nature like ours, won great victories when he prayed (see 1 Kings 18), then ran from one woman when doubt set in (see 1 Kings 19).

7. Losing heart or giving up. Many prayers are not answered affirmatively because someone loses heart or gives up. This is best expressed in Luke 18:1 (Amp.) when Jesus says that we “ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, give up).” In the verses following that chapter, the widow received because she kept asking.

8. Not being in agreement. Jesus spoke on agreement in Matthew 18:19: “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” The marriage agreement is the strongest on earth. Strife and contention are contrary to agreement and will hinder prayers.

9. Unforgiveness. One of the strongest statements by Jesus follows what is commonly called The Lord’s Prayer. In Matthew 6:14,15 He says, “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” And did Jesus mean 490 times in Matthew 18:21,22? Consistent forgiveness means you wipe the slate clean and begin again at the count of one. God will not remember your sins when forgiveness is asked (see Isa. 43:25).

10. Not giving tithes and offerings. Tithing was required in the Old Testament, and the principle of giving abundantly can be found in the New Testament—the early believers were willing to give all (see Acts 2:44-47 and 4:32-37). Jesus had much to say about giving, and the blessings that come from giving. I’m often asked, “Do we give off the gross or the net?” The answer is simple: Do you want a gross or a net blessing?

In conclusion, the following are more reasons that prayers go unanswered, which if they apply, you may want to study further:

  • Disobedience (see Deut. 1:42-45; Isa. 1:19,20; Heb. 4:6);
  • Prejudice and hate (see Prov. 26:24-28; 1 John 2:9-12; 3:15-22);
  • Unrepented sin (see Pss. 19:12.13; 66:18; Isa. 59:1.2);
  • Overindulgence or not caring for your body, which is God’s temple (see Prov. 23:1-8; Luke 21:34; 1 Cor. 3:16);
  • Touching (attacking) God’s anointed (see 1 Sam. 26:5-11; Ps. 105:15);
  • Fear (see Ps. 56:4,11; Prov. 29:25; 1 John 4:18);
  • Not examining yourself before communion (see 1 Cor. 11:27-31);
  • Despising God’s Word (see Prov. 28:9);
  • Indifference (see Prov. 1:24-28);
  • Neglect of mercy (see Prov. 21:13);
  • Not honoring one another (see Deut. 5:16; 1 Pet. 3:7);
  • Idolatry, which is anything you worship above God (see Deut. ; Josh. 7; Ezek. 14:3);
  • Speaking evil ofbrethren (see Gal. 5:26; Jas. 4:11; 5:9).

 Excerpt from Chapter 3 (Types of Prayer) of “Becoming a Prayer Warrior” by Elizabeth Alves

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2013 by in Excerpt from Becoming a Prayer Warrior and tagged , , .

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