Many people see God as a magic genie when it comes to prayer. Rub the lamp, make your wish (pray) and the genie will provide what you have asked for. Prayer does not work like this. As a result, what happens then is people deduce that either prayer does not work, or that God does not exist. Too often they are praying in the wrong manner.
There are many ways that you could pray in which God will never answer your prayer. It is not God’s fault these prayers are not being answered, but ours. Here are three times when God won’t answer your prayer.
You pray against God’s will.
Every Christian should know that this is something not to pray. Yet, without thinking about it, we do it all of the time, do we not? We pray for things which are not aligned with God’s will.
Or, maybe a better way to say it is we don’t pray for God’s will, but our will. In doing so, we often pray against God’s will. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says we should pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Too often we are just searching for what we want, and not what God wants. The question is, do you pray in God’s will, or just treating Him like some cosmic vending machine, where you put prayers in, push the button of what you desire, and out pops your choice.
A husband prays while not being considerate to his wife.
While it makes sense that we must pray in God’s will to have our prayers answered, there is a curious verse in I Peter about prayer that many don’t consider. I Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showering honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” . What does this mean?
Peter is saying that if we are not considerate to our wives, God will not hear the prayers of a husband. I’m definitely not proposing direct karma here. At the same time, this is one of the senses in which “the punishment fits the crime.”
It almost is as if God is saying, “You don’t want to listen and be considerate to your wife, I’m not going to listen and consider your petitions.” God is telling us the marital relationship is important, just like that of the relationship between us and God. In many ways, this is true, because according to Ephesians 5:22-31 a marriage is a picture of God’s relationship with believers.
3. When you pray without faith.
We need to make sure that we are taking this into consideration number. Too many people are “praying in faith” but are also not praying God’s will. You must have both faith and understand His will.
James addresses this topic several times in his book. In James 1:6 he says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” We need to pray in faith.
If we are praying in God’s will, and we are in a right relationship with God and man, we need to expect answers to our prayers. This is not in a demanding way from a human perspective. This is because, if we are praying in faith, God has promised certain things in His Word, we know He will do them.
Our faith is not placed specifically in the act of prayer itself. The focal point of prayer made in faith is faith in God. It is, if He said He will do something, we can have faith He will do it. But if we lack faith in God’s Word, and what God said He will do, then why should we expect Him to answer our prayers? We must believe He will do what He has promised, even when that answer is sometimes “no” or “not yet.”
Are there times you feel that your prayers are not being answered? Is there something for which you are praying right now which requires a change in the way you are praying? Is there anyone, God or man, that you need to make your relationship right with, so that you can make it right with God, so He can answer your prayers?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.