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10 Reasons God Doesn’t Answer Prayers

Updated on June 21, 2017
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You have prayed and prayed but what you have been praying for hasn’t been answered by God. What might be the problem? Why hasn’t God answered my prayers? You are sure and know as a fact God has said:

  • And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:15)
  • “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:12)
  • “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” (James 5:13)

Then, there is the famous Bible verse: Knock and the door will be opened to you, seek and you will find and ask and it shall be given to you.

Why is it then God is not answering my prayers when He has said if we ask Him anything He will provide what we’ve asked for? Why doesn’t He answer me when I call Him? There are various reasons why God doesn’t answer your prayers and/or there are situations which don’t warrant God to answer your prayers.

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1. Unforgiving Heart

Has someone wronged you and you have not forgiven that person? Have you been hurt by someone due to his/her action(s) and/or word(s) that were done against you, which you didn’t like or as a result of such action(s) or word(s) you winded up getting hurt? If you haven’t forgiven that person then God will not forgive you.

This is well articulated in the Lord’s Prayer:

  • Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. (Mathew 6:9-13)

It is hard to forgive but you need to learn how to forgive. If you ask God to help you to forgive someone who has hurt you, indeed He will help you. God cannot answer the prayers of a Christian who has an unforgiving heart. You need to forgive because when God requests and at the same time commands us to forgive those who have wronged us; it is because He knows the negative effects of not forgiving those who have wronged us. He knows forgiveness is for our benefit, and to some extent it also benefits those who need our forgiveness.

  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
  • For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Mathew 6:14-15)
  • And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
  • But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)

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2. Polluted Heart

When we approach the throne (presence) of God through prayers we should be holy. God is holy and it is next to impossible for an unholy person to be in the presence of a Holy God. Why? It will kill. Literally, if you were to approach the presence of God in your physical entity, you would end up dead. This is why we are requested and commanded that our hearts must be pure when we approach the throne of God.

If we have sinned, we should ask God for forgiveness if we want Him to hear us. If there is still sin in us, God will not be able to hear us because a veil will have been created. This veil will prevent our prayers from reaching God. The only way of ensuring there is no veil blocking our prayers to God, w need to ask God to forgive us of any sin we might have done knowingly and unknowingly.

  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
  • The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. (Daniel 9:9)

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3. Humble Heart

God hates boasting. He hates pride. In fact, pride is among the top ten lists God hates. The Bible clearly states if we want God to hear us we must be humble.

  • If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
  • He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)
  • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

Jesus exemplified what constitutes true humility and how it affects prayers when he differentiated the prayer between a Pharisee and a tax collector.

  • Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer” I thank you, God, that I am not like other people – cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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4. Too Many Meaningless Words

We are warned not to make empty promises to God. He does not like it. If you are going to make a promise to God, fulfill it. If you know you will not be able then refrain from making a vow to God.

Secondly, refrain from talking too much. The problem with talking too much is that you will end up speaking meaningless words, of no value at all. God will not lend His ear because there is nothing meaningful you are talking. Your words are vain for God doesn’t like vain words. Not surprisingly, you can have a chat with God. Nonetheless, let your chatting contain words which carry great weight. God is not a God of chitchat or tittle-tattle or gossip. When you pray go directly to the point, don’t run around the bush.

  • When you pray, don’t babble on an on as Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! (Mathew 6:7)

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5. Selfishness

We are not supposed to be self-centered, self-seeking, egotistical or egocentric. If you don’t pray for other Christians, the sinners and the rest of the world, your requests will not be answered. We are told to intercede for others. When you don’t pray for others, you only pray for your own needs then it is a clear sign you are selfish. Don’t become self-absorbed you forget to absorb others in your prayers. Remember, there are others who are praying for you. We are a family of God, a family that is united, a family that cares for each other, a family that remembers each other.

  • I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people..." (1st Timothy 2:1)

  • And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)

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6. Ungratefulness

Do your prayers contain gratitude to God? Do you thank God for the fact you are alive? Do you acknowledge God in your prayers? Do you appreciate Him? Do you salute God? When you acknowledge God you are reaffirming to yourself how powerful, omnipresent God is including other attributes associated with God. This will make your prayers to be meaningful and they will have great effect in your prayer.

God doesn’t like an unthankful heart. If someone doesn’t appreciate who you are it means he doesn’t see how possible you can be able to help him. If someone is not thankful it means he doesn’t appreciate the fact you have helped him. The person should not expect his prayers to be answered because he is unappreciative, ungrateful, showing no gratitude.

  • Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
  • Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalms 100:4)
  • Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.” (Psalms 95:2-3)

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7. Lack of Faith

You don’t need to have big faith in order to move mountains, that is, your requests to be answered. Jesus said even if your faith is like a mustard seed, it can do wonders. A mustard seed is very little it seems it won’t produce a good harvest. On the contrary, it does produce a good harvest. What is faith?

The Bible states faith as “the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” If you are hoping God to answer your prayers, then you need to believe He is able to answer whatever you are requesting Him. Don’t have a doubtful mind. Don’t waver in your believe that God will not be able to answer your prayers.

In verse 6 of Hebrews 11, it is stated: “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” You have to believe God is able to do the impossible.

  • But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)
  • “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:52)
  • Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
  • He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mathew 17:20)
  • Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. (Mathew 15:28)
  • If we know he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:15)

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8. The Word of God

Our prayers cannot become effective if we don’t use the Word of God. The Word of God is likened to a two-edged sword. The best swords in the world are razor-shaped. They kill a person instantly at one go if a person passes such a sword in a person’s neck as fast as a lightning.

When God created the world, he uttered the words and the unknown became known. This is why we are told to watch our tongues. They are very powerful weapons. When you use the Word of God you are establishing the fact God has said this, and your faith is strengthened because you’re standing on the promise of God as written in the Scripture.

Our faith is strengthened through the Word of God. We become steadfast through the Word therefore we should use it to claim our promises. God cannot go against His Word. He stands by it. If you want God to heal you, declare the words that touch on healing and you will receive healing.

  • For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

  • He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. (Psalms 107:20)

  • By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (Psalms 33:6)

  • So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

  • By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

9. Selfish Desires

What is your reason for asking God to provide you with something? Is it for your selfish desires? Is it for your own gratification or will use it for the glory of God? If you have selfish desires, that is, for your own gratification, God will not provide what you have asked for. If what you are asking is not to credit God, then forget asking God to provide for you. If your intention of asking God to provide you with a car is in order to show-off, man, you will ask and ask until you give up your faith in God. Let whatever you do be for the glory of God, not for your own glory.

  • 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)

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10. Holy Spirit’s Will

Are you praying according to God’s will? Sometimes what we are praying for is not in line with God’s will. When you pray ensure you are praying in line with the Holy Spirit’s wishes. Don’t pray outside God’s will. What does it mean? If it is God’s will for you to have a car then you will have the car. You can know what you’re asking for is God’s will when you ask God whether what you’re asking is according to His will. He will reveal to you in different ways whether it’s His will for you to have what you’ve asked for.

Last but not least, remember it may seem God has delayed answering your prayers. It is not the case. God in his infinite wisdom knows when you should have what you’ve asked for. When Jesus’ best friend, Lazarus, died Jesus was not in the town his friend was based. Somebody was sent by Lazarus’ sister to tell Jesus Lazarus is sick. However, Jesus never came. Lazarus died. It is not Jesus did not want to come. He was doing God’s business by ministering to the sick. After four days from when Lazarus died, Jesus came. Martha, Lazarus’ sister told him it’s too late, Lazarus is dead. Jesus said it is not too late. God’s timing is not the same as man’s timing. He brought Lazarus back to life. It may look God has delayed but He has not. Don’t time Him for He knows what is best for you and when you should have it, and whether you should have it or not.

Lastly, God is not deaf. You might wonder why your prayers haven’t yet been answered. Therefore, you think of reminding God what you had requested. Remember, God knows what you need even before you ask. All you need to do is ask, then wait. As you wait keep on thanking God for answering your prayers. Stand steadfast on the promises of God as detailed in His Word as it will increase your faith as you will not waver on whether God will answer, if God will be able to do what you’ve asked for or if you should remind God.

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    • Ben716 profile image
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      Alianess Benny Njuguna 8 weeks ago from Kenya

      Thank you, charlie

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 2 months ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

      excellent article, accurate and well done brother