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Unanswered Prayers? Hogwash!

Updated on May 14, 2016
Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer, never unanswered.
Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer, never unanswered. | Source

Why do so many prayers go unanswered?

Is God listening? Is God there? Does God even exist? These are powerful questions and a great many people have asked them. And I thank God that we have the freedom to ask these questions. Four centuries ago, such questions might have been followed by an invitation to the Inquisition or to the stake for an impromptu cookout. Hmmm-m-m, roasted me! Marshmallows anyone?

The stereotype of those who ask such questions is one of a bright, intelligent individual who may have been brought up in a religious home, but who began to question the meaning of things. Some things just didn't seem to add up. The more intelligent the individual, the more odd all this "God" and "spiritual" stuff seemed to be.

The stereotype of those who believe is one of dull, unintelligent individuals who don't know better, but for whom such belief gives them feelings of comfort and protection — a blissful delusion.

Don't believe the stereotypes!

Certainly some brilliant scientists have no use for God or religion, but there have been many scientists who were or are devoutly faithful. And IQ has nothing to do with it. Your author has an IQ of 139 (borderline genius by some accounts). And all three of my younger brothers have IQ's far higher than mine — 149, 169 and somewhere above 200. That last number (off the charts!) belongs to my youngest brother. I remember bringing up the subject with him of pressure gradients and adiabatic lapse rates, and the conversation quickly went over my head. The point is, my whole family remains deeply spiritual, yet incredibly intelligent. Well, except for me (remember, I'm borderline). So much for stereotypes.

A young woman making a cellphone call from the beach. More than any cellphone call, prayers are never unanswered.
A young woman making a cellphone call from the beach. More than any cellphone call, prayers are never unanswered. | Source

The Nature of Asking

Would it surprise you to find out that God always gives you what you ask for? No exceptions! Ever!

Typically when people ask for something, they "want" that for which they are asking. They "wish" for it. This way of asking contains a problem.

I grew up thriving on mathematics and logic. That made computer programming relatively easy for me. I made a career out of it. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in it, summa cum laude. All of science is fun for me. When I look at a word like "wish," I frequently see it from a programmatic viewpoint. I ask myself, "What does 'wish' look like? How would I program it?" To me, "wish" is the idea of "self looking at the object of desire from a distance." If you present this idea or mental image to God, you will receive exactly that — namely, "self looking at the object of desire from a distance." In other words, you never get there. You never get what you want or wish for. You are left wanting, because want is what you asked for.

Asking another human for something and asking God for something are two very different actions. You have to know how to ask.

Prayers are never unanswered, because we are inherently children of God. (Crowd scene in Copenhagen)
Prayers are never unanswered, because we are inherently children of God. (Crowd scene in Copenhagen) | Source

Who We Really Are

Genesis 1:26 says that God created Man in His own image — that of a non-physical, spiritual and immortal source of creation. Yes, that means one thing — that we are baby Gods. Baby humans look like their parents. Baby gods look like their parent. Simple.

Add to this the complication that these baby gods fell off the rainbow and hit their spiritual heads. They had been poisoned by the Forbidden Fruit — a conceptual matrix of beliefs, desires and fears — and had developed a pseudo self with which to interface the physical realm, because they had fallen into a deep, spiritual sleep — the "long sleep" or "death" God had predicted for them. This pseudo self we typically call "ego." Instead of the spiritual invulnerability with which God's children had been accustomed, the ego was completely vulnerable and obeyed the laws of the physical realm. Ego obeyed the laws of action and reaction, something Sir Isaac Newton explored in great detail. This action-reaction component led to something we endearingly call "karma." Jesus talked about this when he told his students about living by the sword leading to dying by the sword.

Like any parent, God wanted His children back. His sleeping children had been wandering aimlessly, attaching to anything that felt friendly or interesting in their dream-like state. God thus created Homo sapiens to give His children each a window onto continuity of consciousness, and the ability to develop intelligent speech, and to create the liberating freedom of civilization. Only through these new creatures did His children have the ability to develop philosophy, spirituality and religion. Yet, the path has been tainted by ego at every step. High priests, following the urges of ego, perverted the divine teachings, making it difficult to attain the spiritual reawakening that had been promised.

Those who had been divinely inspired had compiled the needed wisdom, hiding some of it to make the spiritual quest an invigorating challenge. After all, a prize too easily gained is not valued nearly as much. Just look at all of the lottery winners who lose not only their winnings, but everything else they had before their big windfall.

If this all sounds like a fairytale, don't fret about it. Just know that these bodies, by themselves, cannot affect the laws of nature. Only the child of God within can alter or break those laws.

In 1971, during spiritual counseling, I experienced being outside of my body with full visual perception. No eyeballs or brain synapses were involved. I stood in midair, 6 meters off the left shoulder of that which was supposedly mine (the body known as Rodney Carl Martin, Jr.), and 5 meters off of the ground. The evening was dark and overcast in Los Angeles. The Chez Claude restaurant parking lot, next door, was largely empty. The grayish-blue blinds between me and my body were closed, so I could see neither my body nor the body of the counselor sitting across the table from it. However, I could see clearly the pink stucco on the outside of the building — the bumpy texture and the cracks. I could also see that I was not casting a shadow on that wall. This was the non-physical, spiritual (true self) part of me.

In 1977, I created my most potent miracle on Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. On one of the busiest streets in the world, three lanes of thick westbound traffic became two within seconds, leaving the center lane wide open, all on the answered prayer I had asked moments before. Only a spiritual child of God can bend or break the laws of nature. A purely physical being cannot achieve such a miracle.

The power of greed.
The power of greed. | Source

How Not to Ask

Don't be selfish. Ego thrives on selfishness. Ego is a created, pseudo-self, physical universe construct. It can no more create miracles (answer prayers) than can a rock.

By the same token, don't get arrogant. Such rowdiness is equivalent to selfishness. It's got "me-me-me" written all over it. Anything attempted from ego will obey the laws of the physical universe.

Don't think of the prayer as urgent or important. You could inadvertently make things worse by asking for the wrong thing.

Remember this wise saying: You get what you put your attention on. If you have some urgent need, is your attention on the goal, or is your attention on the state or condition you are fleeing?

"True Humility" cartoon from Punch, 1895. Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr. Jones." The curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!"
"True Humility" cartoon from Punch, 1895. Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr. Jones." The curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!" | Source

How to Ask

The antidote to ego seems to be humility. You need to perfect this state. It needs to be a profound and utter humility. I'm not talking about self-abasement, groveling or the like, though prostrating your body can sometimes help to get yourself in the right frame of mind. The idea is to subdue the false self (the ego) and to listen for the quiet stirrings of the true self, the immortal child of God within. Sometimes, this true self awakens for a moment through a flash of inspiration.

When you ask for something, the idea is to picture the end result as if it has already occurred. For the entrepreneur, this will sound exactly like "goal setting." And when goal setting works, this is why. The object is to picture the desired end result, but to maintain 100% confidence. Any doubt will spoil the pudding. It's a bit like being pregnant. Either you are 100% pregnant, or 0% pregnant. There is no in between. So, 100% confidence is what you attain.

Think about it. The picture of doubt is one of failure. If you have any doubt, then failure is what you will get. And scientists think they're so smart using skepticism. They don't see that with skepticism, they're adding a touch of doubt to their "prayers." You might say that all real scientists don't "pray." But know this fact: All children of God are creating all of the time. Yes, this includes scientists. It is our nature to create, but frequently no one is impressed. Skeptics hold the greatest confidence in physical reality, so they end up maintaining the status quo. Nothing exciting there. Their creations are ho-hum.

Once you have the mental image of what you intend to create, you then "not-know" that mental image. Simply turn your awareness away from it. This can be accomplished by placing your conscious awareness on something else, yet while maintaining your subconscious attention on that image. All the while, you need to maintain 100% confidence and 100% humility. If "not-know" is a difficult idea, think of it as "allowing" the creation into existence, without worrying about it — without the need to check up after it.

What happens when you pray the right way is that ego is subdued and the child of God becomes once again one with the Father. For those few moments, the true self is "walking with God." And this is far, far more valuable than any physical thing gained through prayer.

Meditation is a form of prayer. Buddhist monk in Phu Soidao Nationalpark, Phu Soidao Nationalpark Waterfall, Thailand, Uttaradit Province.
Meditation is a form of prayer. Buddhist monk in Phu Soidao Nationalpark, Phu Soidao Nationalpark Waterfall, Thailand, Uttaradit Province. | Source


Achieving greater self-awareness is so important to making this work. You can achieve this through meditation, through challenging yourself followed by self-assessment, and numerous other ways. The most potent method for me has been through spiritual counseling. Scientology has become somewhat a strange stepchild in our modern world. Ego has invaded that cult just as much as it has invaded Christianity and other religions. Yet, Scientology spiritual counseling is powerful for scraping away layers of spiritual blindness. Granted, it is not for everyone. Some of the controversies surrounding that modern religion even give me the shakes, yet despite those controversies, the spiritual counseling techniques remain the most powerful tools for allowing an individual to get in under the hood of the ego and to tinker with the things that make it tick.

If you attempt to pray for something, yet find your attention stuck on the tragic circumstance you are attempting to resolve, there are a number of techniques you can use to break free. Perhaps the most potent method might be called "avalanche." The object is to picture yourself pulling in more of the tragedy on top of yourself. Like the Norse berserker, full of battle fury, you simply face the source of difficulty and say to it, "Bring it on. Give me more!" The idea is to take over the control of your attention. Since attention seems to want to fix on the tragedy, the idea is to pile that tragedy on fearlessly. Once you feel the thrill of going down in flames, then you can put your attention where it is needed. You are now in control, again.

If something feels too important, that can trip up your prayers. One method to resolve this is to picture the goal as unimportant. As a spiritual being, step back several trillion kilometers from this planet and see just how small it is. Down there on that distant speck called Earth, is an even more insignificant problem about which most of the 7 billion inhabitants remain unaware. Yes, your problem is indeed small.

Sometimes it can help to hold onto anchor points outside of your current environment. Picture in your mind, holding onto the Sun on one side, and the Moon on the other. Feel them move relative to the Earth on which your body is standing. For a spiritual child of God, such visualizations are easy.

Beyond Prayer and Miracles

As children of God, we cannot help but create. With the proper practice, we can create the things we would wish to create. But getting a prayer answered is not the goal of it all. Far more important than creating what would seem to mortal humans to be a miracle, is the need to awaken fully and permanently. We need to find ourselves "walking with God" all of the time. This is our most important prayer, and yet we may need to view it as utterly unimportant. Remember, ego likes for things to be important and we can do far better than to coddle ego's likes and dislikes.

So, the next time someone talks of prayers going unanswered, tell them "Hogwash!" Prayers are always answered. You merely need to be aware of what you have asked.


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    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thank you, Melovy, for your kind words. I can't tell you how many times I have forgotten these things. Writing this helped me remember the details of my own experiences.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      7 years ago from UK

      Thank you for this thought-provoking post. There may be aspects that are not how I would see it, but I understand and appreciate the overall essence of what you are saying and I think you explain it very well. I ‘know' this already, yet the human experience (at least mine) seems to be to repeatedly forget this, so your hub was a great reminder.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks @Wintermyst. @Anonymous makes some good points. I couldn't have said it better.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @Wintermyst, I understand the desire not to let our loved ones suffer. That is a good thing. Such a desire shows our compassion and love. And when we act on those good feelings anonymously, we achieve a higher measure of compassion and love.

      But sometimes (perhaps even always) the suffering we experience is a good thing. Through it, the immortal within learns new lessons, but only if we are grateful for all that God gives us. In that humility, ego is vanquished and we grow ever closer to Him who is the source of all.

      Only in giving up ego (the master of this world) can we ever gain everlasting life. This is the meaning of being reborn in Christ. This is the meaning of "walking with God."

    • Wintermyst profile image


      8 years ago

      Well, I got on my knees and asked God to do something, either cure her or take her, but not to let her suffer. He took her. I was at peace with that.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      @Wintermyst, thank you for the comment and story.

      I understand your interpretation of your sibling's prayers and the answer they received. But look at this: if you ask a prayer in fear--like your siblings being fearful of your mother dying--then you are not asking what you think you are asking.

      For example, if a train is about to collide with your car, if you pray in fear of dying to remain alive, what is your attention stuck on? Why, dying horribly in the train collision, of course! This kind of prayer only reinforces the already existing reality. It appears that nothing magical happened. And you get what you "asked" for--dying horribly in the train collision.

      Instead, if the one who prays gives up everything and puts it in God's hands (humility), and asks with calm fearlessness and perfect confidence that God can do anything, then your attention is truly on a miracle. Suddenly, the gears engage in your own car and miraculously jerks your car out of the way of the oncoming train.

      Skeptics will say, oh it was only the engine of the car. But we know better, that God's power is infinite.

    • Wintermyst profile image


      8 years ago

      My siblings prayed to God for a miracle to save our mother. She was dying of cancer at the young age of 46. When she died, I told them God did answer their prayers, his answer was one they didn't want to hear is all.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Onceuponatime66, very succinctly put. Thanks for your comment.

    • onceuponatime66 profile image

      Jackie Paulson 

      8 years ago from USA IL

      I believe that unanswered prayer is answered prayer.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Pastor_Walt, thanks for stopping by.

      Walking with God is far, far more valuable than any physical thing gained through prayer.

    • Pastor_Walt profile image


      8 years ago from Jefferson City, Tennessee

      Thanks for the hub and your insights. Payer to me is communion with my Savior. I try not to judge my prayers by my askings as much as by my relationship with Christ. I do ask but I love praise and worship, and I receive more than I give!


    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks, Violann. Such "happy accidents" continue to happen in my life. May they continue in yours, as well. It seems we find the lessons we need just when we're ready for them.

    • violann profile image


      8 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      I came across your post quite by accident, I was looking for something else when I came upon your post. Obviously It was something I very much need to read.

      Thank you for posting this it was just what I needed.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      James, it's always a pleasure to read what you've written, including your comments.

      Same IQ? That may be, but some days I don't feel so smart. However, I seem to do my best when I'm under pressure. Like the time I had almost no sleep before a qualifying entrance exam for a computer trade school. To my surprise, I got the second-highest score ever. I merely placed myself in God's hands and let the answers flow.

      And about prayers, did not Jesus say to ask and you would receive? There was no qualification in his instructions. There was no, "sometimes you will receive."

      Now, I have to qualify what I've written. I suppose if one asks for something truly evil, like "destroying all of humanity," God would have to say "no." Such a request would be contrary to God's purpose.

      One of the reasons why selfish prayers frequently do not seem to work has to do with the nature of selfishness. Selfishness feeds ego, it comes from ego, and selfish goals are ego-important. Ego cannot create any more than can a rock. Ego cannot connect to God.

      When a human prays to be rich, for example, it is typically ego that does the "asking." This is as worthless as typing on your computer screen the text of the prayer and saying, "See, my computer 'asked' for me." But the bottom line is that neither your computer nor your ego can do the asking. Your immortal, true self must do the asking. Selfishness only gets in the way. So do fear, anger, resentment and other base human emotions.

      No, James, there are no qualifications to what the immortal self can ask for and receive. Walk on water? Move mountains? Move entire clusters of galaxies? There are no limits, except those self-imposed by a lack of faith. When you ask for anything through prayer, you are asking through God, to His glory. And, in that asking, you become one with the Father. After all, Jesus said that each of us can do the miracles he did and even greater ones.

      I hope this helps. It certainly helped me to get a better look at the subject.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed reading your erudite thoughts about prayer. I've always said that prayers of petition are always answered. But sometimes the answer is "No." :D

      I also find it interesting that we have the same IQ.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Kenny K, thanks for your input.

      I will leave it to God to judge how much ego I'm using at any moment in time.

      You mention the God of the Bible. There is no other.

      And it is God's will that we be given everything we ask for, and nothing that we want.

      Regardless of the tense of "unanswered prayer," the phrase is an oxymoron. All prayers are answered instantaneously in the affirmative. There are no exceptions.

      Most people do not know for what they have asked, so are surprised when they seem to get "no answer" or the answer "no." But this is their misunderstanding.

      If you are being chased by a tiger and you pray that you "want" to live, don't be surprised when the tiger eats your body. If you examine your prayer carefully, you see that "wanting" life is not the same as life. In your death, you receive exactly that for which you have prayed -- the "want" (or lack) of life.

      When you pray, you need to be fearless and confident.

      The prayer is never a "work in progress." It is always instantaneous. Such is the power of God.

      And I agree completely that you need a humble heart. Please re-read the Hub and you will see that admonition in there.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Lady E, thanks for your lovely comments.

      In your example, that which came before the "asking" is the asking. It is the effortless thought and feeling, the quiet stillness at the heart of your being.

    • Lady_E profile image


      8 years ago from London, UK

      I enjoyed reading it. In summary, you noted we should walk with God. This brought to remembrance Matt 6:33. When we do, all we need is added to us anyway. It's a case of: before we ask, it's already on it's way. Great Hub.

    • Kenny K profile image

      Kenny K 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Well, I've to say your ego is super high in what you're saying. Prayer is not just about asking for what a person wants; prayer is the channel for communicating with God, in my case, the God of the Bible. We pray to God for help and needs but understand it will be according to His will not ours, to give us the answer we want. Unanswered prayer is in present tense. The prayer is in work in progress all the time, therefore, there is no unanswered prayer until it is answered in one way or another. God answered any person who has a humble heart, asking not for riches, success, and glory.

      Hogwash, unanswered prayer?


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