Updated: Mar 8, 2019
So you’ve prayed to God and you’re waiting for an answer. And you wait. And you wait. And you wait.
Let me save you from starting to believe that God isn’t as great as we say He is, or even worse, that He isn’t even real. The truth is that God is good… REALLY good!! But He doesn’t just give us everything we ask for. (Thank God!) Here are 5 possible reasons that you’re prayers haven’t been answered.
1.Not the right time
There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season. –Ecclesiastes 3:1
God has given them a desire to know the future. He does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what he is doing. – Ecclesiastes 3:11
What these verses are saying is that there is such a thing as perfect timing and God is the only One who possesses it. The only timing we think is perfect is “right now.” But God has the ability and position to see every situation from all angles. He knows what can happen (what can get thrown off and out of sequence) when we receive something we aren’t ready for. A lot of times the answer isn’t “no”, it’s just “not yet.” Or as my homegirl Joyce Meyer says, “Delay does not mean denial.”
Take, for instance, a person may ask God to become a successful doctor to help and heal the sick. What would happen if God immediately granted that request? This person hasn’t been to school or received any training and could possibly be 5 years old for all we know, but is now responsible for saving lives. It is almost certain that this will cause serious damage, and maybe even deaths, among people who are already in need of help and healing. It’s probably true that his life’s purpose is indeed to become a doctor, but the timing has to be right.
I’m personally thankful that God loves me too much to give me what I’m not ready for. When I receive the blessings of God, I want to be able to keep them and not cause harm to myself or others through them.
2. It’s not good for you
Just as God’s timing is perfect, so are His ways. Let’s be honest: We don’t truly know what’s good for us. If we did, we wouldn’t need God or His Spirit helping us along. There has been PAH-LENTY of times when I made decisions and asked for certain things thinking I knew best, only for it all to blow up in my pretty little face in a horrifying way. It’s like the popular saying goes, “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” A lot of times we don’t realize what we don’t want until it happens, but by then it’s too late.
No matter what makes sense in our minds, only God really knows what can help us and what can hurt us. I’ve made a regular habit of making sure God knows that I want Him to have the final say when I ask for things in prayer. If He doesn’t want me to have it, then I don’t want it.
And for those of you who like to entertain the “gray area” I know you’re probably thinking, “Well just because it isn’t good for you doesn’t always mean that it’s necessarily bad for you either.” Yes…it does. Don’t be deceived my Royal friend. You’re too important for that.
He who turns away his ear from hearing the law of God and man, even his prayer is an abomination, hateful, and revolting to God. – Proverbs 28:9
Revolting?! So basically, when you begin to pray God goes, “Eww, ugh, here she comes trying to pray again. Just the sound of her voice alone makes me want to gag.”
I don’t EVER want to be the one who grosses God out. But that’s exactly how he views disobedience and unwillingness to submit to authority (His authority as well as the authority of your parents, boss, teachers, pastors, city and national laws, ect.). Someone who is unwilling to submit to anyone above them takes on the perspective that they know what’s best and it’s impossible to learn anything that way.
God is a teacher. He is constantly showing us new things, taking us new places, and placing us in various situations to teach us. And if you are unwilling to go where He leads you and do what he tells you then you’re hindering Him from teaching you all that you need to know to become all that He has created you to be (Dang that was a mouthful).
When you refuse to respect authority you place yourself in God’s position. And He isn’t willing to give up His position to anybody. The last person that tried to do that was Lucifer and we all know how that ended…
Not to mention, God hates him now because of it; you don’t want God to hate you. Bishop Paul S. Morton once said, “Your arms are too short to box with God.” You will lose repeatedly, in every way possible, and it will be a public defeat, seen by all (read Deuteronomy 28:15-29). You don’t want God to make an example out of you.
“When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in Heaven will also forgive your sins. –Mark 11:25
The Bible gives us instructions on how to pray. These instructions became known as The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). In it, it includes this part-
“And forgive us of our sins as we forgive those who sins against us.”
The mere fact that this part is even included says that it is required for effective praying. If you hold unforgiveness in your heart towards anyone, this keeps your prayers from being heard by God. It says to God that you will not extend the same grace and mercy that you expect from Him (Matthew 6: 14-15). So in not forgiving others of their sins, you are holding on to your own sin. You’re essentially saying…
“Lord, I know that you gave your life in a horrible, humiliating, painful way to free me from having to pay for my own sins. I understand that you didn’t have to do this and I appreciate it, really I do. But I really want Johnny to pay for the fact that he did something wrong to me, so I’ll just go ahead and pay for the things I’ve done too. Thanks for the gift of righteousness, but no thanks.”
In doing that, you make yourself sin and sin cannot dwell in the presence of God. God doesn’t associate Himself with sin. It’s beneath Him and it’s beneath us as His children as well. He made a HUGE sacrifice a long time ago to ensure that He never had to deal with sin ever again. So simply put, when you don’t forgive others, He can’t forgive you, and that forgiveness is your ticket into His presence. If you can’t enter His presence, then He can’t hear you or your prayers.
The good thing about all of this is that the solution is simple. Forgiveness in itself is easy; we are the ones that make it hard. (I hear you Lord! I’ll be blogging about forgiveness very soon.)
5. It’s not God’s will for you
Sometimes it may not be a matter of timing, whether it’s good or bad for you, or based on anything that you have or haven’t done. Sometimes it’s just simply not in line with God’s word or His will for you.
I can sincerely want and pray for a big beautiful yacht, but how will that help me to represent God in the earth, serve my purpose, and lead people to Him? Someone with a certain purpose in life may have a plausible answer for that, but it just may not need to happen for you. Some things are simply just unnecessary, and unnecessary things can cause distraction from things that are necessary.
Distractions are a super easy and subtle way for the devil to divert you from what God wants you to be doing. We think it’s our short attention span or boredom with our tasks that draws us away from what we are doing to something, seemingly, more interesting. But it’s really distraction: something, usually unnecessary, that disrupts your focus and diverts you from making progress or accomplishing a task.
God is very strategic and intentional about all things; big, small, and everything in between. So if you are living in the will of God and you desire something that doesn’t line up with that, chances are, you won’t receive it. And I personally wouldn’t want it. Nothing in the world is worth stepping outside of the will of God.
I understand that knowing these reasons may not make the answers to your prayers come faster, depending on what the reason(s) is for your delay (or denial). But I’m hoping that it will at least give you the same amount of consolation that it gives me when I’m waiting. Instead of concentrating on the “why” of it all, find the “what” in your situation. There is always something God is trying to show us: look for what that is. And know that you can trust God to take care of you no matter what is or is not happening. And that doesn’t always look like we expect it to.