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Dealing with unanswered prayer

Updated: Jul 9

Four things we can do to avoid it

We seldom talk about unanswered prayer in church.

In this study we suggest four potential reasons for you to consider when your prayer seem to be unanswered.

We then suggest four actions to consider of how we might avoid this for our own prayers.

Reason 1. Being out of fellowship prevents God from answering prayer.

When we enter salvation through Jesus Christ, we form a life-long family relationship which is very robust. However, our day-to-day communion/fellowship with the Lord is more fragile and can be easily broken through our sin.

Ps 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Our sin hinders our prayers.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Our obedience helps our prayers.

Reason 2. God has said no because your prayer was not in the will of God.

My grown-up children sometimes say that as a grandparent we let the grandkids away with much more than we did when they were kids. This is true because we have distinct roles as grandparents.

But God is not a kindly old uncle or grandad but a zealous loving heavenly father. God has no grandkids only kids. Each generation must connect with him.

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

15 And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

The implication here is that if we ask anything that is not his will then there is no reason to suppose we should be successful in our petition.

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. God promises to meet our need not our greed!

Jesus, when in the Garden of Gethsemane said, Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.

The Father said ‘no.’ We must allow for God to say ‘no’ as He surely knows what is best in any given situation.

We need to remember that the Kingdom of God is in a warzone, there is a huge battle raging between God and his army, and Satan and his troops. Sometimes the Lord needs us to step up to the plate.

Also, we need to remember that God’s silence is not his absence…

Reason 3. Lack of unity

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Wow, we better take on board the fact that a husband and wife’s prayers can be hindered by disunity.

Mathew 18:19 Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

The so-called prayer of agreement requires two people to be fully agreed i.e. in unity.

Reason 4. Delay in the answer

Daniel 10 Daniel prayed and fasted for Israel for three weeks, then a holy angel turned up and told him, that God sent the answer on the first day that Daniel had prayed, but a fallen angelic being called the Prince of Persia, had battled with the holy angel to delay Gods answer from coming to Daniel.

Romans 1:9-10 Paul wanted to find a way to see the church in Rome, but Paul’s prayer appears unanswered?

God had plans, and had Paul imprisoned so that he could write his marvellous epistles to the church.

God can be doing something bigger than we can see.

Delayed prayer can eventually increase your faith.

1 Kings 18:42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,

43 And said to his servant, go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, there is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.

44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there arises a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, go up, say unto Ahab, prepare thy chariot, and get thee down that the rain stop thee not.

Elijah and the rain, the servant eventually saw the prayer answered.

“Sometimes the blessing is in the prayer not being answered.” ― Andrena Sawyer.

What about you, can you attribute any of the four reasons given so far for your own unanswered prayer?

Now we are going to consider, based on our four above reasons, how we can avoid getting into the position where our prayers are unanswered.

Action 1) Keep in fellowship with the Lord, this includes keeping short accounts with God in terms of sin. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Do not think about or dwell on anything that is inherently sinful, think about things are good, and pure and honest. We should keep his commandments, there are only 4 main ones in the New Testament a) Love the Lord your God with all…, b) love your neighbour as yourself, c) love one another as I have loved you. How did Jesus love us? … unto death. d) Also love your brother who can be seen.

King David, the sweet psalmist cried out to God in Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Action 2) Get to know the will of God better by studying your bible, listening to good sermons and remember that when you pray, that it is a dialogue, and we should allow space and time for God to speak to you.

Take good Christian counsel from your minister or other Christians that you trust.

We must allow God to say no, for He knows better than us.

Action 3) Maintain Unity: You husbands must treat your wives with honour, live together in a good and Godly atmosphere, treating her as joint heirs in the grace of life. This approach applies to all Christians as demonstrated by all the (n=46) ‘one another’ commandments such as in

1 Peter 1:22(b) says ‘see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently’:

Action 4) Where there may be delay in the answer, be persistent in prayer in case there is a battle in the heavens.

Ask the Lord if he has a bigger purpose in mind, sometimes God uses delays to strengthen our faith.

It took Elijah’s servant 7 visits to go up and watch for signs of the rain. Be patient, be obedient.

The late Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, whilst single, several times prayed that God would allow her to marry various young men, but God said ‘no’ each time because he had someone better for her!



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