I’ve heard this saying my whole life. It’s something my youth minister used to say to us when we (the youth) would stand around talking about so-and-so and asking for prayer requests.
The Bible says “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22
I know this can be a touchy topic because I think all of us have probably prayed for something that didn’t happen. When this situation happens, people tend to say that it just wasn’t God’s will, and apparently they’re right, but why?
I found this article called “Why Aren’t My Prayers Answered?” (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-dml/dml-y002.html) and it brought up the following points:
- We don’t really believe God can answer them.
Jesus said: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:6-8).
Believing is perhaps the best known condition for prayer. But there are other reasons prayer is not answered.
2. We ask with wrong motives.
“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).
3. Unconfessed sin separates us from God, so that He will not hear.
“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities (sins) have separated you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
4. We set up idols in our hearts that come between us and God.
“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?” (Ezekiel 14:3)
5. We don’t answer those who cry to us for help.
6. We don’t remain in God/God’s Word doesn’t remain in us.
“If you remain in me and my word remains in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you” (John 15:7).
Even still, some of us may feel like we follow God’s law and do our best to follow it and still feel like our prayers aren’t always answered. Maybe it’s a timing issue. Everything happens on God’s watch and not ours so maybe it will happen; we just have to give it some time. And, as the Bible tells us, sometimes He allows us to go through things so we can learn and so we will allow God to be glorified through the situation.