When Prayer Doesn’t Work

So, you are just plain done trying.

You’ve tried to pray but things just aren’t working out. There’s been no answer, and frankly, you are frustrated and annoyed with God.  You question yourself as to why He doesn’t care enough to take care of your need. Or perhaps you feel abandoned or depressed, wondering why you aren’t good enough for Him to pay attention to.

Your mom told you to pray. Your grandma was a prayer warrior. Your youth pastor said it would work. Your pastor preaches about it all the time… and for what? ‘Why does God pick and choose who He will answer,’ you ask? Why does He ignore you? Why can’t He understand what you need? Why keep talking to a wall and looking foolish? Why, why why?

Seriously…. why?

The questions keep going on until you aren’t just questioning why your prayers aren’t being answered, but you question God’s love for you, or perhaps, even His existence. ‘Is His Word even true?’ you ask, because He doesn’t seem to be abiding by it Himself. What’s the use? Why them and not me? Why even try? Your heart burns within you, as anger, resentment, frustration, and hopelessness suffocate you. Then you simply, walk away, and resolve that God is just not an answer for you. So many questions, and no answers.

We all face these struggles from time to time during our lives. There is frustration when we can’t seem to get the answers we need, and so we being questioning. Often our questions though are pointed toward God’s supposed fault instead of our misunderstandings. God is perfect. But we don’t really understand perfection; we understand immediate need and gratification. When God doesn’t meet that immediate gratification, we often lay the blame on Him instead of us.

As you develop your prayer life, you will have times your prayers are not being answered. Instead of getting angry at God, consider the prayer you are requesting.

Here are some things that will hinder your prayers from being answered:

(from the World Network of Prayer)

Not fellowshipping with God: Fellowship means to have a partnership, or to spend time with.  Why would God answer the prayers of someone who never speaks to Him?

Not praying in Jesus’ Name: Jesus instructed His disciples on how to pray.  He said to pray in the name of  Jesus.

Not asking or asking with the wrong motives: If you don’t ask, your prayer won’t be answered for sure.

Don’t pray selfishly.  God wants more than your grocery list.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss  (amiss defined as WRONG)  

Not asking according to God’s will: God’s will is learned by reading His Word.  God will not answer a prayer that is against His will. Here are some examples:

          God make Sally fail her final in Biology.
          God strike Johnny in the head with lightning.
          Lord, let me get this job even though it will keep me out of church.
          God please help me pass this test I didn’t study for.
          Lord I hate my parents; they don’t understand me. Please help me run away.
          God I need money to get an abortion.

Not having God’s Word in you: John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask what you desire   and it shall be done for you.”

Doubt & Unbelief: James 1:5-8 tells you to ask God in faith without doubting for your request to be fulfilled.

Giving Up: Luke 18:1 tells us to pray and faint not.  

Not being in agreement: Matthew 18:9  – “if any two of you agree, it will be done.”

Unforgiveness: “if you forgive men their trespasses, your father will forgive yours.”

Unconfessed Sin: Psalm 66:18 – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”

Don’t give up on prayer. God always answers, even if the answer is, ‘No.’ And when He answers, ‘No,’ remember that He knows your situation and your future… and He works all things out for our good. Pray for His understanding.

Colleen Clabaugh
WNOP Kids & Youth Prayer Coordinator

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