Why Doesn’t God Answer All Prayers

Question:

Why is it that God doesn’t answer all our prayers?  It seems like the prayers that I most want answered, don’t get answered, and the prayers I don’t care about as much, He does answer.

Response:

This is a good question and deserves an answer, but the answer is not easy to come by.  In Isaiah 55:8 we read,”` For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways, My ways,’ says the Lord.”  Since our thoughts and ways are so much smaller than God’s thoughts and ways, we do not easily understand why He chooses to answer some of our prayers and not others.  However, there are some insights in the Bible that might give us at least a partial answer.

First of all, I believe that the most important prayer that God wants to hear from our lips, is the prayer which acknowledges that we are sinners and that we need Jesus in our life.  In I John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  When we have prayed this prayer of confession and have asked Jesus to be our Saviour and the Lord of our life, we can be sure that this is a prayer that God will definitely answer.

Secondly, now that we are part of God’s family, God wants us to spend time with Him, time to pray prayers of thanksgiving and worship to Him. In Psalm 95:6 we read, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down…” and there are many more verses in Psalm which encourage us to worship and praise the Lord.  God is pleased with those prayers of worship and praise.

Thirdly, we need to be careful not to come to God as though He is our spiritual Santa Claus.  In my own life, I have realized that when I pray only when I want something from God, this must be disappointing to Him.  God loves you and me so much that He wants to have this wonderful personal relationship with Him where we talk to Him and also listen to what He has to say to us.  God wants to help us and to give us guidance.  Again in Psalm 25:4-5 we read, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me.  For You are the God of my salvation: On You I wait all the day.”  God wants us to ask for His guidance and to be aware of His presence with us all day long.

Fourth, since we can’t see into the future as God can, we need to learn to trust that God’s answers are the right answers.  Sometimes those answers are “No”, sometimes they are “Wait” and sometimes they are “Yes”.  Because of our finite minds, what we think would be really good for us, may in fact, not be so good.  So with the Psalmist, we need to say “O my God, I trust in You.” Psalm 25:2

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  God wants us to seek Him first and foremost, then He will provide what we really need.  I don’t think it means that He will necessarily give us everything we want, but everything that we need to do His will.