Prayer is such an important aspect of our lives. It helps us find courage in times of need. It gives us that boost of confidence and reassurance that we’re not alone in what we’re about to face.
I remember when I was 14 years old, and it was my first day at a new school. Our family had moved into a new house in a new neighborhood far away from where I grew up. I had no friends to sit with during lunch, and no one to walk beside on the way home. But what I did have was my prayers. Every day I would sit in the library, eat my sandwich, and pray for Him to stick by me.
For all of us, prayer is needed not only during these small quiet moments in life—we pray right before some of the biggest ones, too. We pray before entering into all kinds of high-stress competitive environments. We see athletes pray before a big sporting match, and performers pray before taking center stage. Even pro-gamers pray.
And it also allows us to find the small pockets of peace that we need to help deal with our hectic lives. According to research, prayer and meditation help enhance self-awareness and focus. It’s like our secret weapon in fighting whatever the world has to throw at us.
But sometimes, it can feel like our prayers go unanswered. Like the world around us is beating us down, drowning our pleading voice. With every prayer unanswered we tend to lose belief that we can do better and be better. We begin to forget or take for granted the things that matter most because we’re frustrated by the silence. And, eventually, we start asking “Is God even listening to me?” Or, “Why hasn’t God answered my prayers?”
Some have blamed God for not answering a prayer.
We need it, but does prayer work?
It’s gotten so bad that some people have not only started to give up on prayer but have given up on believing that God exists. Many have grown up in households where parents don’t believe in God, so they ask, “Why bother praying?” Others who did grow up in religious homes have stopped having faith altogether. Worse of all, some have blamed God for not answering a prayer for something important, feeling like He didn’t save them from the repercussions of a bad decision they’ve made.
I have some good news for you. Prayer does work. It really does.
Well, if you’re reading this right now, I have some good news for you. Prayer does work. It really does. And studies show that most people believe there is a higher power up there watching and guiding us. But the key is in order for Him to hear us, we need to know what kind of prayer He will listen to.
Not all prayers are the same.
That’s right, not all prayers are the same, and not all prayers will be answered if you’re not praying the right way. So let’s go down the list of some of the reasons why God might not be answering you, based on what I’ve learned in group Bible studies.
1. You’re asking for the wrong thing.
“And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures.” James 4:3 GNT
Just because it’s something we want doesn’t always mean it’s something we need. And God always knows what we need, because He’s always looking out for us. So the next time we get on our knees to pray, make sure it’s for something that will bring us closer to God and benefit us in our spiritual journey.
We begin to second guess the answer God gave us which can lead to second-guessing if prayer works.
2. Your prayer was answered, you just don’t like the answer.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
Face it, sometimes we pray for an answer, for a sign, for some divine guidance, and the prayer is answered! Sometimes almost right away. But when we see it in front of us and realize that this is what God wants us to do, we refuse to accept the answer. We begin to second guess the answer God gave us which can lead to second-guessing if prayer works because we never get the answer we want. We analyze the wording of our prayers, too, hoping to find a loophole to what we prayed for and how we said it in order for us to justify ignoring the answer we got.
The absolute best place to pray and build that relationship with God is within a house of worship.
3. Your relationship with God needs work.
“The Lord is close to every person who calls to him for help. The Lord is close to every person who truly worships him.” Psalms 145: 18 ETRV
Like any healthy relationship, our relationship with God needs constant effort. We have to be willing to not just ask Him for things but show Him our willingness to sacrifice and obey His teachings. And while we can close our eyes and pray almost anywhere, the absolute best place to pray and build that relationship is within a house of worship, during a worship service. It is there that we can truly connect with Him and His teachings and where we can openly and honestly plead to Him and let our worries be known.
This right here is an answer to your prayers.
Your prayers were answered, you just didn’t know it.
If you’ve gotten this far in the blog post, and are taking the time to truly find out why God hasn’t answered your prayers, it’s apparent that you value establishing a true and long-lasting relationship with God.
And with that relationship comes the right to pray to Him and worship Him in truth along with others who feel and hope and yearn for the same things you do.
I eventually graduated valedictorian at the new school I moved to when I was 14. I was surrounded by friends cheering me on as I accepted my award, and in my speech, I remembered to thank God for answering my prayers, and for always being by my side. So this right here might be an answer to your prayers, it’s what you have been searching for all your life.
Don’t let your future prayers go unanswered. With that said, I leave you with one last Bible verse I learned in a worship service, Psalms. 37:34 TLB:
“Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and in due season he will honor you with every blessing,…”
About the Author:
This blog was co-written by Martin Zerrudo with biblical support by Richard Juatco, a Minister of the Gospel of the Church Of Christ.
Martin Zerrudo is a Producer at INCMEDIA Services, a lifetime gamer and a Christian. He currently hosts a podcast called “Heart & Soul” tackling subjects regarding Christian relationships and Christian living.
Richard Juatco has been an ordained minister in the Church Of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) for five years.