Many times it seems that God is nowhere to be found and we wonder if he really cares about our situations. We wonder why he doesn’t automatically intervene when we get into trouble. We wonder why he doesn’t answer our prayers.
The most common cause of unanswered prayer is prayerlessness. James 4:2 says that we do not have because we do not ask.
Just as parents who love and want to provide for their children desire for them to share their needs, our heavenly Father wants us to share with him our greatest needs.
But our motto seems to be, “When all else fails, then pray.” When problems arise, it seems like we seek answers everywhere else first and then go to the Lord as a last resort. When we choose to go to the Lord last, we suffer unnecessary grief and heartache.
An old hymn says it this way: “Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
Another reason our prayers go unanswered is that we sometimes ask for things based on selfish motives. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasure.”
It is all right to ask God to meet our needs as he has promised to do, but we also need to understand that he is not our personal genie. He is not going to answer our prayers when doing so will bring us harm, not good. The problem is that we think we know what will bring us good or bad. But the truth is, he does know.
Our prayers also go unanswered because when we pray, we sometimes show doubt. We treat it like a game of chance, like buying a lottery ticket and hoping you hit the jackpot. James 1:6-7 tells us that when we ask, we must not doubt. If we do, we should not think that we will receive anything from the Lord.
Hebrews 11:6 also tells us that “anyone who comes to (the Lord) must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” When we pray, we must believe that the Lord is capable and willing to meet our needs.
The most important reason why prayers are not answered is that people call on a God who don’t know them as his children. It’s like a child going up to a stranger and saying, “Daddy, I need some money to go buy clothes.”
In John 1:12, it is said about Jesus that “all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Being born as a human or an American doesn’t give us the right to call God our Father – it only comes by becoming one of his children through faith in his Son Jesus.
The good news is that the invitation to become a child of God is open to everyone. Then you can get your prayers answered by going to him first, praying with the right motives and praying with faith.