Have you experienced times in your life where it seemed like God wasn’t hearing or answering your prayers? Maybe you’re struggling now with unanswered prayers, feeling like God isn’t listening or doesn’t care about your needs, concerns, and desires.
If so, you may be tempted to stop praying all together questioning what’s the use?
Yet Scripture assures, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry;” (Psalm 34:15).
As well, Psalm 66:19 states, “But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.”
If you are wrestling with questions and uncertainty, wondering what you are to learn during these times where it seems like God is silent, below are five things He is teaching you through unanswered prayers.
1. God Is Teaching You to Believe He Hears Your Prayers
During times where it seems like God’s lips are closed, instead of turning away from Him, He wants you to seek more of Him.
One way to seek more of Him is to read and believe His word, finding reassurance through them that He hears your prayers.
1 John 5:14 encourages, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
As well, Isaiah 65:24 describes how attentive God is to your requests, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
How God Heard Hannah’s Prayers:
God wants you to believe even when it feels like He isn’t listening, that His ears are open to your cries.
Psalm 18:6 explains what happens when you cry out to God, “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.”
Even if time has passed where it seems like God has forgotten your prayers, He hasn’t.
Like Hannah in the Bible who prayed for God to give her a baby, even though she waited, God remembered and answered her plea for a child (1 Samuel 1:19).
As well, Scriptures tells, “Then God remembered Rachel; He listened to her and enabled her to conceive” (Genesis 30:22).
Ask God to help you believe He hears your prayers and remembers.
2. God Is Teaching You to Remain Steadfast in His Truth
If you aren’t seeing answers to your prayers, you may start believing more in what you’ve experienced than in Scripture. You may begin changing what you believe about God to match up with your experiences, rather than based on the truth of His word.
If you prayed for someone to live and they died, God wants you to still believe that He has the power to deliver from death (John 5:21) and is the One who gives life to everything (1 Timothy 6:13). He doesn’t want you to base your beliefs on what you didn’t see happen in a situation.
As well, if you’ve been praying for God to restore your health and haven’t experienced it yet, He doesn’t want you to stop believing in His willingness to do so. Psalm 41:3 describes how the Lord sustains His children on their sickbeds and restores them to health: “The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.”
How Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Were Steadfast in Faith:
An Old Testament story gives an example of three men who based what they believed about God on His truth rather than their situation.
Standing before King Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego boldly stated, “If we are thrown in to the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17,18).
As the story goes, their words infuriated the King so much so, he had them thrown into the fiery furnace but not before he had it turned up even hotter.
However, instead of letting their circumstances determine what they believed about God, they remained steadfast in their belief of His ability to deliver them, not letting their fiery circumstances change what they knew to be true about God.
Through unanswered prayers, God teaches you to stand firm in His truth despite what’s going on around you.
3. God Is Teaching You to Pray His Will
If it seems like your prayers aren’t getting through to God, it’s good to take a look at how you’re praying. Are you asking with the right intentions, according to God’s will?
James 4:3 explains how praying amiss effects your receiving answers. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Maybe you’re not sure how to pray God’s will? It first starts through reading His word and discovering His will.
How Jesus Prayed God’s Will:
Before going to the cross, Jesus demonstrated how to pray God’s will over your own praying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
As you learn God’s will, it will lead you to obedience to His word. And as you seek to please God by keeping His commandments, 1 John 3:22 states you’ll receive whatever you ask in prayer.
4. God Is Teaching You to Confess Your Sins
If you are experiencing a lack of answers to your prayers, take time to see if there is any sin in your life because Scripture explains how it inhibits receiving answers.
Psalm 66:18 describes, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”
Ways to check your own heart is to ask yourself questions like, are you unforgiving towards anyone? Do you need to confess and repent from sins such as lying, selfishness, jealousy, hatred, and more?
How to Have Confidence with God in Prayer:
1 John 3:21 encourages that if your heart doesn’t condemn you, you have confidence with God.
As well, look for areas where disobedience may be interfering with your prayers like, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).
Also check your prayer life. Are you praying to receive attention or to impress others? As Matthew 6:5 instructs, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by other. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
Rather, Matthew 6:6 urges, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
5. God is Teaching You to Not Ever Give Up
Some believe if you ask God once, you don’t need to ask Him again. However, Jesus taught His disciples to always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).
In one of His parables on prayer, Jesus proposed what you might do if a friend comes to you in the middle of the night seeking food for an unexpected guest. You might be tempted to tell him to go away because it’s late, and you and your family are in bed.
However, because he’s your friend and has so boldly approached and asked you for help, you most likely will get up and give him all He needs (Luke 11:5-8).
In summing it up, Jesus said, “So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; know and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11: 9,10).
How a Persistent Widow Refused to Quit Asking:
Jesus tells in another parable of a godless judge’s dealings with a widow who refused to accept his unwillingness to grant her justice from her adversary. After relentlessly pursuing the judge with her case, he gave into her merely because she refused to give up.
To His followers, Jesus reassures that if an unjust judge who doesn’t fear God will bring about justice to a widow simply because she kept bothering him, how much more will God do for His chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night (Luke 18:2-8).
Jesus also urges in Matthew 7:7 to, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
So instead of seeing unanswered prayer as a reason to stop praying, view it as a motivator to not ever give up. As 1 Thessalonians 5:17 encourages, “Pray continually.”
If you’ve been struggling with unanswered prayer, find comfort in knowing God has not forgotten you.
So instead of withdrawing from Him when it seems like He isn’t answering, consider what He might be teaching you during these times, knowing as you draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to you (James 4:8).
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