Seventh-day Adventist Church
Bible texts come to our minds, such as Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it will be given to you"... Will He really answer when we call? Isaiah 65:24: "Before you call I will answer, while you are still speaking, I will hear."
Have you ever asked the question, why doesn't prayer work? Why at times does it appear that God ignores us when we pray to Him. Many have prayed for God to intervene and solve a problem that they are struggling with, but sometimes God‘s apparent answer is silence.
Even when we feel that God is not answering our prayers, you can always know God is a God of love. The Bible tells us He loves us:
John 3:16. '"For God so LOVED the world".......
Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love."....
God created us and knows infinitely more than we know. He knows what is best for us, and what would not be good for us. If you have children, when they were very small, sometimes they asked for things that would not be good for them, or would harm them. For good reasons sometimes parents do not always give their children what they ask for, when they ask for it. Parents give them what is best for them.
It is the same way in our prayers to God. God gives us what is best for us. We are God’s children and He gives us what is best for us, and at a time when it is best for us. Our lives must be right with God before He can answer our prayers.
God has certain conditions that must be met before our prayers can be answered. One of the first, is we feel our need of help from Him. Isaiah 44:3 says, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” The heart must be open to the Spirit’s influence, or God’s blessing cannot be received. One cannot pour water into a cup that is already full.
If we have cherished sins in our lives, and refuse to give them up, or if we are doing things we should not be doing, and are disobeying Him, we cannot expect Him to answer our prayers. He cannot answer our prayers if we have sins in our lives that are unconfessed or if we are hanging on to cherished sins. Also, if we refuse to forgive others who have wronged us, God cannot hear us. (See Matthew 6:12 and Ephesians 4:32).
This is not saying you can earn God’s favor to answer your prayers, it will always be Jesus’s blood that makes us worthy; but we do need to do our part if God is going to work in our lives.
One of the reasons we feel our prayers are not being answered, is because we stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says it best, "pray without ceasing." Paul is more direct in Philippians 4:6, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
In reality, we should not be worried so much about if God hears our prayers – He does and He does care. What we should be worried about is if because of temptations, hard times, and trials we get discouraged, and give up praying. In Luke 18:1, Jesus, “spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart."
God is a God of love, and He is interested in every detail of our lives. He hears our prayers, and answers every sincere prayer if we meet His conditions. We must not expect that every answer will be "yes", since we are sinners and do not always ask what is best for us. Sometimes His answer is "No’ and sometimes it is "wait." (Hebrew 10:36) We need to end each prayer with, "Not my will but Your will." Even if we are sincerely doing God’s will, and to the best of our ability, following His will for us, He may see that it is best for us not for Him to say "yes" at this time. We must continue trusting Him, regardless of His answer at the moment.
God's timetable is not the same as ours. He knows better than we do when is the best time for our prayers to be answered. (See Hebrews 6 :13-15). God is eternal and does not measure time as we do. 2 Peter 3:8: "Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
In the story of Abraham, God promised a son to Abraham. But Abraham became impatient when Sarah didn‘t bear him a son, so he took his wife’s servant as his wife. Abraham tried to solve the problem in his own way and the result was disastrous. We are still seeing the results of his mistake today. God eventually answered his prayer at the time when He saw it was best for Abraham.
For God to give us what we ask for, we must ask "according to His will." Faith cannot take the place of "asking according to God's will." 1 John 5:14, "…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." If you do not ask according to God's will, it is not real faith in God. If God's answer is "No" we still must be willing to wait patiently, and trust God to answer in his own way and in His timing.
Trust God, even though it may seem like prayer doesn't work. Even though it may seem like at the moment He is not near and has abandoned you.
Isaiah 41:9,10 says, "You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, You are my servant, I have chosen you, and have not cast you away. Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
If we have faith and sincerely trust God, we will not be concerned as to whether the answer is "wait" or the answer is "no" or "yes." We must just trust, and wait and see if God in His timing will see fit to answer as we have requested, or perhaps He has something better in mind for us. Remember your prayer should end with "Not my will, Lord, but Your will." (Luke 22:42). "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5,6.