Saturday, January 11, 2020

Why God Doesn't Respond to Prayer

Some of the reasons that your prayers may not be getting answered.

  • Philippians 2:12-13
  • Ephesians 3:20
  • James 4:3
  • 1 John 5:14-15
  • Matthew 7:11
  • Proverbs 28:9
  • Daniel 3:16-18
  • 1 Peter 3:7
  • Psalms 66:18
  • ‭‭John‬ ‭9:31‬
  • James 1:5-8
  • Hebrews 11:6
  • Isaiah 58: 6-9
  • ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:10-12‬
  • Matthew 6:12-14

  • Introduction
  • The Answer is Wait
  • You Already Got an Acorn
  • God is Changing You
  • God Has Something Better Planned
  • Wrong Motives
  • Opposite of God's Will
  • Disregard for the Word
  • Praying to the Wrong God
  • Marital Conflict
  • Sin
  • Doubt
  • You're Not Helping Others
  • Unforgiveness
  • Conclusion


Hearing From God

The greatest feeling is when prayers are answered supernaturally
—Francis Chan
  • not a coincidence
  • not just the answer
  • someone is listening to you
makes your faith “real” to you

Example: my father didn’t exist
  • I grew up with him
gives us a GPS to navigate through life


God responds in 5 ways
  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Wait
  4. Confirmation / Direction / Clarity
  5. Silence

Why God Doesn’t Respond to Prayer

Cell Phone Reception

There are some places where a cell phone doesn’t work
Example: my house
  • Going in garage
  • Same with God
We will look at reasons why God may be silent...

The Answer is Wait

  • It’s coming

God gave you a seed
  • A dream
  • A desire
  • A hope for healing
  • A hope for provision

Faith can be like planting a seed
  • Sowing
  • Reaping
  • Waiting

Sowing a seed means releasing it
  • It’s out of my hands
  • I need to let go of my agenda
  • Let God lead

You Already Got an Acorn

You asked for an oak tree and God gave you an acorn
God already answered you
  • It just doesn’t look the way you were expected
God gave you the seed of the dream
  • But He expects you to water it
  • He expects you to prune the bush
  • He expects you to fertilize it

Example: layoff -> diabetes
  • time

God is Changing You

Philippians 2:12-13
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure

  • The seed sprouts and grows because of the work of the soil
  • If the soil isn’t right the seed won’t grow
  • The soil is our heart
  • God can change the soil after the seed has been planted

You Weren’t Ready Yet

You might not be ready for it when you ask

Exhaust your options

The Seed is Growing Underground

Just like the seed
The struggle could be changing your perspective or your priorities
You know God is working in you not because you don’t sin but because you struggle to sin
  • The fact that you have a desire to do good means God is working in you

God Has Something Better Planned

Ephesians 3:20
 20Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us
  • He has more than we asked for awaiting
It was technically a “no” 

Example: Jesus and the teddy bear

Because He is good and knows what’s eternally best for us, and doesn’t want us to settle, God sometimes says no or closes a door because He has something better for us that we haven’t even thought to ask for. He is One who can do “immeasurably more” than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Trust His timing. Trust His “no.” And trust His idea of what is eternally best for you. He really is a good father.

Example: when job hunting
  • Start to creatively interpret the job description
  • Couldn’t get a job in my expertise so why do I think I can in another area?
  • God said to stop
But I eventually got a call from a friend

Example: dating
  • Same
  • “She travels a lot for work so she always near bibles”
** stories **

Wrong Motives

James 4:3
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Example: You want a spouse
  • Treated like a queen
  • Vs help meet
Genesis 2:20 “for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him”
Should be:
  • Help fulfil God’s purpose - strengthen the church
  • “Building the Kingdom”

Opposite of God’s Will

1 John 5:14-15
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
Example:  asking for promotion or boss treat you better
  • Should be a missionary 

How to Know God’s Will

  • You find His will in His word
  • Hearing from God

God’s idea of a “good thing” might be different than yours

Matthew 7:11
11“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Example: giving a little buy a BB gun
  • He will shoot his eye out
You might be praying for a husband, a job you’ve been hoping for, or to win the lottery. Why would God not give you any or all of the three? Because even though you might feel it’s good for you to be married, or to be working in a job you like, or to have more money, God’s opinion might differ.
Just because we think something will make us happy doesn’t mean it’s good for us in God’s eyes. 
  • You might be asking for a job that will distract you from your mate
  • You might be asking for a mate that will distract you from your calling
You may be incorrectly prioritizing your desires
You priorities your desires
  • You want a short commute, but you want a house
  • You want to save money, but you want to look cool
  • You want to tithe 10%, but you don’t want a roommate
  • You want more sleep, but you want to see what happens on your tv show
  • You want a 6 pack, but you have a sweet tooth
  • You want a good marriage but you have a sweet tooth
  • You want a good husband but sometimes you get lonely

God's  Priorities

God answers prayer according to His will.  But just like us, the desires are not all equal.
God has a will too, but not all aspects of His will are of equal priority. For example:
  1. Keep His Word
  2. Free Will
  3. God’s glory
  4. Your Desires
Your desires don’t necessarily trump of God’s other priorities

You Chose Wrong Path

Your desires could be out of synch with your free will
  • What you’re doing won’t get you what you want

Disregard for the Word

Proverbs 28:9
He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.
  • Not just sinning, but you won’t listen
You have created a stronghold that is against God’s word
  • ideology
  • paradigm
  • The bible is outdated
  • That was a different culture
  • Same sex abomination thing is discrimination (love is love)
  • That stuff about women being submissive doesn’t apply now
  • There are multiple paths to Heaven
  • Political ideologies

Praying to the Wrong God

Daniel 3:16-18
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.
17 “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
18 “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
  • Faith says: “God can” not “God has to”
Doctrines / paradigm
  • If I have faith God will give me whatever I want
  • If I do good, bad things won’t happen to me
  • If I’m good, God owes me a reward
Some of the problems we have with prayer arise out of a wrong understanding of God. The better we know the God in the Scriptures, the better we will understand how to pray—and why God responds to prayer as He does.

Marital Conflict

1 Peter 3:7
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Biblical Relationship Wisdom

  • Men love your wife
  • Women respect your husband
  • Lowers women’s stress
  • Increases their happiness
Talking about issues raises men’s stress
  • Testosterone turns to estrogen


Sinful Plans

Psalms 66:18-19
18 If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;
19 But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
  • Imagine it
  • ^think it’s ok
Regard (ra'ah)
  • to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider
Thought -> feeling -> act -> habit -> lifestyle-> destiny

Guilt and Shame

  • Planned sin
  • Guilt
  • Doubt that God hears you

Committing Sin

‭‭John‬ ‭9:31
“We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.”
Sin no longer completely separates us from God
  • We can’t have the type of relationship Adam had
  • God is a trinity
  • No sin will remove the Holy Spirit from within us

Impacts Your Relationship

It affects your relationship

Example: kid breaking the window
  • Don’t get punished (grace)
  • Ask for a new bike
  • Didn’t even acknowledge the broken window
  • Still a son, but relationship is strained


James 1:5-8
5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.


  • You need wisdom to make decisions
  • You need wisdom when you don’t hear from God
  • If you doubt you won’t receive anything

 Hebrews 11:6
6And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
  1. Faith that God exists
  2. Faith that God rewards those who seek Him
waiting to punish you 

How do you know God exists
  1. Faith - belief
  2. Rational / logical
  3. Experience
  • Hear from God
  • Supernatural experience
  • Testimony


  • Angels
  • why you believe in God
  • Conversion experience
Story: Chinese Hindu
  • Raising kids Christian

You’re Not Helping Others

Isaiah 58: 6-9
      6“Is this not the fast which I choose,
            To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
            To undo the bands of the yoke,
            And to let the oppressed go free
            And break every yoke?
      7“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
            And bring the homeless poor into the house;
            When you see the naked, to cover him;
            And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
      8“Then your light will break out like the dawn,
            And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
            And your righteousness will go before you;
            The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
      9“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
            You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
            If you remove the yoke from your midst,
            The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,

He is asking us to be the hands and feet of Jesus

This is the ultimate test of our Christianity
  • Loving your neighbor as yourself

You’re an unbeliever

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:10-12‬
10 For,

The only prayer an unbeliever may be assured God will answer—and answer immediately—is a prayer of faith and acceptance of His Son, who died on the cross and rose again, as the basis for the forgiveness of your sins.


Matthew 6:12-14
12 And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass
 against us.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
  • If you don’t forgive then your sins are forgiven
  • That push you in the same category as an unbeliever


You Don’t Always Know Why

African Burrito Girl Story

You may not have a testimony, but...

You are a testimony

Instructor: Michael Leadon


Why isn’t God answering my prayers

Can You Hear me Now


When God Doesn't Listen by Francis Chan

What to Do when is seems like God Doesn’t Respond

5 Reasons God Doesn't Answer Your Prayers


You’re An Unbeliever

Proverbs‬ ‭15:8-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves one who pursues righteousness.”

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