Untouched Prayer

Subject: When God doesn’t answer our prayers.     

Objective: Responding to an untouched prayer.  

Opener: There are many reasons why God doesn’t answer our prayers. 

Key Scripture: Philippians 4:6 (KJV). Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Does God really hear every prayer? The scripture supports an emphatic ‘Yes!’ regarding this topic. He hears every prayer, even when they seem untouched by loving and just hands. Then, why do so many of our prayers go unanswered? The Bible says, “in everything by prayer”, not just some things, we should pray. We should pray the kind of prayer that seeks God’s attention, direction and His perfect will for our lives. Prayer is one form of communication or style of conversation that we have with God. The successful ingredient in this style of conversation is listening for what we don’t hear. God’s answers can be explicit in nature or implicit in nature. God does hear us when we call! He just may not respond right away or in a way we desire.

There are many instances in the Bible where God answers prayers. Not only does he answer them, but his answers are heard almost immediately. King Hezekiah was sick unto death and God sent the prophet Isaiah to inform him of his impending death. Before Isaiah could leave the palace, Hezekiah prayed, and God answered his prayer by sustaining his life in 2 Kings 20:1-6 (KJV). King Herod orders the apostle Peter to be imprisoned and jailed between two guard. The church makes continuous, urgent prayers for Peter’s deliverance. In the early morning before daybreak, God sends an angel to rescue Peter in Acts 2:1-17 (KJV). There are many examples of answered prayers throughout the Bible. 

There are also instance in the Bible where God refuses or delays requests. This often has to do with obedience. 1 Peter 3:7 (KJV) encourages husbands to be considerate of their wives and treat them with respect so that their prayers aren’t hindered. In the book of Psalms, it states that “no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” Psalm 84:11 (KJV). Other examples of God not answering our prayers are a matter of faith. How we pray is just as important as what we pray for. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” James 1:5-7 (KJV).

When God delays or doesn’t answer our prayers, what is a believer’s response? The list of reasons for an unanswered prayer can go on and on, just as the list of answered prayers. When God doesn’t answer our prayers or is delayed in responding to our request, there is a reason. The Bible says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV).  We cannot always know the specifics to the “why” he is delayed or refusing our prayer request. But as a believer, we trust as an act of faith that he knows what’s best for us. Jesus said, “if ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Matthew 7:11 (KJV).

How do we respond to an unanswered prayer when God’s ears seem deaf to our supplications? Stop to consider that God is speaking, and our ears are closed to his answers, directions, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. When God doesn’t answer our prayers, it’s not that he hasn’t heard them. The Bible says, “it shall come to pass. That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear” Isaiah 65:24. (KJV) The Bible is clear that God sees and hears all. 

God always answers prayers when they are measured against his will and timing. The answer can be yes, no, or wait. While we might not consider no or wait to be an answer to prayer, an unanswered prayer can sometimes be exactly what we need. Even when God says no or waits, it is still an answer to our prayer. It is logical and rational to believe and expect an answer from God for every prayer. 

Originally published in Pentecostal Life.