Dear Dr. B,
I’ve prayed and prayed to God. Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?
Upset and Unanswered
I understand your frustration. In my own experiences, I have learned that God answers our prayers, although the answer may not come the way we were expecting or in the timeframe we anticipated. But, in His perfect timing, the answer comes.
If we want Him to answer in a specific way, we limit Him and may not recognize the answer and may interpret the answer we miss as an unanswered prayer.
Scripture is clear that God hears and answers prayer. “He hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29 ESV)
In Psalm 65:1-2 NLT, “What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers.” And, “you faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth,” in verse 5.
He hears us before we even call to Him. “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (Isaiah 65:24 NLT)
Scripture instructs us to pray. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Jesus, our perfect role model, spent much time in prayer with the Father. “While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.” (Hebrews 5:7)
Does God answer our prayers?
What do God’s answers look like?
3 Ways God Answers Prayer
Sometimes He answers “Yes.”
We can usually identify when He answers with a yes. That answer may come the way we expected or as an immediate answer. We rejoice because we know He heard us. Our faith and confidence grows.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
Sometimes He answers “not yet.”
When the answer is “Not Yet”, we are tempted to give up and stop praying. Don’t allow discouragement to stop you from praying. Trust Him with your request and trust His timing. We know that He has a master plan and works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28).
In Luke 18:1-5, Jesus taught. “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.
And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
Sometimes, the answer is No.
In hindsight, I am thankful for many prayers that were answered with a “no.” Now I can see that God protected me from what I wanted that I “thought” was good for me.
The answers to your prayers may not line up with your own thinking, but He always answers.
Will you trust Him today to answer your prayers in ways you do not expect? In ways that are best for you?
Because of Him, Hope Prevails,
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
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Fabulous job in replying with truth and sensitivity! I also have to remind myself often of Isaiah 55:8-9 – His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts! It’s never easy waiting for the not now, and doesn’t feel great when the answer is no, but I completely agree with you, I am thankful for the times when He has said no and protected me. Blessings to you! Stopping by today from #WeekendWhispers
Debbie, thank you for your encouraging words. So often we want what we want, when we want it, how we want it. But I have to remind myself that I can’t see the whole picture. I’m grateful that what He wants for us is always good. I shudder to think how many times He must have saved me from myself. Because of Him, #HopePrevails.
What a great reminder. Sometimes the hardest answer is “wait”. Thanks for sharing.
I know what you mean, Robbi. We want what we want, WHEN we want it. But I’m so grateful to remember that God is never late, He’s never early…He is always right on time. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I love your Ask Dr.B posts. You answer with such grace and sincerity. I know I am blessed with your gentleness and I’m sure others are too. Thank you for sharing at Weekend Whispers.
Mary, your encouragement blesses me. I pray these posts meet someone right where they are. Because of Him, #HopePrevails.
Your response reminds me that faith comes by hearing the word of God. We all need His word to remind us of the truth whe our circumstances and emotions are whirling. Hoping in Jesus!
So true, Angela!! We all need to remember the truth of His word despite what our emotions and circumstances might suggest! Because of Him, HopePrevails!
Stopping by from SDG sisters, so thankful that our God is good, always! Blessings!
He absolutely is, Katharine! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
When something hasn’t worked out in my life, it’s usually because something better was on its way! =)
I have had the same experience. It’s a matter of trusting that His way and His timing are best. Because of Him, #HopePrevails.
So very true…like you, when I look back at some of God’s “no” answers, I’m so thankful…we can trust His heart towards us is one of love…blessings to you 🙂
You’re so right, Dolly. We CAN trust His Heart toward us. He is a good Father and His plans for us are good…even when we cannot see how it will work out at the time! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
So glad I found your site on Tell it to me Tuesdays! I will definitely be back:) I love the reminder that God always answers when we seek Him. We must be willing to trust Him regardless of the answer. I pray that you were of some help and encouragement to anonymous. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. May God continue to bless you in all that you do!
Horace, I am thrilled you are here and even more thrilled to hear you will stop by again. God loves to answer our prayers. It’s up to us to trust. There is one thing I trust: His #HopePrevails!
So glad we’re neighbors at Word Filled Wednesday! This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Laura! So glad you stopped by!
Thank you for this post! We are in a period of waiting for our yes and I truly needed encouragement today!
Robbie, I love hearing about how God will use the words of one to encourage another just when they need it. Keep seeking Him first. He hasn’t forgotten you. He is working all things together FOR your good. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
What a fabulous response! It can be hard for people to understand why a good God could allow suffering or tragedy. I so appreciate this reminder that God is faithful, even at our darkest hour, and can use our pain for His glory.Thank you for linking to the Sat. Soiree & Social Media Share! You’re featured this week!
Thank you for your sweet encouragement and feature, Sarah Ann. We can definitely count on God’s faithfulness. It’s so much easier when we will surrender to Him. Because of Him, #HopePrevails.
I love this message!! I KNOW, am confident and assured, that God hears me when I pray and He answers my prayers!! I just must always remember that when I do not SEE manifested the answer I expected that it is not because He didn’t answer but He does answer according to His plans, timing and will. So over the many years of being a prayer warrior I have an assurance, no doubt about it, take it to the bank, confidence that He is working continually in my life and the loves of ALL His kids. Thank you for addressing these issues because we must trust our Father!! That must be an uncontested part of our life. I am not flippant in my prayers ever. I am serious in my care and concern for others and my prayers are laid at the throne of God for Him to take them and do with them as He pleases. I so love and appreciate ALL you share, your heart and your love for Jesus!! I love and pray for you daily!
I’m in a bad place and i really miss being happy. i graduated in 2018 and i haven’t found a proper job. been to several interviews and nothing works out. i used to pray but not anymore; i just don’t think God wants to answer my prayers so why should i bother? i see many of my friends i went to college with getting good jobs and they are happy because apparently, God answers their prayers. so why can’t he answer mine?
This has me thinking that not everyone is created to have a happy life. some of us are meant to live a miserable life.
It’s puzzling and funny how ‘believers’ always have a justification for every gap, contradiction or bible inconsistencies in regards with prayer. they say ask and you shall be given and if you don’t get it, that means God has something better for you. or God has His own ways of doing things. so why should i pray for something if God has a plan
already? it just doesn’t make sense anymore.
been contemplating on suicide but it’d leave the people that love me devastated. all i ask is for God to take me peacefully in a way that will hurt the people behind less.
Oh Joe, our circumstances may not have been the same, but I’ve had the same questions you have had, and some of the very same thoughts. I’ve walked that valley of depression, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I found few resources that helped, which is why I wrote the book “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression.” I don’t want to give you platitudes, and I will admit that I don’t have all the answers to the questions you raise. But I will pray for you.
Father, I lift up Joe to you. You created him. You know his every thought, feeling, and question. He is down and brokenhearted. I remind you that you promised in your Word that you are close to the brokenhearted and that you save those who are crushed in spirit. I ask you to be close to Joe now. That you would make your presence and your working in his life obvious to him. That you would lift his spirits and that you would provide for his every need, including the job he needs and desires. Father, would you bring friends alongside him to encourage him on the hardest of days. And would you stick closer than a brother. I ask you to care for him in ways that only you can, so that he would experience your mercy, grace, love, and provision. In Jesus’s name, Amen.