Sometimes Yahweh may be answering our prayers and we don’t even know it. Perhaps His answer is “no” or “not right now”. However, if we feel like He is not answering us, we should also prayerfully reflect on whether or not we are in right relationship with Him. The problem, if there is one, is with us…not with Him. It is important that we turn the lordship of our lives over the Yahweh. We need to die to self and increase in Him.
30“He must increase, but I must decrease.
What are some situations in which the LORD will not hear our prayers? Keep in mind, this is not simply speaking about those who outright rebel against Him, but rather to those who claim to follow Him. Also note, this is not comprehensive, not even close. I encourage you to study more on your own to learn more about what may stand between you and the LORD.
The LORD hears the prayers of the righteous, but is far from the wicked, or sinners.
31“We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. (John 9:31)
29The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)
2But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)
12“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, aND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, bUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”(1 Peter 3:12).
Related to the one above, the LORD does not hear the prayers of one who turns away from the law, the teachings of God. This is actually the standard by which we can judge what is sin and what is not.
9He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)
Again the next one is related to the ones above, but a different emphasis that helps to drive additional clarity. We must choose to fear, or in this context, respect, the LORD as we would a father who has authority over us. When we reject the LORD and choose to go our own way, He will let us and we will face the consequences. However, do not assume that if we choose to go our own way, that He will then “bail us out” by answering our prayers when things go wrong.
24 “Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; 25and you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof; 26I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27When your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 29Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD. 30“They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. 31“So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. (Prov 1:24-31)
Specific sins are called out for emphasis at times also:
7You 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. (1 Peter 3:7)
Sometimes people make empty prayers, for show before man more than based in humility and reverence before our Father.
46“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 47who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” (Luke 20:46-47).
5“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. (Matthew 6:5-8)
Sometimes people may pray with words, but their hear is far from submitted to the lordship of the Father.
13Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, (Isaiah 29:13).
9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 )
Do not ask, not believing that He can answer.
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. (James 1:6-8)
Reconcile with your brother (in Christ) before coming before the LORD. Seeking forgiveness from others is important when we have done them wrong.
23“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:23)
These are just a few examples. I encourage you to seek out more and perhaps even add them to the comment trail on this article. When there is a problem in our prayer life with the Father, it is important to remember that the problem lies with us, not with Him. The first and best approach is to fully embrace and submit to Him, asking forgiveness and guidance.
For more, read Learning to Pray Effectively.
Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.