Many people are confused about when and why God does miracles or answers prayers. It is difficult to understand why he answers one prayer and seems to not answer another. He heals one person and not another. Why does he allow some to be martyred for their faith, but save others?
There are many reasons why God may choose not to answer our prayers the way we want Him to. Sometimes He answers “yes”, sometimes “no”, sometimes “not yet” or “not the way you think is best but rather the way I know is best”. To study more about prayer, please consider our teachings about prayer, Learning To Pray Effectively, and Is God Ignoring My Prayers? Additionally, we encourage you to review other devotions listed in the “Prayer” category. (Once you click the link “Prayer“, just scroll down through the devotions to review them.)
It is good to seek to understand why God may not be answering our prayers and to test ourselves and our motives as to whether we are submitted to His will in righteous prayer and trusting Him or demanding our own outcome.
It is very important to trust God and submit to His will. His ways are so far above ours that we can not hope to fully understand our all powerful, eternal, all knowing God.
[Isaiah 55:8-9] 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
It is really that simple. Even a dog learns to trust a good master with no hope of ever understanding all of the master’s plans. So too a small child who has good parents learns to trust them. We are to do the same with God.
Few have had as much motivation as Job to feel that God has abandoned him and seek to understand why He allows certain things in this world. Job was a righteous man, yet God allowed Satan to torment Him through personal loss of family and wealth and through personal illness. Job’s “friends”, which he is allowed to keep, seem to be more a curse than a blessing. For the full series of events refer to the book of Job.
Job was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. I strive to achieve such a righteous description for it is the description of one who submits to God and serves Him wholeheartedly. Yet God allowed Job to suffer incredibly. After enduring much suffering, Job struggled to understand why these things were happening to him.
God’s response takes up four chapters (Job 38-42) which basically can be summarized to say “Who are you to question God?”
Along the way, Job is humbled again.
[Job 42:1-3] 1Then Job answered the LORD and said, 2“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. 3‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
We can see with Job that it is not because of sin that God allowed bad things to happen to him. Yahweh had His own reasons. While sin is a reason for Yahweh not to hear our prayers, sometimes He just has other plans and sin has nothing to do with it. If Job does not convince you of that, then consider Yeshua asking the Father to be spared the pain and suffering of the cross.
39And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
We know the Father had good reason for Yeshua to experience that suffering, so that we could be forgiven. Yeshua was perfect and righteous… and the answer to His prayer was “no”. He set a perfect example in remaining fully submitted to the Father.
To be sure, it is fine to ask God to show you why He does or does not do some particular miracle or answer a prayer a certain way or why He allows certain events. We should ask as a child asks a father… humbly, respectfully and without challenging authority or complaining. He may answer or He may not. We are to trust and love Him either way, submitting to His will rather than insisting on our own.