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Prayer is vital in our life because prayer is the means by which we make our requests known to God. If you don’t make your requests known to God, you don’t have a basis for expecting Him to grant your request.
Of course, God is omniscient. He knows our needs before we make them known to Him. Nevertheless, in James 4:2, we are informed that one reason we have not is because we ask not. You see, God wants us to exercise our faith in Him by asking Him for what we want or need.
One day, Jesus’ disciples came to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1, KJV). Now some people would argue that there is no need for anyone to teach us how to pray. Everybody knows how to pray, they say. Prayer is just talking to God. In simplest terms that is true. But there is prayer and then there is effective prayer.
During Jesus’ public ministry, He often taught about how to pray. The more conscientiously you and I apply those teachings, the more successful we will be in the area of prayer.
Three Reasons God Does Not Grant Your Request
So, have you been praying and it seems as if God is not listening? Consider these three reasons for God not granting your request.
1. It is His prerogative to respond to your request a different way. Yeah, this first reason sounds rather cold but hear me out. In the twelfth chapter of Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, he writes about this messenger of Satan that was tormenting him. He prayed to the Lord three times for deliverance (2 Corinthians 12:8).
But the Lord chose not to grant Paul’s request. Instead, He said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (verse 9, KJV).
So, God did not grant Paul’s request but chose to give Paul ample grace to get through the affliction. It is God’s prerogative to respond to our request the same way whenever He wants to.
Furthermore, sometimes when we pray to God, He knows we don’t know how to pray as we should for the matter at hand (Romans 8:26).
2. You pray with the wrong motives. In his epistle, James writes, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3, NIV).
This verse is self-explanatory. When you pray for things that are solely for the empty purpose of consuming them upon your self-serving desires, those are grounds for God not granting your request.
3. You fail to pray according to the will of God. In his first epistle, John writes:
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15, KJV).
These verses reveal how we can pray with confidence. But note the condition—if we ask according to his will.
Of course, the primary way for us to know the will of God is through His Word. Whenever we pray in accordance with the Word of God we are praying according to the will of God. If we are not praying accordingly, we have no basis for being confident that God will say yes to our request.
Hence, a third reason for God not granting your request is that you fail to pray in accordance with His will.
Prayer was never meant to be merely a religious ritual. Nor something we do while wondering whether or not God has heard our prayers. Rather, the truths that have been given to us through the Word of God are aimed at us being confident in prayer.
What do you see as an opportunity for you to become more confident in prayer?
Copyright © 2021 by Frank King. All rights reserved.