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Reasons for Unanswered Prayer – Lenten Devotion

It has now become habitual for my six year old to respond only after being called at least four or five times. Though I realize this is part of her mental make-up, I find myself getting angry and even wild when I don’t hear an answer. This probably describes how each of us feel when we pray and pray and pray only to find no change, no provision and absolutely no dramatic intervention from God. Instead of giving vent to these unreasonable feelings, let’s take a look at some reasons for unanswered prayer.

•Unbelief restrains the hand of God. “….He (Jesus) could do no mighty work there….because of their unbelief. Mark 6:5,6” It is one of the worst evils in a Christian believer’s life and the seeds of unbelief get buried through self reliance. The antidote for unbelief is faith and a prayer of faith is hardly unnoticed by God.

•Prayers made with a sin stained life will never reach God’s ears. Un confessed, presumptuous sins are a sure block to prayer. Only the prayers that proceed from a heart cleansed by the blood of Christ reach God. We know from the Bible that the fervent prayer of a righteous man alone avails much

•Bitter feelings, grudges and resentments steal a believer away from the presence of God and in such a state it is unreasonable to expect answers to prayer. Jesus shows that any gift brought to the altar of God becomes meaningless if the worshipper has even a trace of ill feelings towards anyone (Matthew 5:23,24). This makes it imperative for believers to first reconcile with one another before approaching God. Without this, expecting answers to prayer seems absurd.

•Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not expressed. This may sound weird, but many Christians absolve their duty to pray and rely on pastors, fellowship groups, live chats, helplines and other support systems. To these God’s reply is “…they have not for they ask not”

•It comes as no surprise that prayers made out of selfish motives or to promote self interest remain unanswered for this is just not the purpose of prayer. Jesus proved this by teaching the Lord’s Prayer where no mention is made of ‘I’. The collective reference in this prayer shows that only selfless prayer is acceptable to God.

•Prayers made to twist the arm of God or to secure blessings with wrong motives are equally detestable to God. You can hardly expect God to answer a prayer to rain down fire just to prove a point to a friend.

•Delayed answers are often mistaken for unanswered prayer. Living in a fast track world tempts even the best of believers to expect quick answers to prayer. God however is in no hurry and He knows the best time to answer prayer.

Looking through this checklist, you might have spotted one or more reasons for your prayers being unanswered. If you say you find nothing applicable to you, then in all probability God does not intend to work out things the way you expect or demand. In that case it is good to remember that even no is an answer to prayer.

An earnest prayer made from a sincere heart never fails to reach the One who is always attentive to the cry of His children. Wait on God and in His time He will intervene and surely make things beautiful for you. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him….Romans 8:28

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