December 2015 / January 2016 - Vol. 83

 kneeling before God
When God Does Not Seem to Answer Your Prayers  
by Tom Caballes

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 
- Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

Why does not God answer all our prayers, at least according to how we want them to be answered? We try to follow the Lord; isn’t his part to take care of our needs? Well, there is a huge difference in how we think and how God thinks. God is not like an ATM [automatic teller machine], once you put a request, he will do as you ask - quickly. Nor God is like a pompous father spoiling all his children’s whims and impulses. God sees the complete picture that we do not, and he, out of his goodness, has his own plan and own time for things for us, and these do not necessarily follow our own. God is King and sovereign over all, and he makes all thing beautiful in His time [Ecclesiastes 3:11].

So What Do You Do When God Does not Seem to Answer Your Prayers?

  1. You need to have balance and perspective when it seems God does not listen to you. Count all the blessings he has given you and remember his faithfulness to you in the past. Be thankful for everything God has given you, including answered prayers. Continue to be faithful to him in prayer. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:4-7 ESV].

  2. Know that God is for you, and things will come out for your good – in time. Be assured that the King of all the universe is on your side! And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [Romans 8:28 ESV]

  3. You need to respect God’s ways, his timing, and his decisions. He knows what is best for you. He knows you. He will take care of you better than we can take care of your own, so fully trust in him.

  4. Know that God is forming your character at this time. He wants you to rely and depend on him. He wants you to learn patience and forbearance. Sometimes God tests your priorities and where your heart is focused on. Do you truly trust him? Is your heart and mind totally given to him?

  5. It is okay to cry out to God and speak of your frustrations and tiredness to him; but do not let any unanswered prayer be a blockage between you and God. Be a victor, not a victim. Is the issue on hand more important than God himself? Do not act like a child, who will whimper until he gets what he wants.

  6. Hang on and do not give up. Surrender the issue to God. Yield to his will and his timing. Let your concern be his, and his concern be yours. Let your delight be God himself. In due time, God will act on it.

Other Scripture references:

  1. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. [1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV]
  2. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? [Romans 8:31-32 ESV]
  3. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. [Romans 12:12 ESV]
  4. Other references: James 5:7-9; Galatians 6:7-10; and Luke 18:1-7.

For personal reflection or group sharing

  1. What are your current requests that God needs to act on? Have you surrendered them to God?
  2. Do you act like a bratty son or daughter when your Father does not answer your prayer as you wish?

Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.


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