“While you did all this, I remained silent, and you thought I didn’t care. But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you.” – Psalm 50:21.

If you are a Christian for any period of time, you will hear somebody say, “I try to pray regularly, but sometimes it seems like God’s not listening. Why doesn’t He answer my prayers?”

Sometimes it does seem like our prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling. But what we feel isn’t always the same as what’s really true. The Bible teaches us that God does answer our prayers: “You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” (John 16:24). When we think of “unanswered” prayer, it may be that we do not understand the way in which God responds to our requests. There are a few things we need to remember when we consider whether God is answering our prayers. So often we are inclined to think that the only answer God can give our prayers is “yes.” We need to remember that “no” is an answer also. God’s answer may not always be what we were hoping for. And sometimes we fail to recognize His answers. 

When we think of “unanswered” prayer, it may be that we do not understand the way in which God responds to our requests. We pray for prosperity, and sometimes financial stress is given. But our souls are made stronger for the test. We pray for health, and affliction is given, and we are better able to sympathize with those in affliction. God makes no mistakes, though at times we may question His wisdom. In any case, His answer is always the best answer. He loves us dearly, and His answers to our prayers are always what we need even if they’re not necessarily what we want.

The bottom line: As Christians, we need to trust God that He’s giving you the best answer for you, for your life, for all eternity: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Discussion Questions:

  1. How have you seen God work in your life through unanswered prayers?
  2. What changes in your thinking do you need to make so you can better understand unanswered prayer?