Small Group Questionswhy sermon series

Why Didn’t God Answer my Prayer?

Introduction:

There are people who have doubts about God. You might have doubts about Christianity because of questions that you have about the Bible or the miracles of the Bible. You might have doubts based on your experiences in life. You may have doubts because there are “why” questions unanswered. For example: why God doesn’t work in our lives more often and more like we want Him to. You have prayed asking God heal a relative, find a job, or to help a wayward child find their way back: But the relative got progressively worse, your debt continued to grow and that child is running toward trouble at breakneck speed. In those moments, you might wonder: Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?

Bottom Line: God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

Something To Talk About:

There are few people who would deny the importance of prayer. But the real question becomes how many of us are categorically convinced that prayer is the greatest power? We would be convinced if God answered all our prayers, but what about when God doesn’t answer our prayers in the way we want. There are three reasons sometimes God says no.

  1. When God has a a bigger perspective: God can see the whole picture, we can’t. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” (Hebrews 4:13) Nothing is hidden from God. Life is unpredictable. We can’t predict the future. If we could, life would be so much more simpler. But unfortunately we can’t. We can’t see the consequences, or the effects. But God does. He can see ahead and He can predict the effects. Proverbs 2:8 “He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.” Sometimes God say “no” to protect us from unforeseen problems because He has a bigger perspective.
  2. When God has a better plan: Often God want to fulfill our desires, but He wants to do it in a different way than we have in mind. Isaiah 55:8-9 (TLB) “This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.” Our problem is that we get a preconceived idea and want “God do what we want our way.” We always pick the least painful way of having God answer prayers. In Hebrews 11:39-40 “All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” He’s talking about the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11. Many prayed and their answers were not the way they prayed. God says “no” sometimes because He’s got a better plan. He’s going to fulfill your desire but He’s going to do it His way.
  3. When God has a greater purpose: Isaiah 40:10 says, “Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.” Simply put, the purposes of God will stand. But given that, God isn’t obligated to explain to us everything He does. He doesn’t need our approval. Everything God does in your life He has a purpose for it including His answer to your prayer. God says “no” to your request because it involves the temporary and because there is a greater purpose that involves the future. When God says “no” it’s because He has a bigger perspective. Maybe He’s protecting you from an unforeseen problem you don’t even know about. Maybe it’s because of a better plan. He’s not limited to just one way; He has many ways. God has a greater purpose in your life that is greater than the problem you’re going through.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you could ask God for anything, what would it be? Why would you ask for this?
  2. In what style of communication do you feel the most comfortable and closest to God?
  3. What are you praying about that God has yet to answer? How have you reacted to your unanswered prayer?
  4. How can we see the possibility that God has a better perspective, a better plan and a better purpose in our prayers? 
  5. How have you seen God work in your life through unanswered prayers? What changes in your thinking do you need to make so you can better understand unanswered prayer?
  6. Do you expect God to answer when you pray?
  7. Why is it sometimes hard to hear God’s answers, whether they are what we want or not?
  8. If you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you pray for? Is that different from what you are currently praying for? 

Next Steps:

Everything God does, He does out of love. Everything God does in your life he’s working for good and not for bad. Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Psalm 25:10 “The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.” If we got everything we asked for in prayer, we’d be the most selfish, spoiled people in the world. God loves you too much to answer all your prayers the way you want them answered. He has a better plan and a bigger purpose and a bigger perspective. Just like as a parent, you don’t answer every request your children ask of you. All of their requests aren’t good for them.