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Does God Answer Prayer? Why Are Prayers Unanswered?

How should we pray so God will answer? What conditions must prayer meet? When, where, and how often should we pray? What power does prayer have?Most people know that prayer should be part of a Christian's life, but sometimes we wonder why our prayers do not seem to be answered. What does the Bible say?

In 1 John 5:14, God promises: "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." It is possible to be confident that God hears our prayer. But there is a condition - an "if." He hears us "if we ask according to His will."

There are some things God wills for us to have, but we will not receive them unless we ask. There are other things we may think we need, but God knows best what we really need. Our problem is we often think God has not answered our prayers, when He really gave what we needed, but we did not recognize or appreciate it. Too often we attempt to force our will on God and insist that He answer according to our will, not according to His will!

Again, James 5:16 says: "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." And 1 John 3:22 says: "Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." Yes, God does answer prayer. Prayer "avails much." We will receive what we prayer for. But this promise is only for the righteous, who keep God's commands and do what pleases Him.

Here again are conditions God has placed on our prayers. If we have never been willing to submit to God and become His children, we can be sure that He will not answer when we call. Proverbs 28:9 says: "One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination." This also includes children of God who go back to living to please themselves instead of pleasing God.

Are there sins in your life that you are unwilling to repent of? Don't expect God to serve you, when you refuse to serve God!

For further study about God's answer to prayer please see our detailed article on that subject on our Bible Instruction web site at /instruct/

(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 6/27/2005

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