(Click to listen to an audio recording of this article: Why won’t God listen to me?)
“Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”
Sometimes life can feel a little overwhelming. But where do you turn to when it seems like God isn’t even listening?
Have you ever felt that God doesn’t always answer prayer? Have you ever had a day where things simply go wrong and you find yourself lying on your bed, tears soaking into your pillow because no matter how much you cry out to God, nothing ever changes? Why does God refuse to answer your prayers?
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
If you believe that all things work together for your good isn’t it a more likely solution that God is simply answering your prayers in a different way than what you expected?
You can’t run away from your trials
Imagine you are dealing with an angry customer at work. They rant and they rave at you and inside you can feel the anger boiling up and you know that if they don’t leave soon you will boil completely over and really let them have it!
You can pray that the customer doesn’t return, because you really couldn’t stand another dose of abuse. Or maybe you take it a step further and realize that your own anger was not how you’re supposed to react as a Christian. You pray, “Oh, please don’t let that customer come back, I really don’t want to get so angry again.” But then what do you know, the very next day that same customer is back to yell at you some more! Isn’t this the exact opposite of what you prayed for?
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trialTribulations or trials refer to any event or situation that comes your way that tempts you to sin; that gives opportunity for sinful thoughts and temptations to rise up in you. The tribulation or trial arises when your mind to serve God struggles against your lusts to sin. It also often refers to difficult situations that test your ability to... More which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12.
Why do you pray for the trialsTribulations or trials refer to any event or situation that comes your way that tempts you to sin; that gives opportunity for sinful thoughts and temptations to rise up in you. The tribulation or trial arises when your mind to serve God struggles against your lusts to sin. It also often refers to difficult situations that test your ability to... More to go away? You can’t go through your whole life without ever meeting somebody who makes you angry. Such people are everywhere! God gives you interactions with these people so that you might get victory over your anger and become more loving and patient.
“My brethrenThe “brothers” and “sisters” are those who are a part of the church of Christ. (Matthew 23:8; Matthew 12:50; Hebrews 2:10-18)... More, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4.
Isn’t this a far better solution? To be perfect and complete, lacking nothing?
Of course it is! But even God is subject to the laws He Himself has laid down. You can pray for patience every day but God won’t make your anger just magically disappear one day – He wouldn’t do that even if He wanted to, because He has given you a free will! He is interested in voluntary service and obedience. A disciple’s attitude is shown in Jesus’ own prayer: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10.
Instead of asking why God isn’t listening to you, maybe you should ask why you aren’t listening to God! If your mind is set on doing God’s will, He will answer your prayer for freedom from getting angry with exactly the right trials you need to become patient. If you feel that God is not hearing your prayers, ask yourself if you have really said “Your will be done” in every situation.
Don’t pray to God to keep you safe from the trials; pray to Him to give you strength to use that trial to become like Jesus! Then He will be more than willing to answer your prayers! Then you will never have another hopeless day again!
“When people think about grace, they usually think about the forgiveness of sins; and since we have all sinned, we all need grace.” Sigurd Bratlie opens this booklet about grace with these words. However, he goes on to describe in-depth that the grace that is in Christ Jesus means so much more than forgiveness. It also means truth and help. It teaches us not to sinTo commit sin is to consciously do something that you know goes against God’s will. This can be in word, deed, or even thought. (James 1:14-15)... More, so that we can be completely free to live a life of victory that leads to perfection.