Will God Answer Prayers?

By Pastor Teck Uy

Have you ever wondered if God answers prayers? And if he does, how quickly will he answer? These are questions that we often entertain in our minds as we wait for our blessings. There are times when we feel that we have waited too long and we wonder if we will ever receive an answer to our prayers. Well, through the prophet Jeremiah, God said, “‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jer. 33:3). This is a very reassuring word that appears to guarantee an answer to our prayers.

Even in his sermon the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). If this is the case, why are there people who are not getting an answer to their prayers? Is God not true to his words? The apostle Paul said, “Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

While God is true to all his promises, God’s answer to our prayers will not always be in the form and shape that we want. Because of this, we think that he has not yet answered our prayers, but he already did in some other form. There are also times when the answer is delayed, as in the case of Daniel. We are told that from the time Daniel offered his prayers, God already heard it and sent an answer through his angel Gabriel, but there was a delay. He explained: “The prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Daniel 10:13). Therefore, we need to continually pray and not give up until we receive the answer. In some cases, God will flatly say “No” and close the door. But in many instances, God does not answer our prayers for varied reasons. The foremost of these are:

Unconfessed Sin. When we sin, no matter how much we pray, we will not be answered. The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2). Because of sin, God does not even want to look at us, for we are like filthy rags before him. To emphasize the pointlessness of praying when we sin, the Lord said, “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood” (Isa. 1:15). Therefore, let us repent of our sins and be blessed.

Lack of faith. Unless our prayers are offered in faith, we will not receive the desired answer. The apostle James said, “The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:15-16). It is our faith in the Lord that will allow us to see signs, wonders and miracles. Jesus himself said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matt 17:20). But if we persist in unbelief, nobody else will suffer but us. This was the case of those who came from Jesus’ own hometown – “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matt. 13:58) Yes, let us not deprive ourselves of these signs and wonders. Let us have faith in God.

Lack of relationship. Because God is relational, we need to build a good relationship with him for us to be favoured by him. Although the Bible tells us that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, this is only true of those who have a relationship with him. Jesus emphasized this truth when he said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’“ (Matt. 7:21-23). Yes, Jesus will not hesitate to tell us what our true standing before him will be on that day. He emphasized this in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. The five foolish virgin who were late cried out ,”Sir! Sir! Open the door for us!” He said plainly, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you” (Matt. 25:11-12). A sad ending indeed.

While the Bible repeatedly says that God answers prayers, we need to overcome these hindrances in order for him to do so. Let us humble ourselves before God and do what is right so that he may bless us. Hallelujah!