Does God Answer Every Prayer?
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Jer 33:3 KJV) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
One of the statements that I continually hear from Christians, both in the media, in person, or on line that “God didn’t answer my prayers.” Millions of Christians pray every single day and if what they pray for does not come to fruition, they claim that God did not answer certain of their prayers.
First of all let me start off by stating that if you are an unbeliever, whether one who opposes Christianity or one who is a member of a church, then God will not hear your prayers because prayers are heard through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
(Rom 8:26-27 KJV) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. {27} And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
According to Romans 8:26-27, the Holy Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints. Those who are unsaved do not have the Holy Spirit.
(Rom 8:9 KJV) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
The unbeliever is spiritually dead and because of that lives only in the flesh void of the Holy Spirit. The spiritually dead have no ability to pray proper prayers and have them interpreted by the Holy Spirit since they do not have the Spirit. Many people go to church but are unconverted and that places them in the same category as any other unbeliever. If they become saved, then they are made alive unto God and will have a living relationship with God with the ability to have their prayers heard.
(Isa 59:1-2 KJV) Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: {2} But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
(Psa 66:18 KJV) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Both of these sets of verses teach a major principle. While Isaiah was aimed at the nation of Israel at a time they were embracing idolatry and other ungodly practices and Psalm 66:18 is aimed at both the saved and the unsaved, they carry the same principle and that is, anytime one has sin in their life, it will affect their prayer life. That principle goes for both believers and unbelievers. Can Christians pray to God for something with a pack of cigarettes in their pocket? Can a person in a cult pray to a generic god? What I mean by generic god is that many cults and false religions teach that God is the God of all religions and there are many pathways to God. This is absolutely untrue because the Scriptures outright reject that.
(John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jesus is the only way to the Father and the promise of the Father is the giving of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 1:4-5 KJV) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. {5} For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Now this article is not about believers and unbelievers and answered prayer but is specifically aimed at the Christian who expects God to answer all their prayers. It is a total misunderstanding to believe that God does not answer all prayers and we will see why. We are going to look at four ways in which God answers all prayers. In our beginning verse, Jeremiah 33:3, God states that we are to call unto Him and that “He will answer.” He did not say that He may answer but that He will, and I am sure that you and I can easily take God at His Word.
The first way that God answers prayers is directly. We may pray for something and if it is in the will of God then God will grant the petition. (1 John 5:14-15 KJV) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: {15} And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
The second way God answers our prayers is when He says yes, but He brings the answer in His timing which may be different than ours. Probably one of the best examples in Scripture for the delayed answer is that of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. (Luke 1:13 KJV) But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. Zacharias must have been praying for a son and finally he is told that his prayer has been heard and he will have a son. He was not told when this would happen, but that it would.
Probably one of the best disguised answers to prayer in the Bible is found in 1 Samuel 17. This where the army of Israel was facing the army of the Philistines. (1 Sam 17:16 KJV) And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days. Goliath had taunted the Israelite army for forty days and there was no one who would challenge Goliath. David was the youngest son of Jesse and he dispatched David to the valley of Shochoh where the battle was taking place. (1 Sam 17:17-18 KJV) And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren; {18} And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge. Jesse was just dispatching David to send food to his brethren and some cheese to the commander. It never crossed Jesse’s, David’s, Saul‘s, Eliab’s or any of their minds that little David would be the answer to their prayers to deliver them from the taunting giant of Gath. Yet, it would be David, through the power of God, who came as the answer to their prayers to have victory over the Philistine. Could you imagine the consequences they would have faced if they sent David home right away and would not allow him the opportunity to face Goliath? The answer to their prayers were in a teenage boy and not the mighty seasoned warriors of Israel.
Here is the reason why Christians claim that God does not answer their prayers. The reality is that “no” is an answer. When we were younger and we asked our parents for something and they said no, that was an answer. It is not the answer we want to hear but it is an answer and we better realize that “no” is a part of the Christian life. When God says “no” it does not necessarily mean that you are asking wrongly or in selfishness but your request is not God’s will for you and therefore you need to accept the reality that God has denied your prayer. It does not mean He is angry with you, but he is just protecting you because he sees the future and you don’t.
We have looked at four ways that God deals with prayer and in every instance, God gave an answer. God answers every prayer we pray but we do not like to take “no” as one of the main answers. Once we accept the fact that “no” is an answer, we will begin to realize that God takes our prayer life more serious than we do. We can always count on Him to answer our prayers, even if He said “no,” because it is an answer!