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Unanswered Prayer


Part 1: Puzzled by unanswered prayer


"Why do prayers go unanswered? Christians are rightly puzzled when they pray and their prayer seems to go unanswered. On this page you'll get some understanding into why your prayers don't always receive an answer!"


It is not unusual for people to be puzzled by unanswered prayer. They believe they have offered their prayers sincerely in faith and then when apparently their petition goes unanswered they are puzzled.

Here is one note I received by email from a lady asking about prayer,

"Pastor Simon, why doesn't prayer work to your advantage all the time? For instance if you are praying for the sick and they are not healed. They continue to suffer and then die!"

(Content of this section: An Old Testament scripture about God hearing His people when they pray)


The following is my reply to her question and her expression of concern about unanswered prayer.

God has no problem about answering your prayers or hearing them. He delights in receiving your requests and showing you His goodness so that you will know His care for you.

The following are two scriptures - one from the Old Testament and the other from the New - about God hearing us:

Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words."

Daniel 10:12 - NKJV

(Content of this section: A New Testament scripture about God hearing us when we pray)


Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

1 John 5:14-15 - NKJV

(Content of this section: Pinpointing what is the main problem causing prayer seemingly to go unanswered)


The problem then is not with God hearing and answering. What is it then? It is that we here have a lot of problems about how we "draw down" His resources from His answer in the heavenly realm into our situations in this earthly realm.

Jesus recognised this would be a problem for us and with this perhaps in mind He spent much time during His earthly ministry teaching His disciples and the people around Him about the principles of prayer and how to receive the desire we request of God.


For a good class on "drawing down" see my class entitled "Word Power". This in the Bible Study. It's in Stage 5.

(Content of this section: Rising above the adverse conditions surrounding us in order to receive from God)


There is no holding back by God of peace, goodness and well-being but we in this earth realm struggle with receiving.

It is not that God is making things difficult for us to receive from Him but rather the conditions we are surrounded by work strongly against us.

For this reason, we have to learn how to deal with these conditions and overcome them. This takes time as we mature in Christ and grow into His stature. None have made it yet - even Paul confessed he hadn't!


Paul instructed us on this process of maturing and growing,

He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-13 - NKJV

(Content of this section: A starting point for learning the principles of receiving answers to prayer)


Your desires and petitions can all be answered by prayer to God the Father but you will have to progressively learn more from Jesus about how God's answers can reach earth's need.

The best place to start in the Bible with this learning is with the passage in Mark chapter 11 verses 22-25. Each phrase in this teaching describes a principle for receiving answers to prayer.

So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."

Mark 11:22-25 - NKJV

Preview of content in next part:

  • An example of prayer apparently not getting a result
  • A look at why Bible-believing people were succumbing to illness
  • Examining the nature of the devil's attacks that can make them difficult to handle
  • Summary of how we can progress into a place where our prayers are regularly experienced as answered

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