Do not ask! Do not even think about it! Sometimes it is hard for us to imagine that there are prayers that God will not answer. But to tell you the truth, there are some prayers that God turns His face to and will not acknowledge, no matter how loud we are, or for how long we ask. He will just not answer them, and he already told us that. If we were careful in our Bible reading and study we would find out those prayers that do not reach God’s ears.
I will share with you seven of them. I know that there are more than that, but those seven will give us a head start in finding out and avoiding those prayers. One more thing, they are not in any specific order.
1 – Prayer with Violence
It is clear in the Bible that the prayers of the unjust and violent will not have God’s attention. Here is one of the verses that makes it clear: “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; Isaiah 1:15.” Some people believe that they can live a violent life and at the same time go to church, pray and have their prayers answered. Not from our God. He will not listen.
2 – Prayers of those who do evil
Maybe you are not a violent person, but on the other hand you do many other things, by word and deed, that go against God’s rules. When we live in such a way, our prayers will not receive God’s attention. This is what Peter tells us: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1Peter 3:12” Peter is talking about people who practice evil on a regular basis. Those people will not have their prayers answered.
3 – Prayer without obedience to God’s Law
As I already emphasized before, prayer and Scriptures walk together. If we read the Bible and simply ignore it, not obeying its teachings, God will also ignore our prayers.They will be detestable to Him. Here is the text in Proverbs: “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable. Proverbs 28:9.” He is not talking about faults or sins here and there.If He was, nobody would be able to have his or her prayers answered. He is talking about the person who intentionally is turning a deaf ear to the law. You hear, read, listen, and do nothing with that. God will do the same thing with your prayers.
4 – Prayer with Hypocrisy
This kind of prayer is a “show off prayer”. The intention is not to get the answer; it is to get the attention. People make those prayers in public places, standing, loudly, so others will see, and give them praises. This is the prayer that Jesus mentioned in His Sermon of the Mountain: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:5” Jesus said that their reward, or their answer is just the praise that they will receive from others. But their prayers will not be answered by God.
5 – Prayer with doubt
The next prayer that God will not answer is the prayer done with doubt. If you do not believe that God can do it, or you do not believe that He promised, or you are not sure about what you are asking, chances are that you will not be heard. This is what James tells us in his letter: “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. James 1:6-8.”
6 – The prayer of the spouse who is not considerate and respectful to his/her spouse
Sometimes we think that our relationships with other people do not affect our relationship with God. We could not be more wrong. Every relationship will in some way affect our relationship with God. In this text we have Peter addressing the husbands. In that culture the husbands had all the authority, but Peter is saying that for the Christian husband the way he treat his wife will affect his prayers. Here it is the text: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1Peter 3:7.” We can apply that to our family relationships, wives and husbands, parents and children. If we are not considerate, or do not treat them with respect, chances are that our prayers will not be answered.
7 – Prayer with wrong motives
Finally, we have a prayer with wrong motives. We already saw that our prayers were supposed to bring glory to God. Unfortunately, sometimes we ask things that will bring glory to ourselves, or will bring pleasure to ourselves. This is what James said in his letter: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:3-4.” This kind of prayer will not be answered by God. He already told us many times that He will not give His glory to another. So every time that you pray check your motivations and see if they are aligned with God’s Word.
There are many other prayers that God will not answer. Maybe in the future I will return to this theme. These prayers are just an illustration that there are rules for the prayer life. God will not answer all the prayers just because they sound good, are long, or are pretty. God will answer the prayers that He promised; He will not answer the prayers that ignore His will. Because of that, when your prayer is not answered check this list and see if they fit into one of these.
Have a blessed week,