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What do I do if God doesn’t answer my Prayers?

09.30.14 Scriptures: Psalms 77 Topics: Prayer, The Sovereignty of God

Psalm 77 was written by Asaph who was struggling with prayer and His faith because he felt God was not answering him. Asaph wrote this psalm to display how he worked through his struggle and once again found himself confident in his Lord and his faith. If you are struggling with prayer, you may find that you relate well to this psalm. The following will give you a brief description of the Psalm and the big conclusion Asaph discovers before we make a few final points in regards to Prayer.

  • Psalm 77:1-4 Asaph wonders where God is as he struggles with his unanswered prayer. Asaph’s need for the Lord seems tremendous.
  • Psalm 77:5-6 Asaph looks over his past wondering where God could have gone, but the past offers little comfort in his present circumstance
  • Psalm 77:7-9 Asaph wonders if God will ever answer his prayer
  • Psalm 77:10 Asaph wrongly concludes that the reason God didn’t answer is because God has changed. Between verse 10-11 you find the climax of this psalm. Asaph is about to reveal what thought in prayer brought him to despair and what thought brought him the ability to take comfort in God.
  • Psalm 77:11-12 Asaph remembers an important truth about God. Even though Asaph may have thought God changed in vs 10, He knows that God does not change. The Bible gives us that promise (James 1:17, 1 Peter 5:7). Asaph builds further on the thought of an unchanging God as he continues in the psalm.
  • Psalm 77:13-15 Asaph recalls the goodness of God as Holy, Great, Redeeming and Miraculous.
  • Psalm 77:16-20 Asaph describes one of the ways he has seen God work. In fact in verse 20 he says God leads us by the hand. It is with his new perspective and approach to God that Aspaph’s attitude changes in prayer.

Conclusion on Psalm 77: When you feel despair, as Asaph did in Psalm 77, the healthy thing to do is not focus on self in your circumstance but rather start focusing on God. It is God who sustains and God who cares for you. Therefore before you start praying to God, begin by meditating on the magnitude of God. This was the turning point of Asaph between psalm 77:10-11. Don’t pray then meditate but meditate then pray. The glory of God is what provoked Asaph to move from despair to hope in the prayer he offered before his Lord.

As you consider Psalm 77 take some time to think about some of the other areas that help us in our prayer life.

If you are praying according to God’s will and He has not given a clear response, keep praying. In fact Jesus encouraged persistence of prayer through parables (See Luke 11:5-13; Luke 18:1-8). God uses continual prayer to teach us how to deepen our faith in Him rather than in ourselves.

It is healthy to take some time to evaluate the motivation behind your prayers. Do you pray according to God’s will (1st John 5:14)? Do you share the heart of God in your prayer, or are you praying a prayer just to treat God like he is your servant? Are you in sin or are you in fellowship with God? Peter tells us that sin can hinder us in our prayers (1 Peter 3:7).

Rejoice in what God is doing through your prayer even though you may not be getting the answer you want. Remember God desires to hear our prayers (Matthew 7:7-8; Heb 7:25). He may not answer them on our timing but he answers them according to His timing. Sometimes that prayer may be answered with a “no”. However, below are FIVE wonderful things that are happening through you “unanswered” prayers.

  1. God is glorified. We bring glory to God in prayer. We bring Him glory by asking Him to meet our needs (Phil. 4:6), praising Him (1 Chron. 29:11), thanking Him (Eph. 5:20), and confessing to Him (1 John 1:9). All of these prayers glorify God because we are by faith depending on Him. (John 14:13)
  2. You are connecting to God in relationship with Him. The Bible promises believers that they will always have a relationship with God. However, our relationship may not always be healthy because sin can affect it. Fortunately, 1st John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, He is faithful to forgive us.” Prayer helps us pursue a healthy relationship.
  3. God works on you as you draw near to Him. As we seek God, He moves upon our hearts to look more like Jesus (2nd Cor. 3:18). Prayer gives God your time and God can use that time to transform your life.
  4. God gets your burdens. We often worry as if life depends upon us, but God wants to carry our burdens. (Philippians 4:6; 1st Peter 5:8, 9)
  5. You are lifting up the need of others. God asks us to care for one another. Prayer provides us with an opportunity to care for the need of others. You are being faithful to the Lord and honoring to others by carrying their needs to your King. In the end Jesus wants you to be faithful. Your dedication to prayer demonstrates your faithfulness. James 5:14; Luke 10:2, Rom. 10:1-2, Col. 1:9, 4:3