"Unanswered Prayers" by Nathan Pratykysh

The following text was written by a friend of mine on Facebook; a fellow Christian Apologist and brother in Christ; Nathan Pratyksh. Written in the Facebook group known as "Saved By Grace Through Faith". The topic is possible reasons why God answers some prayers while He refuses to answer other prayers. He has agreed to allow me to share this with you on my blog. :-)

Nathan Pratkysh's Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/pratyksh13?ref=ts&fref=ts
@AliveThrouFaith: https://twitter.com/AliveThrouFaith


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"Unanswered Prayers" by Nathan Pratykysh 
There can be few reasons:
1. Sin in our lives.
Confess and repent!
The psalmist wrote, "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened" (Ps. 66:18). Not that God is unable to hear, for He is omniscient, but that He maintains His distance when we allow sin to be a wall between us.
Major disobedience sets us up for long-term unanswered prayer: When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day." (l Sam. 8:18)
A loving God is in control!

2. To say yes would bring us harm we don't foresee.
B.M. Palmer in Theology of Prayer, tells of a woman who had spent the summer away from her children, and was quite anxious to get back to them. When she learned that all the rooms on a certain steamer were taken, she wept bitterly. Because she couldn't get a passage on any other ship, she was detained two weeks in NYC. But the sorrow of being delayed was turned into thanksgiving when, within a few days, she learned that the vessel that denied her passage was buried at the bottom of the Atlantic. She didn't see the "no" as a wonderful answer to prayer until the whole story unfolded.
A loving God is in control!

3. God has something far greater in store for us.
Mary and Martha wanted Jesus to heal Lazarus, but He had resurrection in mind.
We ask for health, but often sickness and suffering or something less than wealth is the best way to produce holiness and maturity in us. Our premature daughter Becky, who only lived nine days: God's plan was our growth plus full lives—taking care of her would have severely restricted us. Plus 2 active boys!
A loving God is in control!

4. We pray at cross purposes with other believers.
• Two Christians on opposing teams, praying for their team to win.
• Two Christians applying for the same job or to get their child in the same preschool spot.
God has to say "no" to one to say "yes" to the other.
A loving God is in control!

5. We pray for things where a "yes" is impossible.
• That a child be found alive when they've been murdered.
• We pray for lost things that are not found.
A carpenter was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to an orphanage in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone. He remembered putting them there that morning, so he drove back to the church. His search proved fruitless. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what happened. The glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at its height, and the man had six children. He had spent twenty dollars for those glasses that very morning. "It's not fair," he told God as he drove home in frustration. "I've been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this." Several months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday night at this small church in Chicago. The carpenter and his family sat in their customary seats among the sparse congregation. The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage. "But most of all," he said, "I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate."

"Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top."
The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued: "Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom-made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that." The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.
A loving God is in control!

6. We pray for things that are already determined.
• Praying for a boy or girl that's already been conceived.
• Praying for the salvation of someone who's already dead.
A loving God is in control!

7. We get discouraged in prayer by thinking God has said no when in fact He's said nothing at all.
"Wait" is an answer. Delay is not denial.
God often delays His answer to cultivate patience and persistence, and build our faith.
Or to bring our will around to conform to His own.
A loving God is in control!

8. God's "No" is not rejection, but redirection
Close a door—open a window? No!
God's "no" to one thing is a "yes" to another.
2 Sam 7 - God said "no" to David's desire to build a temple.
I asked to marry several guys in college. God said "no" to these requests so He could say "yes" in giving me Ray.
He said "No" to healing of my polio so He could say "yes" to ministering the gospel and encouragement to 15,000+ women.
A loving God is in control!

9. God's "no" isn't punishment, it's preparation
Rom 5:2a-5 - "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
God is preparing us to be His Son's bride. We will reign with Him; we must be made into a bride worthy of our position. He develops perseverance, character, and hope as we trust Him in prayer. Prayer and spiritual warfare is His means of preparing us for bridehood.
A loving God is in control!

10. God's "No" will sometimes bring greater glory to God.
Joni Eareckson Tada. (A Zondervan publishing rep: Joni is the only successful Christian writer he knows who has stayed the same person)
Focus on the Family : A pastor’s throat/voice was healed while being recorded. The tape was aired on Focus, he has now written a book.
A loving God is in control!

11. God's "No" opens the door to an adventure with God.
Elijah, 1 Kings 19. He prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors." God said "no" because He had an adventure planned for Elijah!
2 Kings 2:11, "Suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out. 'My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!' And Elisha saw him no more."
I prayed that God would keep me off a jury. He had an adventure planned: two weeks on a trial where I ended up addressing the plaintiff from the jury box, urging him to forgive the man who killed his son.
A loving God is in control!

 Here are few verses references:
James 4:3
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Matthew 21:22
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”


Matthew 7:7
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.


John 14:12-14
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.


1 John 5:14
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.


Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.


Mark 11:22-24
And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.


James 1:6
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.


Isaiah 1:15-16
When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,


Psalm 66:18
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.


Luke 18:1-43
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” ...


Mark 11:24
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.


Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.


Mark 9:23
And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”


1 John 5:15
And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.


Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.


Matthew 17:20
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”


1 John 5:14-15
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.


1 John 3:22
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.


John 15:7
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.


Matthew 7:7-11
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!


James 4:3-10
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ...


Luke 6:12
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.


Matthew 18:19
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.


Malachi 2:13-17
And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”


Jude 1:20
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,


1 Peter 3:12
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”


2 Corinthians 12:7-9
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.


Psalm 77:1-20
To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of Asaph. I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I consider the days of old, the years long ago. ...


James 5:15-16
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.


Ephesians 1:11
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,


Matthew 6:9-13
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


Proverbs 5:1-23
My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; ...


Ephesians 6:12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Luke 11:1
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
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