Prayer on the Move. Day two...
Wouldn't it be great if God would hear all of our prayers and answer them? That would make Him the ultimate vending machine… and us the ultimate mess.
In bitter divorce cases wouldn't both parties be dead if God answered each of their prayers? Wouldn't the U.S. have a tremendous shortage of workers, if God answered the prayers of the workforce about their jobs? And if God answered the voters' prayers (at least mine) about government, wouldn't most of the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. be looking for employment in the private sector?
And then we wonder why God doesn't seem to hear our prayers.
I remember a time, many years ago, when I left the production area of my furniture factory in total frustration and anger (because a bunch of my employees had messed up, and cost me a bunch of money I didn't have). I went into my office, closing the door behind me, and yelled out, “God, would You just kill all these people and send them to hell?” It wasn't but just a few days later however, when I made a huge mistake of my own, costing me much more than the mistake of my employees.
Thank God that He doesn't seem to hear all of our prayers—or at least answer all of them.
But let's take a look at the serious side of this subject. Does God ever refuse to hear our prayers? The Bible seems to say so.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me…. (Psalm 66:18 Amp Bible)
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. (Isaiah 1:15 ESV)
Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 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. (Isaiah 59:1–2 ESV)
There are other Old Testament passages, as well, which indicate that God closed His ears to certain people.
So, does God truly turn a deaf ear to some of us, or to some of our prayers? The answer was “Yes,” but is now “No.”
Under the old covenant, the Israelites had priests to make intercession for them when they screwed up. But before the old covenant was made God dealt directly with the people (and sometimes during old covenant times).
There are many accounts in the Old Testament when God wiped out large numbers of men, women, and children in dealing with disobedience. The flood is one such account. And don't you think there were a lot of people praying when the water was up to their chins? But God wasn't listening.
While it is good to understand the workings of the old covenant, we no longer live under that covenant. We live under a new covenant, and His name is Jesus. He changed everything.
So I don't like the question “Why doesn't God hear my prayers?” for two reasons: First of all, it's no longer a legitimate question. And secondly, this question kills conversation with God.
It's not a legitimate question, because God does hear our prayers. He may not answer, for reasons we'll get into later, but He does hear.
I only know of only one passage in the New Testament, possibly suggesting that God turns a deaf ear toward certain people:
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 NLT)
“Hindered” as used in this verse means “to cut off or cut out, i.e. cut off the occasion,” which could be interpreted as God not hearing the prayers of a husband living in strife with his wife.
But I don't think God is doing the “cutting off.” It's more like the husband is “cutting off his nose to spite his own face.” A husband, who doesn't have a clue about effectively communicating with his own wife in the most intimate of human relationships, simply cannot have a clue about communicating with God on an even more intimate level.
No… God hears all prayers. After all, He is drawing all people unto Himself (see John 12:32). And if He is drawing everyone (and that means everyone) to Himself, He logically has to be aware of all people and where they are in seeking Him. Whether flippant, serious, or just curious… He hears all our prayers. He does not always answer them but He hears them.
The second reason I don't like the question “Why doesn't God hear my prayers?” is because it kills conversation. If I don't think He is listening then I'm going to quit talking.
There's a big difference between talking to someone who refuses to listen, and talking to someone who wants to listen but can't. If I am speaking to someone who refuses to listen, then what is the point of trying to stay with the conversation? That person is not going to hear anything I say, no matter how I say it. If however, I am speaking to someone who I know wants to listen but for some reason can't, then I have an opportunity to stay with the conversation and adjust what I'm trying to say in a different way, so he or she can understand me.
When you speak to Him, please understand that God hears you every time. It's not that He refuses to hear you; He just may not be able to respond because you are asking for something that is destructive toward you or toward someone else.
So if you're not hearing from God, please know that He is hearing from you. Don't lose hope. Stay with the conversation.
Have a good day,