Why Our Prayers Are Unanswered – Radio Classic – Dr. Charles Stanley – How To Talk To God Vol 2 Pt 1

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Why Our Prayers Are Unanswered – Radio Classic – Dr. Charles Stanley – How To Talk To God Vol 2 Pt 1

Ever felt like your prayers were falling flat, never actually reaching God? If God is the good Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children (see Matt. 7:11), then why does it feel like He isn’t even listening sometimes?

In this message, Dr. Stanley reveals what’s going on behind the scenes. And while we won’t ever see the full picture this side of heaven, we can trust that God always hears His children and is faithfully conforming us to the image of His Son.

This message is Part 1 of the series: How to Talk With God – Volume 2

With a message from god’s word, here’s Charles Stanley.
Could you turn please to 1st Peter chapter 3?
I want us to read verses 1 through 7, and the title of this message, why?
Our prayers are not answered. In this particular passage, which really begins to deal with the wife and husband relationship, the lord says through Peter, He gives us an indication of one of the reasons that our prayers uh go lacking and are hindered and the answers we’re looking forward to not come.
So beginning in 1st Peter chapter 3 verse 1, Likewise, she wives being subjection to your own husbands that if any obey not the word, they also may, without the word, be won by the conversation of the wife.
Means the wife’s not the winner, husband, necessarily, by talking.
While they behold your Chase conversation, couple with fear, who’s adorning, let it not be that out what adorning of plating the hair and of wearing of gold and of putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of god of great price.
For after this manner, in the old time, the holy women also who trusted in god adorned themselves, being in subjection under their own husbands, Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him lord whose daughters you are as long as you do dwell and are afraid within the amazement.
Now listen, likewise, ye husbands dwell with them according that is with your wife according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife as under the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life In all of that, your prayers be not hindered.
Now the word hindered here means to break up, to cut into, or put an obstacle in the road.
So what Peter is saying is this.
One of the reasons for our prayers going unanswered is in the home life, their relationships that are not right, and he says that’s like cutting that electrical cord right into.
He says it’s like putting up an obstacle in the road.
He says it’s like breaking up the road so that you cannot travel smoothly. It is a hindrance.
It is an obstacle to answer prayer.
Now, if god answered all of our prayers, we would be in trouble.
If he answered all of our prayers, we wouldn’t have to be concerned about the fact that he does not.
What I’d like to do to give you 2 lists of things that you and I need to consider as to why our prayers go unanswered.
Now we said on one occasion that god does answer all of our prayers. He’s yes, no, and wait.
And that is true. But I want us to look at the reasons we do not see the desires of our heart come to pass in the area of answered prayer and all of us have prayed at times, and god did not do what we ask him to do.
Now you can say anything you wanna say about it. But the real truth comes down.
Lord, you didn’t do what I told you to do. That’s really sort of what we feel about it.
So I want us to deal with some very practical things And the first area here is this.
Why god does not answer our prayers?
That is the peer to answer our prayers when everything between us and god’s right, and I think there are 2 different aspects of it.
Sometimes there’s a reason we don’t have our prayers answered and the problem is with us and, uh, sin in our heart or whatever it might be, but there is a reason or given reasons why Our prayers don’t come to pass as we desire them.
And there’s another cause for that. So I wanna give you this first section here.
When everything is right between you and god, cry then, even then, are our prayers not answered the way we want to see them answer?
The first reason is this. God wants us to want him more than he wants us to want objects of our affectionary desires.
For example, When you and I come to god in prayer, he doesn’t want us asking him for something over here, whereby now watch it to watch it is.
Whereby he gets a loss in the whole deal, and the only thing that matters is that our object, our mind is consumed with a thing or the desire in our heart.
And you must see this from the very beginning because here’s a basic problem and most people’s frame.
A primary reason, our prayers not answered, has to deal with our attitude toward him.
And all the other things I’m gonna talk about will come back to One of the reasons the prayer answer is withheld is because we don’t want him.
We want what he has to god has ordained that we want him.
He’s loved us, and he says he predestinated us according to his will, He predestinated us to do what, to be conformed to his likeness.
If he’s in the process of conforming us to his likeness, He is not interested in granting us desires of our heart, but we wanna look around him on this side and under him over here and over here, We don’t want him.
We want what he has to offer.
God isn’t interested in answering your prayers and mine to the neglect of, or the very idea of looking around him and ignoring him to get what he wants his dad.
So one of the reasons that is when our heart is right as best we know One of the reasons he withholds the prayers is because he wants to refocus our attention upon himself.
The second thing is the teachers to trust him.
When your heart is right, everything is right, and god steal doesn’t per come forth with the answer.
What is the reason? If god gave you everything you wanted, just every time you want it, what would happen before long?
We would take him for granted a point.
We just say, lord, you know, what I want because I I’ve I’ve asked for it the other day or what would really happen is this.
We would we would miss out on one of god’s greatest blessings.
Now listen, What does he withhold the answer when your heart is right and you know it’s god’s rule of your heaven, what does he withhold it?
Because, listen, He wants the teachers to trust him.
If he gives you everything you want, the moments you wanted, that’s not trusting god.
But are you willing to believe that god is going to keep his word when there’s no evidence.
When it seems as if the heavens of brass, as he says, and the earth is like iron, And god says, I will supply your need, and you do have a need.
And you say, lord, but the need isn’t coming. So what are you gonna do?
You’re gonna say, there’s no point in praying because after all, I’ve for a whole week, and god hasn’t supplied my need.
But you see, if we listen, if you and I are trusting god, we are trust thing in what god says in his word.
So what does he do? Sometimes he withholds the answer in order to do what?
To teachers, to trust, to believe what he said because he said it, whether we have any evidence or not.
Now why does god do that?
Is it because he wants to toy around or tease us with answers or withholding the blessing? No.
He uses the withholding of the answer in one area like he does in giving, for example, in giving, that’s a means of teaching us to trust him, withholding the answer and teaching us to persist to keep our focus upon him not to go by our feelings.
Not gonna look around and see, well, god, you’re not doing anything.
But to look to him and believe him on the basis of what he said.
If we’re able to do that in a given area of answered prayer, then other times, when god wants the wants the teachers to trust him, what are we doing in learning to give and learning to trust him and to keep holding on when there seems to be no answer, what are we doing that we are building our faith?
God is building a foundation of faith in us so that he can teach us to look to him and believe him and trust him for longer periods of time when longer periods of time are necessary for god to work into our life those essentials, the get us ready brands in prayer, which brings me to the 3rd reason.
One of the reasons he withholds the answers because He is in the process of preparing us.
For example, many of you single gals and fellows, you’ve been praying since you have fifteen, eighteen years of age, the lord has sent you a marriage partner He still has none at you 25.
You’re saying my goodness, what is god waiting for? I’ll tell you one reason he’s probably waiting.
He’s probably waiting to get you ready to get mad. You said, I’ve been ready since I was 21.
That’s your opinion, but not necessarily his.
And oftentimes, I’ve discovered the things that I had prayed for if god had given them when I asked for them, it would have been too soon in my life.
Listen, There’s some things it is the will of god for us to have, but sometimes we want it before the time.
For example, your son or your daughter may want Let’s take a son, for example.
Every kid wants a every son wants a pocket knife and a flashlight.
And you don’t mind giving him a flashlight, but the pocket knife He’s gotta grow up a little bit until you think he’s able to handle it.
There are some blessings god wants you to have. It’s in his will for you to have them.
He’s waiting for you spiritually to be able to handle the blessings.
So one of the reasons you pray and does not come is because he’s waiting to get you ready.
Then a fourth reason, one of my most favorite reasons for god withholding the blessing is this.
He withholds what you and I require in order to give us something better than we ask for.
More than you deserve, more than you ask for, more than you expect.
One of the most beautiful examples of that is labs.
Suppose when Mary and Martha had called up to Jesus and said Lazarus is sickened to death.
Please come and heal him. The lord ignored him. He he didn’t go. He waited till Lazarus died.
Now you answer this. Was it a greater blessing to have a disease heal or to be raised right out of the grave.
And you see what it first seemed to be an awful, awful, experience of death for Mary and Martha turned out to be a glorious experience far greater watching their brother come out of that grave, out of death, unrobe him of the grave clothes, and then again, once again, he is healthy and strong and back at home.
A greater blessing that they had asked for us.
So these four things oftentimes are reasons that god withholds the blessing when it’s not the condition of your heart, it is god who has something greater in mind.
Now it’d be great if you and I could say They’re the only four reasons that god doesn’t answer our prayer, but I wanna give you 7 more right quickly.
Alright? Get your pencil out. Because these are the things you and I have to deal with.
And the first one we just noticed here in 1st Peter chapter 3, he says that a man or woman’s prayers are hindered when their home relationships are not right.
Now you think about this for a moment.
How in the world can you have fellowship with a loving heavenly father who is forgiving you and gracious to you.
And at the same time, you’re saying to your husband and wife, would you get off my back?
When you’re building up resentment and indifference when a son or a daughter having conflict with her parents and the parents conflict with her sons and daughters, and their family, heartaches, and family problems, and resentment, and bitterness, and indifference and in gratitude and selfishness and caustic words and conversation of blaming all of these things going on.
And then you after you go through all that you get on your knees, you say, oh heaven, the father.
I wanna tell you he says your prayers are because you see, we can’t be having constant conflict on a horizontal level and expect god to answer our prayers.
He says he’s not gonna do it. Do you see?
The reason here that we think he will is because we don’t understand the nature and the character of god.
What did he say? He said, I have predestinated you to be what shaped and conform the likeness of his son, Jesus Christ.
The reason god will not answer our prayers when things are not right in our heart.
If he did, his answered prayer when things are not right would be his way, of condoning our disobedience.
He’s not gonna condone disobedience. He hates disobedience.
Loves the believer whose disobedience but he hates the disobedience because he knows that disobedience is destroying god’s wonderful, super, super beautiful purpose for all of our lives.
So what does he do? He just closes the door of heaven and locks it up until we get our family situation right now.
Somebody says, well, but I’ve had set family situations for a long, long time, and god’s answered my prayers.
No. He hasn’t. You say I know he has. No. You don’t.
You say I’m sure he has, you can’t prove it in the Bible. You see, here’s the thing we forget.
Other people are praying for us. Number 1, god answers their presence.
Secondly, It may be that god’s just having mercy on the other members of your family, and he’s doing for them, but it certainly isn’t because you have prayed for the simple reason.
He says if I regard inequate in my heart, he’ll not hear me.
That is if I purpose it in my heart, if I aim to do sin, If I know it’s in my heart and I keep hammering away it, he says god’s not gonna answer it.
You can’t go home on Sunday and say to your Listen. Why did you burn the chicken?
After all, we were late to go to churches went on and on and on on you go and giving her a hard time right in front of the kids, and then you say, heaven, I thought you’d bless this meal.
Here to say that is hypocrisy in god’s eyes. And you see, we fall into habits of doing things.
And listen, you know what god says?
He says, uh, he says, He makes the heavens like brass and the earth like iron, which is his way of saying in deuteronomy, I’m not listening to what you say.
One of the reasons of churches so weak is there’s so much prayerlessness, and what I mean by that, I don’t mean that folks aren’t talking.
I mean, god’s not listening. That’s why it’s very important that when there are difficulties and heartaches in the home, confessing each of the right dividends.
So, honey, I’m sorry. I not a question who’s right, but I want you to forgive me and apologize and then pray because you pray that you’re sick and I’m gonna do one bit of good according to the word of If I regard a Nick within my heart, resentment bitterness, ugly attitudes, and ungrateful, ungrateful spirit, he says, I’m not gonna hear you.
And you see, we’re the ones who think we can parade around before a Holy god with all this junk in our heart and think god’s gonna hear everything we’re saying because we’re who we are.
God isn’t impressed by that at all. He’s not gonna answer our prayers.
Second thing that you and I have to deal with is just that an unforgiving spirit, look if you will in mat in Matthew 6, and let me show you why that’s true.
In Matthew 6, uh, verse 14, look there for a minute, if you will.
He says now when, uh, he says, if you forgive me, that trespass is your heavenly father will also forgive you, He says, but if you forgive not me in their trespasses, neither of your father forgive your trespasses, here’s what he’s saying.
He’s saying, if you have an unforgiving spirit toward anybody, let me explain what an unforgiving spirit is because I’ve heard people say, well, I have forgiven him.
Let me tell you something. Let me give you a little clue here.
If you say you’re forgiven and use either of these two words, you haven’t forgiven.
If you use but If you say, but I I’ve forgiven you, but forget it.
If you say I have forgiven you if cancel it out, For the simple reason, I can’t carry this in my heart against you and expect god to hear me.
Why? Let’s go back to what I said in the very beginning.
What did he say he predestinated us to do? Have big prayers answered?
He predestinate us to be shaped into his life? Us. What does he got to do?
He’s got to crush that in order to shape us into his likeness, and I’m not gonna be able to walk around with a big chunk of unforgiveness.
Harboring in my heart, resent my tone in the body with a critical spirit always criticizing them and expect god answer my prayers.
The third reason. And that is wrong motives.
If you’ll don’t notice in James, turn that for just a moment.
In James chapter 4, He puts it this way in verse 3.
He says you ask and receive not because you ask a miss, that is you ask an error.
That you may consume it upon your lust. That is your motive is selfish.
Not to glorify god, James 43, not to glorify god. And somebody says, now wait a minute, preach.
Don’t don’t give me this glorified god business because I don’t understand what that means.
Well, let me explain to you in essence.
When it comes to praying, what do we mean by asking god for something and in a means by which he can be glorified?
And this is what I mean by that because there’s some things you and I ask for that we don’t need.
We just like to have it and god wants us to heaven because we’re his children, and he says he loves us.
He’s delights to answer our prayer. Uh, you say, alright.
Now I happen to be asking to I don’t need and it’s legitimate.
I believe god wants me to have it, but how can I glorify god in this manner?
Number 1, you can have you can have a grateful spirit toward god, a spirit of gratitude and a thanksgiving, and you can praise him and press your gratitude to him that that he gave it to you, not because you deserve it, but because he loves you.
And you are recognizing his love and praising him and honoring him and you’re committing yourself to be a good steward to whatever that is he gave you or whatever opportunity came your way, you committing yourself to be a good steward to him.
What do you do? You’re glorifying him because you’re gonna use that or take advantage of that experience in a way that will do what?
That will prove your gratitude and your good stewardship over whatever god sends your way.
And when we want something, listen, when we want something in our motivation itself is here’s what we do.
We said, Lord, this is what I want. And you see, it all goes back to the same old thing.
When I ignore him, which simply means that all prayer ought to be what centered. God centered.
So when you and I come to pray before we ever ask for anything, we wanna be talking to him about himself and praising him and thanking him and acknowledging him and committing ourselves to him, All prayer ought to be god centered and nothing centered.
The things are over here. The requests are over here.
But our heart and life ought to be god centered.
And one of the best checks on your prayer life is after you begin your prayer about 30 seconds, stuff and ask yourself, now how did I start this to begin with?
Did I start off praising the lord in thanking him and honoring him and just expressing my gratitude to him, or did I jump into this thing and said, lord, I wanna send a quick order straight through and I wanna bypass in a red tape.
Red tape being lord, I wanna take the time just to tell you that I just love you and am grateful to you for all that you’re doing for me every day.
You know what our problem is?
We make simple little mistakes in praying that it never, never even dawns on us that are loving, holy righteous, wonderful god.
And I wanna say he’s excited about answering our prayers, and we short circuit him time after time.
Now the reason they don’t get answered is because not that we don’t have faith.
All of us have some faith, but we have wavering faith.
Look if you will back in James for a moment. First chapter, remember what he says?
Beginning in verse 5, he says, if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of god who gives all men liberally and abrade upon it, and it should be given to him.
But notice what he says after that. He says, but let him ask him what? Verse 6.
Let him ask in faith. Nothing wavering, but he that wavered is like the waves of the sea, driven by the winds and toss.
And then I want you to notice the next verse because it is so firm.
Let not that man who has wavering faith. Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t. Yes. He will. No. He won’t.
Let not that man think that he shall receive what? Anything from god. Now let’s know what he says.
He says if you and I begin to pray and ask the lord to meet one of our needs and desires of our heart and we make the terrible mistake.
Watch this. The mistake is what? We go by feeling and not by faith.
I know god says he will, but I don’t quite feel that way. I don’t see anything happening.
When I look around, I just feel like, oh, I must have done something wrong.
When I look at the word of god, that’s what god says. I know that’s what he wants to do.
But here I am. So I’m believing the word today, and I’m watching that feelings tomorrow.
Believing the word today and watching that feelings tomorrow. That is wavering.
He says, not any man who’s wavering in his faith. He didn’t say it in heaven’s faith.
He says your faith’s wavering. You’re weakening. You see, you don’t see anything going on.
Looks like god’s hitting the silent treatment. He doesn’t say anything. You don’t see anything happening.
You say, oh, lord, if you answer my prayer, why don’t I see anything?
Because ought to be looking what not in what’s happening, but ought to be looking at him and at his word.
And you see, This book keeps your faith anchored, and it matters not what kind of storm may come your way when you’re asking the lord to meet some need in your life, And your circumstances don’t look like god’s doing anything.
You keep looking at the book. He wants our praying to be god centered.
Christ in it, spirits in it, not things, circumstance, trouble, trial, heartache pain, suffering center.
He wants it to be god centered.
And you see, the problem is we get off on something else in it, and that becomes the object.
For example, let’s say that you’re in pain and you’re suffering. Is it not normal natural thing? Oh, god.
I’m hurt so bad, lord, if you just knew how bad eyes hurting.
And, oh, lord, oh, lord, oh, lord, oh, lord, you tell him all about you’re not thinking about him.
Now I understand that I’ve been there. Just like you have.
What I’m saying is the mistakes we make are so subtle. They’re right beneath the surface.
You think, but, man, if you’re hurting, you wanna pray, that’s right.
But you see, somehow when the mind and the heart and the spirit get god centered, something happens.
And until it does, you to threaten, painting, and mourning, and groaning, and having a difficult time wavering faith.
All of us have faith. When you say, well, if I just had his faith, I could get presented, not necessarily.
You don’t need his faith. You have your own faith.
And the way you build your faith is not looking at somebody else.
The way you build your faith is getting in the word, looking at god, making your request, trusting him, and keep on looking to him regardless of the circumstances all about you.
Alright? The next reason, one of the reasons that we have prayers that left unanswered is because we’re stingy.
Now I hate to put it in those terms, but look if you will in proverbs 21 for a moment, and that’s just the word he uses.
So I figured if he uses it, that’s good enough for us.
Proverbs chapter 21 and, uh, verse 13. Listen to what he says.
Who’s so stopping his ears at the cry of the poor He also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
Think about that for a moment. When that man cries, the Bible he’ll not be heard.
Now think about this for a moment.
How could you and I, listening to somebody else have needs to know, not interested?
And turn a deaf ear absolutely totally in there. Don’t wanna hear.
And then we turn around and say, now, heavenly father, you know my need.
And you see how absolutely contradicted that is to the whole Christian life.
We can’t turn a dip here to someone who’s in need because we don’t have time.
We don’t wanna be bothered or, uh, too selfish, and then we wanna say to our lord, you know, all that I need.
Would you just pour out your blessings upon me? It won’t work, friend. Let me tell you something.
If you’re one of those struggling people today and you keep on struggling with whether you give a tab I wanna tell you something.
I want you to think about this with all of your heart and out of love. I tell you.
How in the world can you come to god and ask him to give you anything when you’ve got his 10% in your back pocket.
You you’ve got last week’s tie, unless you’ve already spent it, you’ve got last week’s tie in your pocket book, because you couldn’t trust god with listen.
1 of the low copper Abraham Lincoln Penny. 1 of the penny out of a dime.
You couldn’t trust him with it. One of those dime out of a dollar.
1 of those dollar out of $10 bill. You can’t trust him with it.
You’re gonna come and say, oh, god.
You know my needs, and I know that you can supply my needs, and I’m just trusting you for that, no, you are not.
You see, that is hypocrisy.
A man who says I’m trusting god to meet my needs, and he won’t trust god. Listen.
He’s not you’re not trusting the church. You’re trusting god.
So when I give my money, which belongs to god to the to the lord Jesus Christ through the fellowship, I have to trust him to take care of that.
You see, when you and I giving, we’re giving it to the lord god almighty.
Doesn’t mean we’re not gonna have any problem?
Listen, we want enough problems to give god the privilege to show us he’s still in business with us.
Somebody says, I don’t want any problems.
Well, you’ll have to wait till you either die or get ratcheted 1 of the 2 because you’re gonna have them, but you see you don’t wanna lie without testings and problems.
These are god’s opportunities to to prove himself.
But if you and I sting you and tight with god’s money, I wanna tell you, he says, when this fellow is in need and the world is in need and there is a need to be met and you turn a death in and say, I can’t afford it.
I don’t wanna do it. I don’t believe in it. I can’t support that.
He says that when you cry, you’re gonna get brass, heavens, and iron earth.
This is gonna ricochet from back and forth, but you’re not gonna get your prayers.
Then he says the problem of of an indifference to god’s word.
Look, if you will, in Proverbs chapter 28, and this little verse right here may have slip through somebody else’s mind and heart.
You may never thought about this.
That being indifferent to the word of god indifference, uh, chapter 28 and, uh, verse 9 of that chapter.
He says he that turned it the way his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination.
You know what he say?
He says my friend, when you live, well, listen, watch this, when you live with a closed book, you also live with a closed heaven.
God is not gonna answer the prayers of people who live with a closed book.
He says if we turn away from the book, god will not hear and answer our prayers.
So that’s why I believe that god’s people ought to be in the book.
And sometimes you’re gonna read things you don’t understand, and sometimes you’re gonna be in such a big hurry.
You say, what difference does it make? If I read it, I wouldn’t understand it.
If I read it, I have to read it in such a big hurry that I just can’t I can’t get anything out of it.
I’ll tell you something I’ve learned.
It’s best to read it, even if you only have will come for one verse, even if it’s just a little something to keep in touch with the word of god.
There’s something supernatural about that.
The 7th and last reason, the one that you probably would suspect above all the rest, that is unconfessed sin.
Unconfessed sin short circuits that he says if I regard a negligence in my heart, he’d not hear me.
That is if I aim to do it in Isaiah chapter 59. Look there for just a moment, please.
Isaiah 59. And I want you to notice how he states this.
He says the lord’s hand verse 1 is not shortened. Listen, the lord’s hand is not shortened.
His ears are not heavy that he cannot hear. Your iniquities have separated between you and your god.
Your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear.
Not that he cannot hear, he will not hear.
If I have unconfessed, unrepented of sin that I refuse to give up, listen, watch this, If I’ve got something in my life that I’m not willing to give up, I wanna show you something.
God’s not gonna put a spiritual crowbar into your life and opened it up. You know what he’s gonna do?
He’s just gonna wait. And you can pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and god’s still watching you.
And as long as you’ve got it, he’s not gonna sir.
What happens is he has to watch you voluntarily open your own heart and give him what you ought not have in your life in the first place.
And the moment you want to take that, Open it up to him. What does he do?
He takes that out of your life. And what does he do?
He always gives you something super great, much better than you had before.
Friend, if you go into pray, you don’t want to waste your time talking to god who’s not listening.
I want to ask you one last question quick What is there in your life?
Worth more to you than a relationship with god who will provide you everything you’ll ever need whenever you need it the desires of your heart according to his will.
What do you hold on to when you possess more valuable than that?
Father, we take so many things for granted. We become so careless in our life.
We tend to treat you like we treat each other. Like others may treat us.
We rationalize so many things. We excused so many things.
When you’ve given us very clear indication the word that you love us more than any preaching could ever express.
That you just love to answer our prayers, but you will not violate your own laws to give us something that will end up being a debt it to us if you give it to us when we’re living in sin.
I thank you this morning for loving us and for forgiving us of our sins and pray today in Jesus name.
That each one of us may be honest enough to check out our prayer life by those 2 lists to see.
Why is it? When I pray, the heavens seem to be like brass and the earth like iron.
And this I ask in Jesus name and for his sake.

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