Our prayer life and our spiritual health are in direct correlation to each other. Anything worth worrying about is worth praying about. This means when you don’t know what to do, you should pray and even when you do know what to do, you still should pray. So what happens and what do we do when we don’t get a response or the response we get is not the one we are looking for?
There are numerous factors that cause our prayers to be effective or ineffective, so I’m just going to highlight some of the big ones. To start, one must be a follower of Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” What this means is that, until you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have no mediator between yourself and God. Jesus is our mediator and He represents us to the Father so that when we pray “in His name” Jesus takes our prayers to the Father personally.
One of the most common reasons prayers are not answered is because we never make the time to actually ask. James 4:2 tells us, “You do not have because you do not ask.” This does not mean that whatever we ask for will be given to us, but when we do ask for something; we must believe and have faith that God can and actually will do what we ask while understanding that it will happen in His perfect timing and according to His perfect plan. Matthew 7:7 instructs us to, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Frequently, Jesus would seclude Himself while He prayed in private and He always prayed for things according to His Father’s will. One should always follow Christ’s example, but in Matthew 18:19 we read a mighty promise, “If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered in my name, I am there is their midst.”
Our faith and our prayers release God’s omnipotent power so that either when He knows it is the perfect time or when enough prayer has been lifted up to get the job done, He acts. Let me explain the last part of this statement. Victory goes to the persistent, committed, and determined, so what we must understand is that we have the same power in us that created the world; we simply must release that power in our prayers. As we do, our prayers accumulate as Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3-5 indicate. These passages refer to bowls in heaven where our prayers are housed until the perfect time for God’s plan to be revealed. If you are a visual person like me, picture that bowl getting fuller every time you pray until it overflows. I encourage you to pour yourself into your prayers, pray without ceasing until those bowls of unanswered prayers overflow with God’s infinite power, greatness, mercy, abundance, and goodness. As followers of Christ, God hears your prayers because Jesus goes to the Father with our petitions. He says, “Father, I know this child of God personally. Please Father, according to Your will and Your timing; please give them the desires of their heart.”