A tract is entitled "Why Doesn't God Hear My Prayers?" Often this may be the very question someone asks. At times it may be that God has neither heard nor answered the prayer. Friends, sin hinders prayer (John 9:31; Isaiah 59;1,2). If I am living in rebellion to God, I should not expect the prayer to be answered. Solomon said, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination" (Proverbs 28:9). But God does hear and answer the prayers of his children. "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us" (I John 5:14). But how does God answer our prayer?
1. Sometimes God answers NO. Contrary to the sure-fire instant "blank check" prayer formula some religionists promote, sometimes God answers no - even to His faithful children. Paul was beset with a "thorn in the flesh". Three times he "besought" (begged or pleaded) to be relieved of the "thorn in the flesh". God's answer? "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words God told Paul "no" but Paul was promised God's help. Another illustration of a prayer answered "no" is that of Jesus himself in the garden of Gethsemene. Jesus prayed "let this cup pass," yet, it was not possible that the "cup pass". (Matthew 26:40).
2. Sometimes God answers YES. In Acts 12 the church was praying for Peter's release from prison. He was released. Paul declared that the Corinthian's prayers had helped him (2 Corinthians 1:9). "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (I John 3:22).
3. Sometimes God answers WAIT AWHILE. Paul told the Roman brethren that he had often planned to come to them and had prayed to that end (Romans 1:9-13). God answered his prayer, but only when the time was right, and then only in his own way.
Yes God answers prayers. It may be no, yes, or wait awhile. Others have expressed this as "no, go, slow". Let us pray. Let us pray with confidence. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).