When Prayer Seems Unanswered

Luke 1:5

Adrian Rogers

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: Luke 1:5

There is no substitute for prayer; it is to our spiritual life what breath is to our bodies. But sometimes, we find ourselves perplexed, because it feels our prayers are unanswered. Oftentimes, our unanswered prayers are due to our unoffered prayers. But when we sincerely pray, we can expect God to answer one of four ways.

Sometimes, God denies our request: He simply says no.

Perhaps our prayers are self-centered rather than God-centered. We could be asking God to underwrite our worldliness. We are to pray in Jesus’ name, in the will of God. If the answer is no, we must check our motives, to see if they are pure, if we are earnestly seeking His will.

Adrian Rogers says, “Prayer is not bending God’s will to fit our will; prayer is finding the will of God and getting in on it.”

Second, the answer to our prayers may be strategically delayed.

In Luke 1, Zacharias and Elisabeth had been praying for a child for many years. When hope seemed lost and their childbearing years were past, God told them they would have a son.

God always answers prayer in a way that will give Him the greatest glory. As we see in the stories of Daniel, Lazarus, and of Abraham and Sarah, He moves into impossible situations to work in miraculous ways.

He also delays in order to dispense His grace; the child He gave to Zacharias and Elisabeth was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, who came in the fullness of time. By waiting to bless them, He allowed their family to be a part of a greater story.

Sometimes, answers to prayer may be significantly different than we expect.

We may ask God for one thing and He gives us something else. If God doesn’t give us what we ask, He will give us something better and sweeter than what we asked, if we ask in the name of Jesus. Looking back, we may be thankful that we didn’t get what we prayed for.

Finally, God’s answers may be direct.

How wonderful is our Heavenly Father, who delights in providing for His children!

Apply it to your life

If your prayer seems unanswered, check your heart and your motives: are you praying for the glory of God? If so, keep praying; don’t stop until you have the answer in your hand or in your heart, or until God has told you no.