Why Prayer Is Unanswered
Most Relevant Verses
[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me;
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
We know that God does not listen to sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and a worshiper of Him and does His will, He listens to him.
By offering polluted food upon My altar. And you ask, How have we polluted it and profaned You? By thinking that the table of the Lord is contemptible and may be despised. When you [priests] offer blind [animals] for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Present such a thing [a blind or lame or sick animal] now to your governor [in payment of your taxes, and see what will happen]. Will he be pleased with you? Or will he receive you graciously? says the Lord of hosts. Now then, I [Malachi] beg [you priests], entreat God [earnestly] that He will be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand [as a defective animal for sacrifice], will He accept it or show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts.
[And the Lord replied to Jeremiah] Thus says the Lord to this people [Judah]: In the manner and to the degree already pointed out have they loved to wander; they have not restrained their feet. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will now [seriously] remember their iniquity and punish them for their sins.
Because I have called and you have refused [to answer], have stretched out my hand and no man has heeded it, And you treated as nothing all my counsel and would accept none of my reproof,
But they refused to listen and turned a rebellious and stubborn shoulder and made heavy and dull their ears that they might not hear. Yes, they made their hearts as an adamant stone or diamond point, lest they should hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore there came great wrath from the Lord of hosts. So it came to pass that as He cried and they would not hear [He said], So they shall cry and I will not answer, says the Lord of hosts,
Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor will cry out himself and not be heard.
And when you spread forth your hands [in prayer, imploring help], I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood!
Therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, I am bringing evil and calamity upon them which they will not be able to escape; though they cry to Me, I will not listen to them. Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they offer incense, but they cannot save them at all in the time of their evil trouble. For [as many as] the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah; and [as many as] the number of the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, even altars to burn incense to Baal.read more.
Therefore do not pray for this people or lift up a cry or prayer for them, for I will not listen when they cry out to Me in the time of their evil trouble.
Then said [the Spirit] to me, Have you seen this, O son of man? Yet again you shall see greater abominations that they are committing. And He brought me to the inner court of the Lord's house; and behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the bronze altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they were bowing themselves toward the east and worshiping the sun. Then [the Spirit] said to me, Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it too slight a thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here, that they must fill the land with violence and turn back afresh to provoke Me to anger? And behold, they put the branch to their nose [actually, before their mouths, in superstitious worship]!read more.
Therefore I will deal in wrath; My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.
Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,
For what is the hope of the godless and polluted, even though he has gained [in this world], when God cuts him off and takes away his life? Will God hear his cry when trouble comes upon him?
[The people] cry out because of the pride of evil men, but He does not answer. Surely God will refuse to answer [the cry which is] vanity (vain and empty -- "instead of abiding trust); neither will the Almighty regard it -- "
The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men -- "extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers -- "or even like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain.
You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, that I might cut off those who hate me. They cried [for help], but there was none to deliver -- "even unto the Lord, but He answered them not.
You who hate the good and love the evil, who pluck and steal the skin from off [My people] and their flesh from off their bones; Yes, you who eat the flesh of my people and strip their skin from off them, who break their bones and chop them in pieces as for the pot, like meat in a big kettle. Then will they cry to the Lord, but He will not answer them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil.