[CF Devotionals] 2010-09-01 - God Doesn’t Hear My Prayers

Originally Published 2009-06-20

1 Samuel 28:6, When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by the prophets.

I have said it. Many others have said it also, God doesn’t hear my prayers. It seems that every follower of Christ can sometimes say that we pray like the woman before the judge (Luke 18:1-8). We come often, almost wearing out God kind of often (if that were possible), but He doesn’t answer. I suspect we have all felt it. It seems that our prayers get intercepted by a satellite and never reach Heaven. It seems that the cloud cover on a cloudy day blocks our prayers and re-bounds them back down to earth. It seems that all our pleadings and strivings with God avail to nothing.

Have you felt that way? I know that I have. There are many precious promises in Scripture that God hears prayer. I will only list a couple here from the Psalms alone: The Lord hears when I call to Him, Psalm 4:3; O Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble; Thou wilt strengthen their heart. Thou wilt incline Thine ear, Psalm 10:17. I have called upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me, O God, Psalm 17:6. For I hope in Thee, O Lord; Thou wilt answer, O Lord my God, Psalm 38:15, and lastly a precious promise from Psalm 94:9, He who planted the ear, does He not hear? We know the Lord hears. We can all point to times when the Lord has heard our prayers. We must remember these times and store them up for encouragement in our future seekings of the Lord’s mercy. The Lord hears in His time, and He answers in His perfect time. We are wrong when we say that the Lord does not hear the prayers of His children, and we know it. Let us not say this any more, because in saying these things, we deny the promises of God. We deny what He expressly says in His Word. He promises to hear. Our duty is to pray and trust Him. We come as beggars, and we ought to, as beggars, be often in coming for supplies.

So what do we do with this passage quoted above? Here it is clear that God did not hear Saul’s prayer. Why did God not answer Saul? Saul was not heard because God had rejected him. It is unwise to speculate on the condition of any soul in Scripture unless we are expressly told, and even then, let us leave the judgment to God alone - who makes no mistakes. But we are aware that Saul was rejected of the Lord, 1 Samuel 15. Saul disobeyed the Lord, and it was His sin that blocked God’s willingness to hear Saul’s prayers. There is a lot more that we could say here, but let us draw, personally, the clear, simple application. We know that God hears the prayers of His children. We have this said plainly, over and over, in God’s Word. We have here an example of God not hearing prayer, and we are given the reason. Saul’s sin blocked his prayers. God would not hear him. We ought to examine our lives. Is there sin that is hindering our prayers? It is a fair question to ask ourselves, and a wise one.

However, let us not chalk up all seemingly unanswered prayer to sin. That would be equally unwise. Yes, we must examine ourselves, but often God’s time is not our time. His ways are not always our ways. The reason for unanswered prayer may be that God has answered another way, or He has delayed in His answer. I am not suggesting when we struggle in prayer, that we beat ourselves up. Looking for sin in our lives though tough self-examination is a fair thing for us to do, but rather I am suggesting that we seek to live faithfully before Him, trusting Him always, and often bringing our requests before Him in our prayers.

Soli Deo Gloria,

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