(Un)Answered Prayers:
Why doesn't God hear My Prayers?

"Prayer is the lifting of our hearts and minds to God.
For no matter what we're saying, we're asking,"Do you love me?"
And no matter how He answers, He's saying, "Yes, I do."

Mother Angelica in her book, "Answers Not Promises" pgs. 95, 96















   It may seem to us (by our understanding) that God isn't listening or doesn't care sometimes. That maybe God only hears the prayers of a chosen few saints long ago or written about in the Bible.  Maybe you even know some people today who claim that God always hears their prayers ~ and it only makes you feel angry and depressed.

"Where is God today ~ for ME?"

"I've tried praying.  I've prayed so hard for this or that and no matter how hard I pray, it just doesn't work for me."

     People like this might seem to have this dark cloud hanging over their heads. They may even seem more 'unlucky' than most. Their lives may be one string of bad luck after another. Almost like they've been jinxed or cursed somehow.

     The same may be true for healing. They may have been praying for years for a special physical healing for themselves or someone close to them ~ to no avail. They've gone to prayer meetings, healing services and retreats, and prayed like crazy ~ still nothing. If anything, it seems the condition has gotten worse! They're at the point of despair.
 

"What am I doing wrong?" They ask themselves.
 

     Lets take a brief look at some possible reasons why some people's prayers may seem to go unanswered. The following is a little checklist of considerations we should be aware of in our relationship with God.

     Know that it's never God who distances Himself from us ~ rather, it's us who through our rebelliousness and sin ~ distance ourselves from the Love and Mercy of God.


1.  The Sin of Unforgiveness

      Possibly the number one reason that seems to prove true in cases of unanswered prayers ~ is our inability to forgive those who may have hurt us in our lives.  What does the 'Our Father' prayer teach us about forgiveness? "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." No matter how wronged you feel you may have been by someone, this is God's command for us.  He never said it would be easy.  As a matter of fact, it is impossible without His grace. You must pray for the grace to be able to forgive - even if the desire is not in you. The desire too, you must pray for. Once you have surrendered your will and resentment to God ~ you will see a  marvelous healing transformation take place in your life! Like a flower unfolding to the sunshine after a heavy rain, the world will be a different place. Remember, Jesus went before you in having to forgive those who tortured, mocked and were killing him saying:

(Luke 23-34)

"Father forgive them they know not what they do."
 

Pray without anger:

(Timothy 2:8)

I will therefore that men pray in every place, lifting up pure hands,
without anger and contention.
 

Reconciliation must come first.

(Mark 11:25)
When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance,
so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.
 

(Matthew 5:23,24)
If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.


2.  Living in Sin

     When was the last time you remember seeing the inside of a confessional? How many times have you missed Sunday Mass? Taken the Lord's name in vain etc.? Are you living with someone outside of the Sacrament of marriage? Do you read bad books and magazines or listen to bad music? Do you think nothing of stealing now and then things that do not belong to you? Do you gossip about others? Do you hold a grudge against anyone? Do you envy or covet what others have that you do not? Are you in ~ or thinking about having an adulterous relationship? Do you drink excessively? Gamble? Hate your parents? Have you had an abortion? Have you aided or convinced someone else to have an abortion? These are some very serious offenses against God that you must repent of and reconcile before you can expect to get anywhere with Him.


3.  Mortal Sin

     Which is the complete cut-off of ourselves from Grace of God by a conscious pre-meditated act of breaking one of the Ten Commandments.

      I am reminded of the story of a saint (I can't recall his name), who was offering up fervent prayers and sacrifices for the salvation of his cousin's soul. The saint who was a priest, was giving a sermon one day, when his cousin happened to walk into the church. This saint begged God to reveal to all the people there the state of this sinner's soul.  Immediately piercing screams were heard and the congregation was thrown into a panic as people tripped over one another fleeing from the man - in horror - why? They were allowed to witness with their own eyes - the black hideousness of a mortal sin on the soul of a man and the horrible demons all around him. Thankfully, the story has a happy ending, as the cousin went to confession and was converted by this terrifying experience ~ and the diligent prayers and sacrifices of this saintly priest.

True sorrow for our sins and the desire to amend our lives is key to our relationship with God. Visit the God of Mercy often in the Sacrament of Confession.


4.  The Sin of Pride & Arrogance & Envy

It is written that God resists the proud and confuses them in their inmost thoughts.
 

Pride

  Pride was the very first sin committed by any creature against God. It was the sin that caused Lucifer to fall from Heaven and into Hell. Pride took with it 1/3 of all the angels of Heaven with it into Hell. It was the downfall of mankind in the garden Eden by Adam & Eve. Pride rejects the grace of God. It makes us think we know better than God. It sets us up to feelings of superiority and hatred. Pride makes us feel we're not getting what's owed to us in life which also leads to the sin of greed ~ and leaves us feeling unsatisfied and always wanting more. Pride will ultimately lead us ~ if allowed to fruition ~ to reject God.  Every little act of pride is always an act of rebellion against God. And what may be little in our estimation, may be great in the eyes of the Lord. A well known psychiatrist once said: "Ego is man playing God."

ENVY

(Wisdom 2:20-24)
Let us condemn him to a most shameful death: for there shall be respect had unto him by his words. These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them.  And they knew not the secrets of God, nor hoped for the wages of justice, nor esteemed the honour of holy souls.  For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world:  And they follow him that are of his side.

And this is how the devil was cursed for the crime of causing man to fall:

(Genesis 3:15)
"I will put enmities between thee and the woman,
and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head,
and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

Mary - the new Eve - had been chosen from the beginning of time to defeat the dragon and crush his head.
All her children will endure his wrath and hatred BUT the victory is God's and through Jesus (the new Adam) and Mary (the New Eve) the devil will suffer ultimate defeat.
 
 

Satan, The Prince of Pride's motto is: "I will not serve!"

But isn't that the very thing Jesus said we must do?  Jesus Himself said he had not come to be served - but to serve.  And we must follow his example.
 

Conversely,  let us learn from the humility of Mary:

(Luke 1:50-53)
The Canticle of Mary

"My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me;
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations,
to them that fear him.
He has shown might in his arm:
he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever."

     In her humility she was greatly favored by God so much so that all generations would call her blessed. She calls herself his 'handmaid' which is a servant. Her soul reflected God because she was totally conformed to His Will.  Again she refers to herself as humble then praised the Almighty for His promises made our fathers. We should all strive to be more like Mary in her humility, poverty, charity, purity, obedience, good works ~ and love.

     Even though she knew she was highly favored by God, she praised and gave him glory for His great works in her. She credited nothing to herself ~ except her lowliness or nothingness!

(Luke 1:38)
The Fiat

Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

Mary Most Holy ~ Our truest example (next to Jesus) of Absolute, unquestionable devotion, love, obedience and trust in God.

THE ANTIDOTE:    Repent, amend your life, and realize that we are nothing ~ and can do nothing apart from God.  All goodness comes from God alone. There is no good in us that is not from God.


5.  Not Asking Rightly

Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven!

     Have you ever seen the bumper sticker, "The one who dies with the most toys ~ wins!"? What a lousy saying!  If anything, it's the exact opposite! How typical of the consumerism and greed that exists in this country of plenty.

"We were born not for ourselves, but to do good to others,
for the love of God."

Favorite saying of Captain John Smith, who came over with the early settlers in Virginia,
and whose life was saved by Pocohontas.

On Moderation and Self-Denial:

"For it is better to suffer a little want
than to have too much."

~ St. Augustine of Hippo

"Remember when you leave this earth,
you can take with you nothing that you have received
~ only what you have given:

A heart enriched by honest service,
love, sacrifice and courage."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

"For no king has any different origin or birth,
but one is the entry into life for all;
and in one same way they leave it."

The Book of Wisdom 7:5,6
 
 

A child thinks ~  "if I could only have one wish, it would be for a great mountain of bubble gum - then I would be truly happy!" They might spend all their allowance on candy and chewing gum and then hoard it away and not even eat it.  Maybe bringing it out once in awhile to count it and then hide it away again like a true miser until eventually, one of their siblings discovers the stash and help themselves! Ridiculous? Of course! Now, I know its a very simple example ~ and bubble gum may not have been what you had in mind, but it illustrates the point ~ in the same way, we ought to always be mindful that the things of this world are but dust and do not last. When we ask for physical things from God ~ even necessary ones, these prayers are not as pleasing to him as when we ask for spiritual things - the only things that really matter in the end ~ the only things that last forever.
 

(Luke 12:29-31)
Seek First the Kingdom of God

"And as for you, do not seek what you shall eat, or what you shall drink;
And do not exalt yourselves
(for after all these things the nations of the world seek);
But your Father knows that you need these things.
But seek the kingdom of God,
and all these things shall be given you besides."

(Luke 12:27-28)
The Lilies of the Field

"Consider how the lilies grow; They neither toil nor spin,
Yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory
was arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass which flourishes in the field today
but tomorrow is thrown into the oven, How much more you,
O you of little faith!"
 

     What motivating force caused highly intelligent men to jump from windows when the stock market crashed during the Depression? A sad disillusionment about what life's really about I'm afraid. When the things of this world fail us, our comforts taken from us, our money gone, our loved ones, our dreams broken, our security shattered - what's left? Mark my word, it will happen to all of us eventually. And if not in this world, it will happen in the next. What have we got that we can truly cling to, rely on or believe in?

We will all be called to stand naked before the almighty throne of God ~ with our lives spread out before him - nothing hidden. Not one detail or word we have carelessly spoken in this world will be overlooked! We will be judged by the God of Love for the love we have shown Him and our neighbor while in the world ~ or haven't!   Let us cling to God the Almighty!  It is with Him that we hope to spend our eternity ~ let's get to know Him now ~ in this world while we still have life within us!
 

(Luke 12:32-34)
Build up Treasure in Heaven

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father
to give you the kingdom.
Sell what you have and give alms.
Make for yourselves purses that do not grow old,
a treasure unfailing in heaven,
where neither thief draws near nor moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."
 


On a Lighter Note...

     We've touched on some of the most significant negative obstacles that may be preventing our prayers from having their desired effect.  Now let's dwell a little on the positive things we need to be doing! (Nature hates a void!) The little ways in which we may have more confidence and peace in our lives and having our prayers heard ~ are all revealed to us in Sacred Scripture. Here are just a few of the verses that may help us get a better idea of what's expected from us on our part in relation to God:
 

(Romans 8:2)
All Things Work for Good

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.
 

(Proverbs 3:5,6)
Trust in the Lord with all your Heart

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
On your own intelligence rely not;
In all your ways be mindful of him,
And he will make straight your path.
 

In the following verse in Isaiah, God reveals to us an amazing secret!
For all those who are seeking happiness & long life:

(Isaiah 58:7-10)
How to Live Uprightly or True Fasting

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
Releasing those bound unjustly,
Untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed, Breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
Sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
And not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the Lord will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
And the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
"Repairer of the breach," they shall call you, "Restorer of ruined homesteads."

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight, and the Lord's holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests,
or speaking with malice - Then you shall delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
 

(Psalm 26)
Trust in the Lord

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid?
When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies themselves stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust.
 

(Timothy 2:1-4)
Pray first for these things

I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and thanksgivings be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in high station:
that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour,
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(Timothy 2:8)
Pray Without Anger

I will therefore that men pray in every place,
lifting up pure hands, without anger and contention.


6. When God says "No."

I believe God always answers our prayers.  But sometimes the answer is "No."

We've all experienced the "No" of God.  He wouldn't be a loving Father if He said "Yes" to us all the time ~  would he? Just as a loving parent knows what's best for us ~ even if we don't agree ("What's wrong with chocolate ice cream for dinner?") God always has our best interest in mind when he doesn't give us everything we want.

With our limited knowledge and inability to predict the future none of us know what's really good for us.
What seems good for us today ~ could very well harm us tommorrow.

The Evil of Fortune Tellers, Physics, witches, mediums, Palm/Tarot Card Readers and the like:

The Lord Reproves Saul through Samuel after Saul disobeys the Lord's command
and regrets having made him king over Isreal:

1 Samuel 15:22-23
"Does the Lord so delight in holocausts and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord?
Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he, too, has rejected you as ruler."

The Spirit of the Lord thus departed from Saul and instead,
Saul was tormented by an evil spirit sent by the Lord.

I Samuel 28: The Witch of Endor Seals the Doom of Saul:

Learn from Saul's fatal and tragic mistake! God did not answer Saul because Saul disobeyed God and would not carry out his war against the Amelek as the Lord ordered him to do.  So, Saul went to a witch to conjur up the dead prophet Samuel to tell him what to do against the Philistines who were mustering their armies to fight against Israel.  Now, here's the same man who had just driven out the mediums and fortune-tellers from the land.  Now, reduced to such desperation as to crawl back to them for answers!  If Saul was in desperate straights before he went to the witch, his desperation would be turned to doom after he visited the witch.  For the prophesy was sealed.  Saul and his sons were to die, running from the enemy the next day, at the hands of the Philistines - because he disobeyed the Lord.  As it turned out, Saul's son's were killed first, and then Saul, badly injured, fell upon his own sword in fear of what the Philistines would do to him.  So, the annointed of the Lord by his own hand, committed suicide.

It's straight from the mouth of HELL. If you feel the need to go to a psychic, know that you are going to the devil for the answers ~ not God!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say on these matters,

  2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude
   consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the
   future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack
   of responsibility.

   2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the
   dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology,
   palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to
   mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human
   beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and
   loving fear that we owe to God alone.
 

The first famous witch in history is the Witch of Endor. I Samuel 28 relates how King Saul went to her in an effort to get in touch with the dead prophet of God, Samuel. He needed advice on how to defeat the Philistines. He should have known better  because Exodus 22:18 prescribed being a witch as a capital crime, punishable by death. Again Deuteronomy 18:9-14 warned that God's children were to have nothing to do with the OCCULT. Even in the New Testament (Revelation 21:8 Galatians 5:20 KJV) lists the practitioners of witchcraft as being excluded from God's kingdom. Dr. Luke wrote about what people did about their occultic involvement when they came to know Christ as their Savior in Acts 19:18-19, "Many that believed (in Christ) came, and  confessed (their former evil practices) and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books    together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand  pieces of silver." ( A piece of silver was a day's wage back in that day. By today's standard that could have been as much as 1/2 million dollars.)

     There is no faster way to separate yourself from God and get on His 'bad side' (please excuse the phrase) than to go to the 'other side' for answers! There is only one source of truth and that is with God the Almighty creator of all things.  Trust in Him and look to Him for all your needs and answers.


7. How should I handle God's "No"?

First of all, we need to eat this verse and swallow it so that it becomes part of us!:

(Romans 8:2)

We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to His purpose.

    If we trust in God our Heavenly Father completely, we can be at peace ~ even in calamity. Knowing that our lives are in his hands, and that he won't allow anything to happen to us that won't be for the greater benefit of our souls. What greater security could we have? The people and things of this world will all fail us ~ but God our loving Father is a faithful God and will never fail us ~ and never stop loving us ~ Because He's on our side!

     So when we ask for something while believing and trusting in the Almighty ~ and don't receive it ~ we should give thanks to God for not giving us something that would not be good for us to have right now.  Humble ourselves with the thought that maybe we are undeserving of what we are asking for. But realize also, even a "No" could mean "Not right now." It's all in His perfect timing. Understanding this concept and putting it into practice,  is the beginning of abiding in the perfect Will of God ~ which is the secret to peace and happiness.

Complete Surrender to the Will of God
is the Secret to Happiness and Peace

Continue to pray. Pray constantly! And pray for big things like for instance... Your own conversion!!  Rejoice and be Thankful always and Trust God with all your heart! Stop worrying! It's all in His hands. And you will see a remarkable change in your life and how God has indeed answered your prayers!
 
 

The Critical Importance of Prayer:

" If you pray you are sure of saving your soul.
If you do not pray you are just as sure to lose
your soul."

~ St. Alphonsus Liguori
 
 

"Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer."

Romans 12: 12

Remember this also:

"No prayer, no power.
A little prayer, a little power.
A lot of prayer, a lot of power!
Never forget this."

~  Sound advice from a Catholic priest



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