Posted in Point of View

Unanswered Prayers (Why prayer fails?)

While I was looking blankly on my white paper and pen waiting for ideas to enter my mind, the incident of typhoon Pablo suddenly came up. Nice one brain!Or should I say, Nice one Lord! I began to picture the situations of the victims during the onset of the disaster based on the after effects I had seen in the television few years ago. The heavy rain down pour caused a huge flood which had devastated the Compostella Valley towns. These areas were unusually stricken by a typhoon, one of the reasons why the residents were not prepared enough despite the information dissemination of the weather forecast (through all sorts of media and the LGUs).

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Philippines Typhoon
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I felt nostalgic.  The same case had happened here in the capital city of the Philippines when typhoon Ondoy had hit Luzon on September 26, 2009 leaving the whole metro seem like a residential area erected in the midst of an ocean. It was my first time to witness and encounter such calamity. I was so scared then because we do not have enough food supply in the house. What if the rain won’t stop pouring and the water will still rise? Even though our room’s at 3rd floor, it didn’t make me at peace. From time to time, I went out and peeped what’s going on outside.

As I recall, I begun to ponder the condition of those who were stranded outside. What about those who spent the night soaked in chest high flood water? What about those who struggled to swim the deep water just to save their family? What about those who got drowned, those who met accidents while hurrying up to rescue themselves and their relatives away from the current of the flood?

During disastrous events like these, it is such a relief to hear stories of those who survived. Nevertheless, it is so sad to listen to the sobs of those families who lost their loved ones. I believe, when the victims were fighting for their lives, while swimming or holding on to an object so as not to be carried away by the current, they were  calling out to God desperately, seeking for His help, waiting for rescue. Some of these requests were granted thus, they had testified. However, the others’ prayer were left unanswered.

God has three answers to our prayers—YES, NO and WAIT. If God’s “NO” answer could be equaled to unanswered prayer, honestly I am not so sure about it because some says “God always answers prayers but sometimes No is the answer”. Nevertheless, in this article, I’ll be using  the term Unanswered Prayers.


Why will there be unanswered prayers? we might ask. Isn’t it that God said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”(Matthew 7:7)?Perhaps, we are praying in conjunction with:

WRONG MOTIVES. Zander has been praying everyday for the forthcoming championship of basketball tournament. He isn’t a part of any of the team. He isn’t even supporting anyone but he was interested to know who will win. His prayers goes like this:

“God please let Marcus’ team lose the game. He’s mean. He’s a bully. Don’t let them win this time because if that happens it will boost more his ego and act like a conceited pig more than he is right now. Let the other team defeat the. Please Lord! Please”

One of God’s commandments is to love our enemies. Despite how hard it is to be compassionate with one whom you hate the most, we have to do it all because of our love to God almighty. The instance stated above usually happens and God is not please with it. We have to love the unlovable.

Praying with wrong motives were almost always left unanswered. I really am not sure if holdappers and killers utter their prayers first before they put their wicked goals into action. What I am certain about is that there will always be a consequence to every wrong move we take. Instead of thinking about wrong motives, apply the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you want others do unto you.

SIN. This three letter word could hinder our relationship with the Lord. Sometimes sin disrupts communication with God. Isaiah 1:15 says, “Even if you offer many prayers I will not listen”.

Before we ask God our long list of prayer requests, let us ask first for forgiveness and thank God for all the blessings He had given us. It is like the way how a toddler acts when he had broken a vase using those puppy eyes pleading to mommy. Tell me, whose papa or mama’s heart would not soften with that look?

CONTRADICTIONS.A farmer praying for a heavy rain simultaneous with a child asking for a sunny day so that he can play outside is an example of contradicting prayers. Both will not be answered at the same time. One of it will be granted while the other will not be given.

SAME PLEA WITH OTHER PRAY-ERS.Out of the hundreds of nurses applying for a Staff Nurse position, only 15 will be hired. All of them had drawn close to God expecting to hear their appeal but only 15 wishes will be granted.

Seven teams had prepared enough for the volleyball league but out of the seven, only one team’s prayer will be answered.

NO EFFORT.A college student prayed to get a high score in his major exam. When he received his checked test paper, he was frustrated to find out that he failed. Why? The night before he opted to play computer games all night long than scan his notes.

An alcoholic who refused to stop drinking despite his family and friends’ advices, went to the hospital for consultation. He had noticed that his skin turned yellowish and his tummy is growing bigger. While waiting for the result, he uttered a simple prayer requesting that the result be normal yet the interpretation of laboratory tests and the physical exam revealed that he has liver cancer.

“Nasa Diyos and Awa, Nasa Tao ang Gawa” [With God is mercy (or pity), with man is action (or work, or labor)].God’s grace is enough to those who deserve it. If he sees that we are putting an effort to achieve our goals then there is no way he  would hinder us but if we are too lazy to move, where will it put us?I believe, God doesn’t tolerate our bad behaviours.He wanted us to become better persons.

DISOBEDIENCE. God had commanded Jonah, to preach repentance in Nineveh.However, the latter did not obey. Instead he chose to go to Tarshish boarding a ship. While on their way, a strong storm came, which threatened the ship to break in pieces. With that, he realized that he is responsible for that so he instructed the sailor to throw him into the sea where a giant fish swallowed him.

The key to a blessed life is obedience. We receive what we ask because we’ve been obedient. Answering our prayers is God’s one way of rewarding us.

However, what if your prayers were not in conjunction with those stated yet they were still left unanswered? Probably you might be one of those singles who is desperately praying for a partner but until now you’ve become an old maid and can no longer bear a child. That partner hasn’t arrive yet and it is too late! You might be one of those who prayed for a family members healing and yet that person died. You might be one of those couple who prayed to have a healthy but you were given a child with metabolic disorder.

Why Lord?Why?What good is it to have unanswered prayers?

SOME PRAYERS ARE BETTER OFF UNANSWERED. Matthew had been praying to marry the girl of his dreams. He really was so attracted to Mary because she was gorgeous and witty. Any man would fall for her. After the long years of waiting, he got her YES to his marriage proposal.He was never been happy as his wedding day—the day when the woman he was all been waiting for would be eventually called “his”.

The first few months of their marriage were pure bliss until one day he found out that his wife was cheating on him. He was never been hurt so badly. He was betrayed by the one he loved so dearly. If he could just turn back time, he would have never asked for it.That prayer of him would have been better if it was left unanswered.

Be careful of what you wish for. We have to be sure of what to ask God. Instead of focusing on your wants, focus on the things that God probably wanted. The more we know God, the more we know God’s will, the more likely our prayers will align with that will.

UNANSWERED PRAYER OPENS DOOR TO SOMETHING FAR BETTER. Do not be frustrated if your prayers were unanswered. God has a better plan in mind. “Your thoughts”, He said, “are not my thoughts”. His is always perfect.

Because of envy and hatred, the brothers of Joseph were able to sell their own sibling. I believe Joseph must have been praying so hard all along  for his elder sibling to love him as much as they love his other brothers. Perhaps while the negotiations of purchasing him was happening he was talking silently to God pleading for a way out. God had listened, I’m certain of it. He had answered Joseph’s possible prayer but that answer was NO.

Joseph’s unanswered prayer had opened a door to something far better. He became the right hand of the Pharaoh and was the second among the highest officials of his time. He saved Egypt through the interpretation of the Potiphar’s dream. The famine that had occurred on Joseph’s native land could also be considered as unanswered prayer of his siblings. Because of that situation, it had bought the family together again after so many years of separation. God moves in that mysterious way.


God acts slowly. We cannot force him to give what we want because it is Him who call the shots.We could mention all our long list of requests but it is within His hands if he will grant it all or not. We can only wait…and trust! However, we are just humans. We are not immune to getting tired of waiting until such time we just accept the fact that our prayers will no longer be answered.

Abraham’s faithfulness was tested by God. The Father had commanded him to offer his son Isaac. He was an obedient servant. He brought his clueless son to the mountain to be a living sacrifice. That was a command that was so hard to obey but Abraham followed. If I were Abraham, there will be a part of me that wants to bargain. Sure we wanted to obey but when our loved ones lives are involved, we can’t help but think twice. Maybe while on their way to the altar, he was pleading God to change His mind. If he could just offer other sacrifice. Until that time when he was about to slay his son, God spoke…and that was the time Abraham’s prayer was answered.

Father Abraham must have been so thankful. However, there are some parents who also were in the same situation who received no answers. Let’s say mother Mary for instance. When Jesus was crucified, she probably had asked God a thousand times to set Jesus free. She might have prayed to the Father to save His only Son. She must have been begging desperately to the extent of giving her life in exchange of her son’s. But were her prayer’s answered? We are all ware that Jesus died at the Cross of Calvary.

Just because He doesn’t answer doesn’t mean He don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. If God had answered Mary’s pleas, Christ’s rescue could have been our world’s ruin.

God’s NO is not rejection—it’s redirection

God’s NO isn’t punishment—it’s preparation

If it would bring harm we don’t foresee, do we still want him to say YES?

If He really is our lives’ driver, we should be confident enough to believe that He knows what’s best


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