Why doesn't God answer prayers?

Hi,

I want to ask about something. It is different from my previous scripture focused posts. Anyway, I want to know why doesn't God answer prayers?
When one prays, nothing really changes. I haven't heard about people who are cured because they've prayed.

No study shows that prayer have ANY effect whatsoever on ANY thing.

You know, the only time things work for me whenever I go out of my way to do something. Sometimes, there things that I can't do, then I pray and NOTHING happens every single isolated time.

I am not sure what difference does it make if one prays to Krishna, Jesus or Allah. It always leads to the same outcome.

Comments

  • I would have to disagree with you my sweet friend prayer makes a big difference it teaches us to obey God’s Commandments and when were walking in his rightouesness and his will whatever we ask for he will do for us if it is his will it’s not about control and asking God for something he’s not a genie he’s god he’s our adovocate the Pantocrator he created everything he knows what’s in our heart so maybe we need to rethink about why were asking for certain things and what the prayer is for and then reevaluate if it would be under God’s will He knows every piece of hair that falls off our bodies he knows everything about us he knows what we want not what do you think you want but he knows what we want and what we need and it’s way better than you could ever imagine what you think you want maybe your prayer is not a lining up with what God wants for you maybe if you surrender and ask God and let him talk to you he will answer you but God definitely does answer prayers from my own experience he has made my life totally different he made me a 180 completely different person and it was through prayer it was through my sincerity I really hope that you understand where I’m coming from my sweet friend and may God be with you Remember he is the best friend that you will ever have in the whole entire world He knows you more than you know yourself And this is from first-hand experience I know my God let me see will never leave me nor for sake me and he won’t do it to you either surrender my sweet friend surrender
  • It is all sweet and dandy your talk my friend. But if he will only answer prayers if it is inline with his wanting, why pray in the first place? Why should do such an ineffective thing?
    You can have all your devotionals to spice up your spirit, if, indeed, that is an applicable term. But, why grovel in the first place?
  • You are free to do what you wish and achieve what you wish.God will not get involved. This is the concept of freedom.

    Prayer is the not ability to request something expecting a return, it is the surrender of our personal will to His, as it is the conviction that His will is perfect. For those that pray and willing to surrender their will to His, He guides them according to His will. They've surrendered their freedom to Him from conviction of His perfection and out of love for Him.
  • Hi Raafat
    Prayer is communication with God. I probably wouldn't put it as groveling, but been humble and to whom we humble ourselves. Humbleness is the opposite of pride and the proud put their fortune above others. Would this be acceptable to God? Certainly not! Why? Because as we say in church "In Christ" meaning that we live our lifes in Christ. I'd we read the gospels we can ask ourselves was Christ a proud person? Certainly not! So would God grant an answer to a proud man?

    Above is stated the Father the Pantocrater, which means the creator. Our creator, the one whom we owe our existence too. The outcome that the Creator offers us is our return to Him. As satan seperated from God because of his inequity, then because he deceived us, we are also separated. Sin is seperation from God and that is why we repent.
    To live a life of repentance needs constant prayer for we are always either trying to be righteous in the way we behave or we are constantly missing the mark in our behavior (sin).

    The Hindus have Krishna for their God and so we can ask ourselves what God is? God is a Spirit and in many religions this spirit is given an image as there are many images of Krishna.
    Our God whom we call by the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we have in unity in the image of Christ.
    We know there was a Christ by the witness of the gospels. We say the others are idols because they are just images and while they seek spiritual life in there images they are what they are. Christ was there in the flesh living and showing a spiritual life that demonstrates of His truth, as Thomas asked in John 14:5 when doubt came upon him to where Christ was going, and Jesus gave him understanding in the next two verses 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." Later for further explaination to Philip He says, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Jesus explains more about the works of the Father through His Son, and says "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
    15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
    The question here where does this Spirit dwell? The answer is in your heart.
    From here we move to our belief in been partakers of the Divine nature. Make it clear that we are not Divine, but have a portion that we can glorify God when we participate with Him.

    Here it is: John 17:22-23. "And the glory which you gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."

    2 Peter 1:3-4. As His Divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 14 by which have being given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

    These verses are orthodox belief that we seek our unity with God by participating with His Spirit. When we listen to a sermon and receive the wisdom we are guided to His knowledge and Spirit that we are in Christ and He in us. In this way the image becomes a reality, a truth and not just an image portrayed by other religions.

    To help achieve this we also need not just the knowledgeto help us, but constant communication with God for the sake of unity with Him.

    God the Father called Himself I Am, this is not an image but we have a shared image in His Son. This is something we can relate too and have a close relationship. This also needs constant communication by prayer.

    Hope I've explained to some degree Raafat.

  • @ShareTheLord
    Then one need not to pray, because God will do his will anyways.

    @Joshuaa
    I am not even sure how this is related to the question. Lovely insights. But, I don't get an answer from it.
  • Well you mentioned another religion, so I guess your question could be why pray at all? It is important to whom you pray to and from that you have a reason to pray.
    I was supplying the God to whom we pray and in a way inferencing why we pray to our God.
    If you read what I wrote that prayer is communication to God and that God offers us unity with Him, then you have your answer. But maybe you are asking why you may feel He is not listening. There is a verse that says he hears the prayers of the righteous. So to be righteous you would have to strive to be so. Then you would have the right communication with God.
    God is a teacher and we are taught the language and understanding in the church.
    I'm trying to help you in a little way of some expectations. Expectations like assuming lack understanding and you have to get close to fully understand.
    If you were in the church and listened with understanding then you would understand why you pray because you would be living the life of Christ as He is our body and also the churches body.

    And sometimes God you must realise does what He does for good and to receive the blessing of it woek on our part needs to be done and not just like a wish or something similar. There is no unity with God by just wishing. Wishing is not a conversation with God and it really would be better if it came from your heart.
    Our heart is what we use to communicate with God with.

    Glad you are still here Raafat. I pray you are able to enter the church and if you ever get baptisted, I pray you take the name Thomas. It was my father's middle name co-incidentally.
    God bless.
  • @RaafatAbualazm
    Incorrect, that would go against the freedom God gave us. God will not impose his will. For His Will to happen in your life, you need to ask Him for it.
  • When a Christian uses his heart to pray, Christ uses it to heal.
    So what is being healed? Our souls. Our hearts. Yes, finding comfort, finding direction, yes. We cannot say people have not been given these by those whom have not strived for them.
  • @Joshuaa
    If we have a conversation with God, at least we ought to feel some sense of a reply. Hardly seen anyone who can claim so. I guess the whole point of your religion is to become one with God somehow, you are in this sense very similar to Eastern Asian religions.
    If I pray to God, even if I have a false idea of who he/she/it is, I guess, he/she/it can hear as well. We just don't choose to follow wrong notions.
    If I pray for the sick and they don't get better, how is that any good? Just to give an example.
  • @ShareTheLord

    I see your point. But you said he is going to answer according to his will, regardless we prayed or not.
    If one is sick and you pray for them, then, if he wills that they be healed they will be healed regardless of your prayer.
  • @Joshuaa

    I get the spiritual part. But then, this spiritual thing is not a proof. What about prayers for things here to happen in this world?
  • edited March 5
    @RaafatAbualazm 

    I understand what you mean. You seem to have something very specific in mind that may have happened to you - don't hesitate to speak to a spiritual father about it, he may bring in a light and new perspective to it!

    In any case, I am not sure where I said that "he is going to answer according to his will, regardless we prayed or not." That is what I am saying is incorrect and goes against freedom. Let's take some examples in the bible.

    1- The will of God was that we do not eat of the tree in the Garden of Eden. His will was that we live eternally in this joyful garden but wanted us to choose it out of free will. Thus, the tree. And we chose the tree despite it not being His will. (So this proves He does not do what He wills regardless of whether we prayed or not)

    2- God led His people from Egypt's slavery to the land of Canaan. In the land of Canaan, the people start forgetting God and not doing what He requests of them, but rather did what each desired according to their hearts. One day, they took it further, they noticed how everyone was led by a king and not them. So they prayed to God to anoint them a king, and they wanted and insisted stubbornly on a specific king (Saul) though God wanted David. God allowed Saul to become king despite not being His will but their will. (Their prayer was listened and God accepted what they wanted though it was not His will, showing their prayer let Him do something He does not will)

    3- Note, however, that the previous is not the norm. For those that pray, they should pray saying: "Thy will be done". We should be praying for His will, not for Him to do what I want (though He will listen and accept at times). If we look at St. Paul or at Job, both were stricken with struggles. One with a thorn in his flesh and the other with heavy losses (both his riches and his family). They prayed but God did not do what they wished for because He wanted to take them to another level in their spirituality. to St. Paul He answered "My strength is made perfect in weakness". And to Job, He asked Him to trust Him blindly because Job was capable of doing so.

    Point is, there are many ways for God to interact with those who prays to Him. At times, He will accept our immature prayer to please us. Other times, He will ignore because either that prayer may get us far from Him, or that ignoring it may get you closer to Him. There are too many possibilities to go through. All however, must be rooted in faith in Him. The more you believe in Him and see His presence, the easier all this is.

    God bless your quest and search for truth!
  • I see your point.
    I don't have a spiritual father, because, well, Egypt.

    Anyways I see what you are talking about, however, I don't get why then should we pray.
    If one don't pray what should happen? The causal chain of events will unfold? I mean the only reason to pray is that God may intercession somehow? According to his will? Or to make our will come true if we can't?

    Am I getting this right?
  • Sorry Raafat, but which Eastern Asian religions are you referring to?

    Here is a post by Fr Peter Farrington called unceasing prayer of the heart:

    We should not imagine that the practice of unceasing prayer and the unfailing awareness of the presence of God is to be reserved only for a very few of the great monastic pioneers. That would be like saying that there is no point in trying to get physically fit unless we can compete at an Olympic level. Certainly such practice must develop through great commitment and effort, but the experience of the divine presence is salvation itself. It is the abundant life which our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, says that he has come to give to those who are his spiritual flock. Therefore, it is to be the constant goal and desire of all who have been born again into Christ.

    It would be a mistake to think that when St Paul instructs us to pray without ceasing, and when our Lord Jesus tells several parables about prayer so that we would pray always and not give up, he was either speaking only to a very small elite of Christians, or meant that we should have to adopt the monastic life to achieve such a state. On the contrary, St Paul is addressing the Church in Thessalonica, a congregation of ordinary believers, and his instruction to them is given to us all, just as the word of the  Lord, to pray always and not give up, was not only for those who heard him 2000 years ago but for us all, in every time and place.

    What is prayer? It is not the offering of words to a distant God. It is not always asking for things. It is not a religious practice that will keep us in God’s favour. The English word – pray – meant only to ask. And in Shakespeare’s plays it is used many times indeed and not usually in any religious sense. But in the context of the Christian spiritual life it has the sense of entering into God’s presence, to meet with him in the heart, and to commune with him. True prayer already produces that which the heart desires, the experience of union with God and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We do not need to ask for these things, rather our turning to God in prayer and seeking to enter his presence is already answered by his light and love in which we find ourselves immersed when we pray.

    What does our Lord Jesus teach…

    When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

    This secret place is the heart. It is that aspect of our humanity which was created for union with God, and to be the place where the Holy Spirit dwells within us. It is that deepest part of our being and identity, which reaches out unceasingly for God even when every other part of our life is filled with distractions and overwhelmed with difficulties and sin.

    If the heart is restless until it finds it rest in God, then it is only in union with God, unceasing communion, that we find peace and experience what it means to be truly human. The pneumatikoi, the spiritual man or woman, is not one who has ceased to be human, but united with God in Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit in the the heart, is one who has become and is becoming truly human as God intended in his creation.

    This union with God cannot be achieved by occasional prayer and worship. The Psalmist David says…

    With my whole heart I have sought You.

    and

    I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart.

    and

    I cry out with my whole heart.

    and the Prophet Jeremiah says…

    Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

    And our Lord Jesus Christ himself teaches us that the first commandment is this…

    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

    This wholeheartedness doesn’t simply mean that we put quite a bit of effort into seeking and knowing God, rather it represents a union with God. The whole heart is to become transformed into the throne of God, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. To the extent that we give ourselves entirely to God we experience union with God, but when we withhold the heart from God then we cannot participate in the divine life of grace as God wills and desires for us.

    It is while we cry out with the whole heart, our broken, weak and easily distracted heart, that God himself does a work of healing that is beyond us and begins to renew his likeness in us, even as he has already renewed his image in mankind by the incarnation of Christ. This becoming the likeness of God is the work of grace throughout a lifetime, but we begin to experience union with God as we give ourselves to him for this transformation as best and completely as we are able.

    How do we begin? In the first place we must come to understand that salvation is not found in doing good things to please God in the hope that he will let us into Heaven when we die. We must understand that salvation is not performing religious practices to try to turn away God’s anger and wrath and avoid his punishment. Salvation is no less than to begin to experience the divine life of the indwelling Holy Spirit and union with God now, in this life. If this is our goal then the spiritual Tradition of our Orthodox Church begins to make sense.

    We are baptised to be made new in union with God by the grace of the Holy Spirit. We receive divine life and energy in communing in the divine and immortal mysteries of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. And we follow the fasts and we pray as unceasingly as possible, so that this divine grace might be worked out in an increasing union with God.

    The lengthy services of the Church are not to be considered an obligation, but an opportunity. We do not attend to please God, but to enter into his presence, which is true and abundant life. We need this life. We are not giving God anything he needs, though he loves us to be in his presence and receive gifts from him. To prayerfully make the words of the Liturgy our own, to humbly receive Christ himself from the hands of the priest, this is salvation for us. This is divine life and energy, a spiritual medicine for every spiritual illness and sickness.

    The Agpeya is not a boring routine, but an invitation. If we understand its purpose, to bring us into God’s saving presence, then we turn to the words of our spiritual tradition with great eagerness and attention. We make them our own words, or they are of little value at all. God does not demand that we say them. But when we pray them he gives himself to the faithful heart in overwhelming measure when we persevere. If we wish to experience union with God then this is one of the means. We should not easily abandon it.

    And St Paul instructs us to offer intercessions and supplications, to be thankful at all times, and to repent quickly when we have sinned. All of these are also a means of entering often into the divine presence within the heart until we have made it our home. We should intercede earnestly every day for those close to us, and those known to us with needs of various kinds.  These are not words offered to the four winds, but in true prayer we are invited to bring the needs of others into the very presence of God in the heart. Likewise, our prayers for ourselves should bring us humbly and with great intensity into God’s presence, where we discover that to be in the place where he dwells, within the heart, is already to have our prayers answered. And if we are very often thankful for every good gift that God gives us, and learn to turn to him in grateful prayer then we will find that we are again often in his transforming presence. While even our sins and weaknesses should drive us to repentance and lead us to growing closer and more careful in our union with God by the Holy Spirit.

    And finally, the Fathers have taught us from the beginning, that the means of experiencing union with God in an increasing measure requires the use of a constant calling out to God, and the most widespread form of this constant prayer has been and become the Jesus Prayer – Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me or have mercy on me, a sinner. All of these other forms and means of entering into the presence of God in the heart are necessary to one degree or another, but when we fill our heart and mind with the name of Jesus, and offer unceasing prayer in this way, then there is the possibility for an unbroken communion.

    This prayer should both be offered at set times in our spiritual rule, but should also be offered as unceasingly as possible while we go about our daily life and service. If we persevere it will become habitual, but this is not quite the same as prayer. It is a mental habit. But as we find the words of this prayer rising up in our consciousness we discover it as a constant invitation to make the words our own and to enter into the presence of God within the heart in prayer.

    More must be said, but the desire for an unceasing communion with God in the heart is increasingly fulfilled in the seeking after unceasing prayer of the heart. This is the meaning of salvation. Not some future blessing if we are good, but union with God now, by the divine life and energy of the indwelling Holy Spirit which heals all our spiritual sickness, produces fruit of the Holy Spirit, and fills us with light and love.


  • The purpose of prayer isn’t so that God can do what I want. It is for me to conform my will to His will.

    Prayer when offered with love and sincerity to God, is meant to change me and allow my love for Him to grow. The more I love God, the more I conform to His will by following His commandments.

    Imagine if all of us would conform to His will! There would be no murder, no adultery, no jealousy...only love and goodness. So, in a sense, yes ....prayer does change the world .... one person at a time.
  • So, it is not about us asking God to do something for us? Because, for the most part, he just doesn't answer.
    If it is all about spiritual guidance, why is it so commonplace in Churches for people to ask God for things?

    I hope you all get what I am saying.
  • Hi Raafat, so glad to hear from you again.

    Fr Peter gave this explaination above:

    But in the context of the Christian spiritual life it has the sense of entering into God’s presence, to meet with him in the heart, and to commune with him. True prayer already produces that which the heart desires, the experience of union with God and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We do not need to ask for these things, rather our turning to God in prayer and seeking to enter his presence is already answered by his light and love in which we find ourselves immersed when we pray.

    Prayer is about what is in the heart as Fr Peter further explains:

    This secret place is the heart. It is that aspect of our humanity which was created for union with God, and to be the place where the Holy Spirit dwells within us. It is that deepest part of our being and identity, which reaches out unceasingly for God even when every other part of our life is filled with distractions and overwhelmed with difficulties and sin.

    I would like to add that prayer is communion with God and this communion expresses itself in our church liturgy.


  • Ahhh, I see now.
    I get it. I, finally, get it.

    Prayer is not a request but a meeting of sorts, is this right?
  • Yes, praising God, doing His will ( supporting others for His good and love).
  • Benefit, to be more like Him in what we do. To be Christ-like and He shows us how through the church.
  • I get it now.
    Thanks!
  • Good, hope and pray you are well!
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