A Surprising Cause of Unanswered Prayer

Ever wondered why your prayer request goes unanswered? Scripturally, there are a number of possible answers you might be familiar with:

— sometimes we ask with wrong motives (James 4:3)

— or we do not keep persisting in prayer (Matthew 7:7)

— or maybe the request is just not God’s will  (I John 5:14)

But in Proverbs 21:13 we find another possible solution: “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.”  Perhaps you would be surprised to read that this could be a cause for an unanswered prayer in your life — but that is just what this verse teaches: if you close your ears to the cries of the poor, then you yourself may ask and not be answered!

Have you neglected to care for someone who needed your help? Did you refuse them — or maybe just turn a blind eye to their need? Could it be that God, by not answering your prayer, is showing you what that feels like?  After all, He is more concerned with your character, and the person you are becoming, than any particular request you have in prayer.  His goal for your life is to make you like Himself, caring for people and answering prayers.

So: how do you personally respond to the needs of those you come in contact with? It may have a surprising impact on the way your own prayers get answered!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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