Why don’t we see more miracles in the body of Y’shua? Why don’t we see more answered prayers? When we read the Scriptures, we see that YHVH is not powerless, He has been and still is doing miracles. If we don’t experience this in our own lives, it’s up to us to search for a reason why. We have written about some aspects of unanswered prayer before in The mystery of unanswered prayer. We focused mostly on spiritual hindrances.
In this article, we will look at other hindrances to answered prayer.This may confront you as it confronted me. Do we really have faith? Do we believe that YHVH is the King of the Universe or do we limit Him with our perception of what He can do?
Every person fights a battle, we all have a strong man we struggle with. For some it is health issues, for some financial, for another it is marital problems or issues with children. Some have sin in their lives they struggle with and some fight more than one of these at the same time. You know your own battle and you also know if you can testify of YHVH’s miracle working power. You will know if YHVH answers your prayers or if your prayer list is just growing without any change or victory. If this is the case, we need to know why because this is contrary to what YHVH promises us in His word.
YHVH’s Word is full of promises of help in need and deliverance from trouble.
11 â€˜For I know the plans that I have for you,â€™ declares YHVH, â€˜plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 â€˜Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 â€˜You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.â€
17 The righteous cry, and YHVH hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 YHVH is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But YHVH delivers him out of them all.
YHVH keeps His promises!
19 Elohim is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (ESV)
If this is true and we know it is, what is wrong if we don’t see changes in our situation? There are a few possible answers to this question.
We do not ask
We often don’t ask YHVH for help, because we either assume our need is too big for Him to meet, or we just don’t think about asking Him. We try to solve everything ourselves, sometimes even by unlawful means.
2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
Yet Y’shua tells us through HIS Word that we are to ask according to YHVH’s will.
1 John 5:14
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Sometimes we do ask, but with the wrong motives.
We ask with the wrong motives or not according to His will
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Our motives are important. If our focus is our own pleasure, it is very likely that YHVH will not answer our prayers. This is where the “name it-claim-it-prosperity” people have it wrong. YHVH is not a genie with a big fat tummy we can rub whenever we want something. We should be asking with the right motives. He will answer us, if what we ask for is according to His will.
1 John 5:14â€“15
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
How do we know if something is according to His will? We test it against Scripture. YHVH would not give you your request if it will lead you away from Him or if it is contrary to His Word. If you were to pray to get extra hours to work on the Sabbath, that is contrary to His Word. Changes are He will not answer you. If you pray for a brand new Ferrari, changes are YHVH would not answer you because it is something just for your pleasure. He also would not grant your request to have your neighbor’s wife. Each request we make, we are to weigh against His Word. So, before you say YHVH never answers my prayers, consider what you pray for.
Sometimes we do ask, but without having any faith.
We ask without faith
6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from YHVH, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
When we doubt we invalidate our own prayers. However, when we ask without doubting, anything is possible.
21 And Y’shua answered and said to them, â€œTruly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, â€˜Be taken up and cast into the sea,â€™ it will happen. 22 â€œAnd all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.â€
This “all things” must be according to YHVH’s will and not asked with the wrong motives as we have seen in the previous section. We cannot take this one verse out of overall scriptural context and try to manipulate YHVH by “claiming” things we want.
Prayer offered up in faith, for example, will restore the one who is sick.
15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and YHVH will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.
Persistence is also required.
To persist is to keep on asking in faith.
3 â€œThere was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, â€˜Give me legal protection from my opponent.â€™ 4 â€œFor a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, â€˜Even though I do not fear Elohim nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.â€™ â€ 6 And the Master said, â€œHear what the unrighteous judge said; 7 now, will not Elohim bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 â€œI tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?â€
We are to persist in prayer and eagerly watch.
2 Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my Elohim, For to You I pray. 3 In the morning, O YHVH, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
To persist is faith. The alternative is to ask once and give up.
Even if we do all the above, our prayers might not be answered. Why is that? There might be hindrances in our prayers being answered. If there is unrighteousness in our lives, YHVH will not hear us when we call out to Him. We are to live pure, set apart lives to Him. We cannot live in sin while at the same time expect YHVH to act on our behalf.
We live in unrighteousness
Sin is unrighteous and to reject YHVH’s commandments, is lawlessness. YHVH, our Heavenly Father, requires obedience from us. When we live unrighteously, He will not hear us.
9 He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.
18 If I regard wickedness in my heart, YHVH will not hear;
15 â€œSo when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.
31 â€œWe know that Elohim does not hear sinners; but if anyone is Elohim-fearing and does His will, He hears him.
King Saul did unrighteousness and we don’t read that he ever repented. Because of this YHVH’s Spirit departed from him, and YHVH did not answer his prayers.
1 Samuel 16:14
14 Now the Spirit of YHVH departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from YHVH terrorized him.
1 Samuel 28:6
6 When Saul inquired of YHVH, YHVH did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets.
Saul was distressed about this because war was coming and he was afraid. He did not know what to do and YHVH was not answering him. He then made another plan. He went to a medium, asked her to call up Samuel and asked him what to do. What Saul did here is forbidden by YHVH.
31 â€˜Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am YHVH your Elohim.
When YHVH does not answer our prayers, we should not do our own thing, in this case that which was forbidden by YHVH. This is one area where we can easily become entrapped, especially when it comes to healing. We may be so desperate, we may try anything. There are many new-age practices that are done by believers under the alternative health care umbrella. These practices are occult in nature. I am talking here about the practicing of yoga, reflexology, pendulums, crystals and so-called healing frequencies. The source of healing is not YHVH, but demonic. Some people also invoke YHVH’s name or Hebrew words and believe that speaking or repeating this will bring about healing. This too is a form of sorcery. Whenever we put our faith in anything or anyone other than YHVH, we practice sorcery or idolatry.
This practice of repeating YHVH’s name or certain words or phrases is known as repetitive or contemplative prayer.
Contemplative prayer is unscriptural and is based on eastern religious practices. You can read more about it at the link under the reference section. Here are two quotes from that article to tell you more about this practice.
Contemplative prayer begins with â€œcentering prayer,â€ a meditative practice where the practitioner focuses on a word and repeats that word over and over for the duration of the exercise. The purpose is to clear oneâ€™s mind of outside concerns so that Godâ€™s voice may be more easily heard. After the centering prayer, the practitioner is to sit still, listen for direct guidance from God, and feel His presence.
Contemplative prayer is no different than the meditative exercises used in Eastern religions and New Age cults. Its most vocal supporters embrace an open spirituality among adherents from all religions, promoting the idea that salvation is gained by many paths, even though Christ Himself stated that salvation comes only through Him (John 14:6). 2
Contemplative prayer or any practice related to it is in opposition to the Word and should be avoided.
7 â€œAnd when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
Please don’t confuse this with persistent prayer. To persist is not to give up, whereas in repetitive or contemplative prayer the same word or phrase is repeated in order to get into a meditative or “empty mind” state.
As I said before, if we practice unrighteousness, YHVH will not even hear our prayers. These practices are occult and idolatrous in nature. Be aware of this! Don’t fall for this even if people tell you about the great results they are seeing.
Did you know that if you entertain these kinds of things in your life that YHVH will cause you to be deceived? We have written about this previously. How mixed worship will lead to your deception. To put your trust in anyone or anything other than YHVH is mixed worship and will lead to you being deceived. We are to live pure, righteous lives.
YHVH hears the prayer of the righteous
On the other hand, if we live righteously, and do the things pleasing in YHVH’s sight, He will hear us.
1 John 3:22
22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
15 The eyes of YHVH are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.
29 YHVH is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
Apart from being obedient to YHVH out of love, this too should encourage us to live our lives pure in line with His instructions. We cannot do a little sin on the side and think that YHVH will hear us when we need Him. We are to work on our relationship with Him always and live in such a way that it is pleasing to Him.
Nothing is impossible for YHVH
One thing we should remember is that YHVH is the Creator of the Universe, nothing is impossible for Him. He has made all things and can do all things. We tend to limit what YHVH can do with our thinking. We think Him incapable of certain things.
37 â€œFor nothing will be impossible with Elohim.â€
14 â€œIs anything too difficult for YHVH? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.â€
17 â€˜Ah YHVH Elohim! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,
26 And looking at them Y’shua said to them, â€œWith people this is impossible, but with Elohim all things are possible.â€
We serve an omnipotent, omnipresent Elohim. Nothing is impossible with YHVH. He is the Creator of heaven and earth and all in it. He designed and created the most complicated live forms and gave it life, yet we doubt his ability to help or heal us. When our prayers are not answered, we are sometimes to blame. Sometimes we just don’t think to ask YHVH for help or we think it is too big or difficult for Him. Other times, we ask with the wrong motives, or for things that are not YHVH’s will for us, or we doubt if he will hear us. Another reason for unanswered prayer is sin in our lives. So if we live holy lives, have faith in YHVH, ask according to His will with the right motives, He will answer our prayers. He said so, He will do it.
The faith part is sometimes our greatest challenge. We will write more about faith next time.
7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for YHVH; I will wait for the Elohim of my salvation. My Elohim will hear me.
- All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Yâ€™shua for Jesus.