Prayers can be the most religious element of every religion simply because how it is done overshadows why it is done and to whom it is done; the externalities of prayer overshadowing its functionality and essence.
This discuss has taken many things for granted. These include:
- How to pray is already clear.
- Why individuals pray is their business.
- We pray to the God who answers prayers.
- We all profess faith in the God who answers prayers.
- We all pray believing that the prayers will be answered.
In troubleshooting, it is a commonsense rule that one begins from the simplest and ridiculous causes before one assumes the worst and that which is more complex. Which for example means if a television set is not powering on, you start troubleshooting not by unscrewing the set but by trying the power button, checking if the tv is properly plugged into the socket or if there is electricity supplied at all. It can also mean a fuse on the plug is blown or something more ridiculous like a battery missing from the remote control! Often times most problems get solved at this ridiculously simple stage so we are using this idea to troubleshoot our problem: Unanswered prayers.
Now that we have assumed a common mindset and understanding, then I am free to tell you in personal terms what I observed as the simple reasons for why prayers go unanswered.
The following list is why I believe most of our prayers go unanswered and each preceding reason serves (in my opinion) as the cause for the succeeding reason. The implication of this is that, if we are able to solve the first, the second becomes more easier and so on to the fifth. We can also say that in essence the first is more harder than the second. If this is really the case, you be the judge.
- What I’m praying for is not impossible
- I have alternatives
- I am not desperate
- I am not persistent
- I rarely pray
1. What I’m praying for is not impossible.
You read right! Who goes to prayer thinking how impossible their prayer points are? Well I don’t usually do that, do you?
This is to me the first simple reason my prayers go unanswered. I go about speaking of how my God specializes in impossibility yet I never asked Him to do the impossible. Do I really believe?
Let’s pause and think. Are we not the cause of our unanswered prayers? Why I ask is because we have built up a filter in our heart that filters what we ask in prayer based on how possible the request is. This filter is somewhat good but we use it for a bad purpose. The last time someone was proclaimed dead and you did not pray, is it not because you have already filtered it as impossible? Yeah, that is why you should have prayed! You didn’t pray because you know it is impossible, I did not pray also for the same reason, but that’s what we profess God does _the impossible. Because of this filter we now have very few issues that come through the filter as impossible and that is also partly due to the fact that we have alternatives.
2. I have alternatives.
Many things that used to be impossible are now very possible, because they may be impossible for me at the time, they are not likely to be impossible for my friend, so I picked up the phone and “phone a friend”. There are many things I know but I’ve forgotten that I used to rely on the Holy Spirit to remind me, but who needs the Holy Spirit where there is internet? I just google it.
I may not be able to afford a $4000 bill, that’s just impossible but well, I happened to have a rich uncle Bill.
This is how our minds have been programmed to see issues and through this mindset, what used to be impossible has become possible through alternatives. I go to prayer knowing that if God likes let him answer and if he likes he may not because I can always ask uncle Warren afterwards. Well, it appears God feels you could as well ask your uncles, why be a bother.
3. I am not desperate.
I am in reality hardly desperate. That confession is one of the reasons my prayers go unanswered. God can as well keep doing all the things he’s busy doing, because I’m not in desperate need. I don’t tell God that, but that’s what my heart tells him, and that’s what my situations tell me_ they remain the same. It is only in the few instances that I prayed in desperation that I get immediate answers. If not for those times, I would probably be doubtful that God answers prayer. God do answer prayers it just happens that only few persons are desperate.
There is no way you will have an alternative means of solving a problem that the pressure of the problem and it’s urgency will not be reduced. This is like having a double headed tap, when the two heads are on, the pressure is reduced compared to when only one of the taps is on.
4. I am not persistent.
I am not persistent because I am not desperate. I am not desperate because I have alternatives which already made impossible possible for me.
The day we all get to take God as the only help we will ever need and will ever get, that’s the day our persistence will be revived. What is there to prove that a man is desperate except that he is persistently looking for the solution to his one problem that made him desperate in the first place?
Oh God! Will you find faith on earth at your return? This is the paraphrase of the cry of Jesus when he told the parable to teach that men should be importunate in prayer. We must begin to measure our faith by our persistence with God in the place of prayer.
5. I rarely pray.
I wonder what God counts as prayer and I wonder if what I do and calls prayer amounts to praying before him.
There are many opportunities to pray, so many of us take those and we in our own reckoning, believe we pray. The honest thing to say is that we rarely pray. We must begin to count as prayer, that prayer and series of prayers prayed that God answered.
I am not saying that the prayers yet to be answered are not prayers but they might not be prayers if they are not persistent, desperate, single-hearted, impossible requests. If prayer is thus defined, the question is how often do we pray?