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Seeds of the Kingdom

Some of the Secrets of Unanswered Prayers

by Ian Coates

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
1 Peter 3:12, NIV

How often do we feel that our prayers have not been answered or perhaps even heard? We seem to have no response and there seems to be no solution to our problem and we start to lose our faith.

This is a situation I have come across many times in ministering to others. People know that what they are being tempted to believe about God is not true, but they are left with trying to reconcile an impossible problem. Many believers have gone away from God because they have believed lies about Him, instead of clinging to the truth and facing the reality of their condition.

In John 8:31-32 Jesus says that if we ‘hold to His teaching, we really are His disciples, and then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free’. But what is the truth and how will it set us free? Jesus is the Truth but we also need to see the truth about ourselves and at that point when ‘Truth meets truth’ is when our lives begin to change. It’s only when we see ourselves as sinners and repent and turn from our sin that the truth of who Jesus is can bring about the changes in our lives that leads to salvation for eternity.

So it is with the other issues in life when our prayers do not seem to be answered! Let me show you some of the secrets to unanswered prayers!

In Isaiah 59:2 it says that ‘because of your sins God has hidden His face so that He will not hear’. But in Proverbs 15:29 it says ‘that He hears the prayer of the righteous.’ Are there sins that are hidden from us? ‘If I cherish sin in my heart the Lord would not listen’ (Psalm 66:18). So we see that sin and iniquity will be a barrier to us hearing God.

Do we do the things that please Him? 1 John 3:22 ‘we receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him’ and what about the idol in our hearts of Ezekiel 14:3? God says ‘should I let them enquire of me at all?’ We can soon begin to see that God wants to speak to us but it’s our issues that can so often get in the way.

I often ask the question of audiences “how many of you worry or are anxious?” Nearly all respond that they do. If we look at Scripture in Matthew 6 and Philippians 4 we see that this will separate us from God. And what about our selfishness? In Proverbs 21:13 we read that if we ignore the poor we will cry out and not be answered!

There have been a number of ‘seeds’ talking about forgiveness. It’s important that we don’t have an unforgiving spirit if we are to hear from God - read Mark 11:25! Unforgiveness is a definite blockage to the Holy Spirit and we can relay many stories of transformed lives as forgiveness has been expressed.

Finally, what about our motives for speaking to God? In James 4:3 we see that it’s possible for us not to receive because we ask with wrong motives as pleasure seekers!

Prayer: Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm139).In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ian Coates Ian has served with Ellel Ministries since its inception. He is part of the Executive Leadership team and is Centre Director at Ellel Grange, where the team will soon be hosting the nine week Flagship School. His sensitive but direct teaching helps people to face the real issues in their lives without feeling they are being pressurised or condemned.


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