Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers?

Daily Reflection – 3/2/2023

Sacred Scripture

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)


We all know this passage of scripture. It has been written about through the centuries. It has become a song. It is the promise that each of us wants to believe.

In fact, it is one of the pillars of the Christian faith. Yet, it is quickly pushed aside when a negative event colors or crashes our life. I do not even remember the number of times a parishioner has said to me (in one form or another): “ Why didn’t God answer my prayers? Why did he allow this to happen?”

The simple truth is that God is always there. God does love us more than any person can describe. God does not cause “bad” things to happen. But we also know that God will allow our faith to be tested.

Perhaps this Lent, at this very moment, each of us needs to stop and reflect on our conversations with God or, more accurately our prayer life with God.

Is it constant or daily or weekly? When we pray, are we opening our hearts to God? Are we listening to the response of the Holy Spirit within us? Is praying simply rote?

Praying in the name of Jesus is not some sort of magic spell through which we can gain anything we want. Praying in the name of Jesus is a desire to see the world like he does, a desire to want the same things that he does, for ourselves and others, and then to ask God for those things in accordance with his will.

Aligning our will with the will of God is a necessary action for our prayer life to be alive.

Prayer is the active pursuit of God over a period of time, not a series of one-off requests. God wants us to keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. And then, as our relationship with God changes over that period of time and our intimacy with God grows deeper and we begin to ask for the things that God desires to give, then Jesus’ words in verse 8 come true for us: “Everyone who keeps on asking will receive, anyone who keeps on seeking will find, and the door will be opened to those who keep on knocking”.

Think about the wording again: Ask, Seek, Knock.

First, Jesus says, “Ask, and you will receive”. That sentence suggests that both parties are in proximity with each other and that a conversation is already going on between them.

But then Jesus says, “Seek, and you will find”. That sentence suggests a distance between both parties and that the person making the request must be more proactive in actually finding God. Sometimes, it is like that in our relationship with God. Perhaps we have to seek out his will before we ask for something.

And then Jesus says, “Knock, and the door will be opened”. That sentence suggests that we must formally ask for access to him. And that too can be the case in prayer where we really do need to be reminded that we are in a relationship with our Father but that, also, our Father is the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe.

 Prayer is a privilege – but it is also a conversation, an intimate encounter with God and it is the bedrock of our relationship with him. God is always there for us; he will always hear us. But the question this passage asks us is about self-examination.

If we are proactive in pursuing God in a manner appropriate to where we currently are at, then our prayer lives will be transformed and our relationship with God will grow deeper and deeper as each day passes.

Prayer of The Day

“Dear Lord of infinite wisdom and knowledge, help me to always place my trust in Your goodness and care for me. Help me to daily turn to You in my need and to trust that You will answer my prayer according to Your perfect will. I place my life into Your hands, dear Lord.”

Daily Note

Jesus is saying to us that the driving motivation in our lives should be to develop our relationship with the Lord and to seek our happiness in Him. As we find our happiness in a relationship with God, then our desires in life will change and the things we pray for will change and our desires will become more aligned to the desires of God.

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