Have you been praying about a specific situation only to feel like your words are falling on deaf ears? Maybe you’re praying for a friend to be saved or a family member in poor health. These are all good things, so why does it feel like God isn’t answering?
We’ve all experienced this from time to time. It’s frustrating, especially in our consumer culture when we expect things to happen with the click of a mouse. However, God doesn’t operate on our time table. That’s not to say He isn’t listening, even though it sure feels like it at times.
It can be discouraging to pour out your heart and soul to the Lord in prayer and not get an answer. Let’s look at a few reasons God might be making you wait.
Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
What’s the difference between sin & iniquity? Sin is missing the mark of God’s perfection. Iniquity adds on to that – not only do we sin, but we plan to sin. In other words, everyone stumbles in their walk with God, but iniquity is when we stumble and stay wallowing in the mud. If you’re living a life you know isn’t pleasing to God and are unwilling to change, then I’d encourage you to confess that secret sin and get on the right path with God again.
Psalm 66:18 tells us, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Read that again. It doesn’t say the Lord might not listen. No, this passage makes it clear. God won’t listen to your prayers while you’re still knowingly holding on to sin. Not just holding on to it, but cherishing your sin.
How do you know if you’re cherishing your sin? Take a moment to consider this question: Do you love your sin more than you love Jesus? I’m guessing your immediate response was close to mine – no, absolutely not! I love Jesus! However, when I take a closer look at my actions, my attitude, my heart, I often find that I place lots of things above my love for Christ. If there’s a sin you’re unwilling to confess, then you’re cherishing it, protecting it, and loving it more than you love Jesus. Convicting? Yes. True? Also yes.
The good news is, healing and forgiveness is only a confession away. While God might not listen to certain prayers while you’re living in sin, He absolutely listens to the heart of His children when they repent and come back into the fold.