A common question that people often ask is, “why doesn’t God answer My prayers.” By asking that question it indicates something about ourselves. At the very least, it indicates that we are probably frustrated, and we are trying to control the conversations we have with God. It can also mean we don’t understand, we lack faith, or we feel self-important. There is no mystery about God answering us, because we know God loves us and He always answers our prayers. His answers are always one of three answers: Yes, No or Not Yet! Our problems come with the way that we listen and with not accepting His answer. We know that prayer is an intimate conversation with God through Christ. This conversation is like a conversation with your best friend. We talk with Him, and then we must listen.
In 1970 Janis Joplin, American singer, musician and one of the most successful and widely known female rock stars of her era, recorded the last song before her death entitled, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz.” In her song, she asks God to prove his love for her by buying her a Mercedes-Benz automobile, a color TV and a "night on the town." So, you want a new car, boat, 4-wheeler, better neighbors, nicer house, more money, better job? … the list goes on. Can you pray for these things? – yes you can, after all, He has said, “ask Me for anything and I will give it to you.” (Mt 7:7). Our problem is that we keep asking God in the same way as in that song. It isn’t that God can’t or won’t grant us those things, but God already knows our needs better than we do. He knows what brings us closer to Him, and He knows what is harmful for us and our relationship with Him. Our prayers need to be for our actual needs, and we need to pray for those things that He has promised to give or do for us. Are you asking for things you want instead of things that you need?
We as New Testament people are recipients of all of the Old Testament promises and New Testament promises because of Jesus. God has promised us many things, and He will grant what He has promised. Old Testament promises that are still being fulfilled for us are: If we search for Him, we will find Him and when we pray, He is near us (Deu 4:7, Deu 4:29); God is faithful, and He promised that His love will never fail (1 Ch 16:34). Along with that He promised blessing for all who delight in His Word (Ps 1:1-3). With Jesus came the promise of eternal life if we trust Him (Jn 4:14) and we are His (Jn 10:28). Jesus has promised to return, and we will be with him always (Jn 14:2-3). If we confess to Him, he will forgive our sins (Co 1:13-14, 1 Jn 1:9). We have also been told to forgive others and we will be forgiven Lk 6:37). On top of that God will give us wisdom for any situation (James 1:5). All the above and many other promises from God are in the bible. If we pray the promises that God has given to us, if we love God, He will answer our prayers for our good according to His purpose (Ro 8:28), and Jesus will plead for you and your condition.
We want God to shout out the answer to our prayer, but God rarely speaks to us in words, but rather His Spirit whispers to our spirit in the depths of our soul, and we feel that in our being. If we are in regular conversation with God, we can feel His answer as hesitation, intuition, inspiration, déjà vu, etc. We then can proceed in a direction which we believe God is sending us. God can talk directly to us in dreams, in person or through other means, like he did with Abraham, Moses, Job, Elijah, Jesus and others in the Bible. But it seems that He does that only when it affects more than just that person, or when a particular task is needed to accomplish His will.
The other part of God answering prayers is Spiritual Maturity. When a child is young their parents will not always give them what they may want. After all, sweets curb the appetite, and then you don’t have the taste for wholesome food. When they grow up, if they learned well the lessons of youth, they become a mature person. The same is true with prayer. A spiritually mature Christian has spent time reading the Bible (Book of Wisdom). They have a routine of prayer and contemplation in silence, and they worship regularly. They also keep in touch with God as they go about their daily routine.
The Disciple group suggests that when you pray you incorporate the promises of God that are in the Bible, and you can then be assured that He will grant your prayer. We also suggest that in your prayers when you are done asking for what you need, allow sufficient time for God to answer you by sitting in silence, thinking about what you have asked and what your concerns are that prompted your prayer. You can be assured by God that He loves you and will answer your prayer.