5 Reasons Why God Isn’t Answering Your Prayers

Do you ever feel like God isn’t answering your prayers?

I heard from a reader recently who asked “How long am I supposed to pray if God continues to ignore me?”

It might feel like God is ignoring you when He doesn’t answer your prayers immediately or in the way you’re hoping. But Scripture offers us insights as to why God might appear to be silent.

One verse that I’ve found most helpful in my own life – when it comes to unanswered prayer – is Psalm 84:11, in which the Psalmist said “No good thing will [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I find three principles (and loads of encouragement) in this verse for why God might not be answering my prayer or yours.

  1. God’s idea of a “good thing” might be different than yours. You might be praying for a husband, a job you’ve been hoping for, or to win the lottery. Why would God not give you any or all of the three? Because even though you might feel it’s good for you to be married, or to be working in a job you like, or to have more money, God’s opinion might differ. Just because something makes us happy doesn’t mean it’s good for us, eternally. And God has our eternal best in mind.

 In Matthew 7:11 Jesus said:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”

We want our children to be happy, but not at the expense of their health, and therefore we don’t give them candy at every meal. We want them to hold down a good job, but we won’t do that job for them because learning responsibility and the consequences of a bad decision are more healthy and good for them in the long run. Trust that God, your Heavenly Father, knows what is best for you. And while you may be heartbroken at His “no,” He may very well be sparing you a bigger heartache down the road.

  1. God is waiting for you to be obedient. Scripture exhorts husbands to be considerate of their wives and treat them with respect so that their prayers aren’t hindered (1 Peter 3:7). And Psalm 84:11 says “no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Are you walking uprightly? Is your life not only obedient, but surrendered to Him? If not, God may be withholding or refusing to acknowledge your prayers to get you back into line with His will and purposes.
  1. It isn’t the right time. God has three answers. Yes, no, and wait. Because He can see what’s eternally best for us, and He can also see what’s coming down the road (and we can’t), trust His judgment. Don’t second guess Him. His timing is always better than yours. If you are walking uprightly and what you’re asking for is truly a good thing then, according to Psalm 84:11, God is not withholding after all. It just isn’t time.
  1. You aren’t asking in faith. How we pray is just as important as what we pray for. In  James 1:5-8 we are told:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

Furthermore, Hebrews 11:6 says,

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

So ask in faith and without hesitation or doubting. God may be waiting for you to truly believe He can do what you are asking for.

  1. God has something better for you than what you are asking for. This is my favorite reason for why God says “no” but we so often forget to consider it. Because He is good and knows what’s eternally best for us, and doesn’t want us to settle, God sometimes says no or closes a door because He has something better for us that we haven’t even thought to ask for. He is One who can do “immeasurably more” than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Trust His timing. Trust His “no.” And trust His idea of what is eternally best for you. He really is a good father.

Do you believe that?

About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.


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Beverly Jackson
Reply January 16, 2017

Loved this, it home for me and stepped on my toes.How can I make a copy. I am a senior citizen, don't understand about the website question, don't do a whole lot on the computer.

    Reply January 21, 2017

    Hi Beverly,
    Because of copyright issues (no byline with my name on it) my blog isn't set up to print out. But if you would like to keep it printed somewhere in front of you so you can refer to it often, you can highlight the entire text and hit "Ctrl C" (this copies it) and then Open a Word document and hit "Ctrl V" to paste the text into a document where you can print it out. Please then add (By Cindi McMenamin/ www.StrengthForTheSoul.com). Thank you.

Reply January 18, 2017


Mercedes Seliger
Reply January 21, 2017

I was liking what I read until you said Be your teenager's best friend? I don't agree with that at all. My daughter has many friends but she only got one mother I don't need to be her friend when she is a teenager I am her mother Not her friend!!

    Reply January 21, 2017

    Hi Mercedes. I understand where you are coming from if you disagree with that statement on its own. But in the context of a daughter who is transitioning into adulthood it is a concept that moms are wise to consider. When our daughters are young they need us to be a mom, not a girlfriend. But as they get older, we must transition away from mothering and smothering them and act more like a friend in how we talk to them, respond to them, give them advice, and so on or we will drive them away. I know many daughters who become young adults and begin to resent their mothers when their mothers baby them or correct them or continue to treat them as they did when they were children. This is explained more fully in my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter.

{firstname} Glenda Cady{lastname}
Reply January 22, 2017

Just came across your website when searching for some wisdom and understanding. Have many things going on iny life and the lives of my children .You hit on a lot of those issues .Thank you for sharing what God gives you.Inspirational

    Reply January 22, 2017

    Thank you, Glenda, for taking the time to leave a nice comment. Blessings.

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