Does God answer prayer?

Because life can be difficult, many people pray because they hope God will solve their problems. However, even when we pray, we may wonder if God cares or has the power to answer our prayers.

Thankfully, the Bible says that God is deeply concerned for us, and that he has the power to answer all prayer. However, because He loves us, He doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want—but he always answers. Because he is like a wise, loving parent, he will only give us what is best for us. So sometimes he says yes, sometimes no, and sometimes wait.

But sometimes there are other reasons why we don’t get what we ask for.

Sometimes God doesn’t say yes because there is sin in our lives, which causes a broken relationship with God. In Isaiah 59:2b, God tells the Israelites, "Because of your sins, [God] has turned away and will not listen anymore.”

Thankfully, this does not mean that God can’t hear our prayers when we are not living how we should, but that the most loving thing for God to do is to say no to our requests until they we admit our need to change and follow his ways.

Sometimes when God doesn't answer prayer, he wants us to be persistent and to keep coming to him. In the Bible, Matthew 7:7, Jesus says "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened."

Perhaps you’re thinking, but this doesn't make sense. If God already knows what I need, why doesn't he just give me what I ask for right away?

Sometimes God has to work out the circumstances in our lives to answer our prayer at just the right time. But most importantly, God wants to build a relationship with us through prayer; he wants to be the friend that you talk to often.

Maybe you’re worried about using the right words when you talk to God. The good news is that he doesn’t care about the words you speak as much as he is with the condition of your heart—he just wants you to be honest with him and talk with him like you would a friend. Therefore, Jesus says you don’t have to try to sound holy or use a lot of words to impress God. (Matthew 6:7-8) All that God asks is that you are honest with him. After all, God knows what we need before we ask Him.

John, one of Jesus' early followers wrote: “And we are confident that [God] hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for" (1 John 5:14-15). The key to receiving “yes answers” from our prayers is to pray in agreement with God’s plans for our lives. You can learn what pleases God by studying the Bible, which will help you know him more.