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21 Days of Prayer and Fasting Devotional – Day 15

Daily Devotional Day 15

“When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers”

Read Romans 8:28-39

We’ve all been there.  Some prayers are answered and some are not.  I’ve prayed for people to be healed and they were and others and there were not.  I’ve prayed for marriages to be healed.  Some were, some were not.  Why do some prayers go unanswered?  Should that discourage us from praying bold, seemingly impossible prayers?

There are a few prayers in the Bible that seem to go unanswered.  Let’s start with Jesus.  He prayed while lying on the ground in anguish, sweating drops of blood to, “let this cup (the crucifixion) pass from me” (Matthew 26:39).  He also prayed for the Father’s will to be done.  Surely God would answer the prayers of His own Son?  Instead of sparing His Son, God gave His Son in death for the sins of the world (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21).  Another prayer in Scripture that seems to go unanswered is that of Paul.  Of course the greatest Biblical author had some pull with God in his prayer life, right?  He prayed three times for God to remove the thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12).  Instead of removing it, God said His grace was sufficient and His power was made perfect in weakness.  Paul went through tons of agonizing events that I’m sure he prayed for God to remove (Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28).  Why didn’t God answer the way they prayed?

Sometimes Jesus doesn’t answer our prayers according to our desires.  But He always fulfills God’s will (1 John 5:14-15).  Does this mean He wants us to suffer?  1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.”  If He cares, then why doesn’t He answer?  I think the answer to that question comes in the previous verse – “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”  God will answer at the proper time.  Paul went from begging for his weakness to boasting in it (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).  Same thing?  No.  Paul understood grace, in the big picture, was all he really needed.  Instead of turning on God when a prayer wasn’t answered He trusted God knew what He was doing and praised Him for grace.  He knew temporary problems wouldn’t even be remembered in eternity. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).  It was “light and momentary affliction” (2 Corinthians 4:17).  God doesn’t enjoy our pain.  He is not cruel. Suffering, trials, pain, and hardships have the opportunity (if seen in eternal perspective) to produce great attributes in us: contentment (James 1:1-3), holiness, righteousness (Hebrews 12), endurance, character, hope (Romans 5:1-5), praise, glory and honor (1 Peter 1:6-7) and much more.

God’s ways and thought are greater than ours (Isaiah 55:11).  The circumstances of life help are opportunities to help us look more like Jesus.  I think Romans 8:28-39 is fitting here:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns?  No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”   No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


  1. Do you trust God when the answer you want doesn’t come?
  2. Do you think God has a bigger plan in the midst of suffering and trials?
  3. What are you facing at this moment that seems unbearable?  Is His grace sufficient – is it enough?
  4. Do you become discouraged in your prayers?


Help me Lord to see the big picture.  I know you are compassionate, slow to anger, and good.  Great is Your faithfulness.  Your love will never be separated from me.  I am more than a conqueror in You because of Your great love and grace.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Church Prayer Request:

Pray for our ministry to Pine Bluff to expand.  Every Friday Night we send a group into the heart of Pine Bluff to love on people.  Would you consider joining them?  Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into the harvest field.  The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few (Luke 10:2).

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

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