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Why are our prayers not answered?

by Catherine Moran –

Francesco Alberti – Unsplash.com

The life of prayer is a duty of every Christian and is the secret of our happiness.  Concerning our prayers in John 16:23, our Lord said, “Amen, Amen I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you.” Unfortunately many people feel their prayers are not answered.  Many complain, “I pray but my prayers are never answered.”  St. James in his epistle (4:3) gives us the answer to this question: “Alas we pray, and we do not obtain, because we pray ill.”

We all need to ask ourselves several questions about our prayer life: “Why do I pray,” and then, “How do I pray?”

First, do you pray with joy knowing that you are honoring God by your prayer? 

Second, do you pray knowing to whom you are asking for help and how necessary it is to ask the good God for all that you need?

Third, do you pray knowing how great the spiritual blessings are that you are asking for, and with a heart-felt desire to obtain these blessings?

Fourth, do you pray with perseverance, not allowing yourself to be discouraged if your requests are not immediately answered?

Fifth, do you pray with humility, humbling yourself in the presence of God, acknowledging His greatness and your lowliness?

And sixth, do you pray with confidence, reflecting again on the words of our Lord, “Amen, Amen I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you.”  

Reflect on these six points and then embrace the example of Jesus, who is the model and example of a life of prayer. Our Lord prayed unceasingly showing us the way to pray. During our earthly life our needs are great and never ending, so, too, our prayer life must be the same. But if you pray out of habit with little or no thought, then the continual preoccupation with worldly affairs will overwhelm you.

Our Blessed Lord has shown you that prayer is the secret of happiness. His life of prayer began at the Incarnation and continued throughout His earthly days, during His Passion and death on the cross and still today in the tabernacle, where He waits for you to come to Him.  When you pray well, you will find yourself living in the company of the Most Holy Trinity, just as Jesus did when He walked on earth. It is in this Divine Presence that you can pour out your heart and desires to God the Father, who created you; to God the Son who redeemed you and prays unceasingly for you in all the tabernacles of the world and in heaven; to God the Holy Spirit who pursues you with His holy inspirations and love.

During your prayers you are consoled in your troubles and sorrows; you are helped in your difficulties and you are given a taste of the heavenly joys of paradise. Always remember that the souls of those who do not pray are filled with sadness and negativity, while those who pray every day are filled with joy, serenity and love, which their faces reflect and their presence conveys to everyone they meet in their day. It is one of the primary ways we can witness and evangelize to others. Have you met someone who reflects this peace? Perhaps you received the fruits of their prayer life.

Do you through your prayer life reflect this same peace and joy throughout your day?  Resolve today to ask God for this spirit of prayer, to pray well and to ‘pray always.’ (Lk. 18:1)

Katie Moran is the president of the World Apostolate of Fatima, Pittsburgh Byzantine Division. She is an author, speaker and regular contributor to Soul Magazine and to our blog.

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5 Comments
  1. Please pray for my da in law, just diagnosed with breast cancer. Pray they will be able to help her because it is in the early stages.
    Pray for me that I will have a negative cat scan next week. I have breathing problems.
    Pray for our family to be well.

  2. I pray everyday and I don’t have joy. I think the prayers are fruitless unless I pray for someone else. Then God seems to say yes. When I pray for myself it’s usually no.

  3. It is true my father for most of his life always prayed as as my mother. They shared a good life and prayed everyday with each other. I don’t pray as often as I should and I find myself very negative and even angry. My niece was murdered 3 yes ago by her boyfriend and I am so angry about this now. She was only 35 and had two young children. Now they growing up without their mother has been difficult for them. Grief for an adult is hard can’t begin knowhow hard it is for a5yr old now 8 and13yr old now 16. So hard to know what to say and do for them. I try my best to support my younger sister but it has been hard. So this NY I will do better at praying even tojust have peace in my heart and forgive the man who killed Nicole! Please pray for me and my family. Thank you

  4. God answers all our prayers. Just not in the way or time period we may want. We must trust that His Will is the best for all of us, including those we don’t want to pray for.

    • This is so true. As said in the Our Father, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Even Jesus the night before he died asked His father to take this cup of suffering from Me, but not My will, but Yours be done. Every time I have prayed for something, I try to use humility and patience and perseverance and ask God please if it is Your will, I’d really like this. He has always answered me, not necessarily in time or way I expect, but definitely answers me. Sometimes it can take months or years, but it happens. I try also to pray for things that I know are good for me and others. Like giving me wisdom and strength to best teach my children about Him and raise them properly. He blessed me with the beautiful vocation of wife and mother which I knew was my future even as a child. He blessed me with a wonderful (not perfect, but great guy) husband and 3 amazing children (I even asked if possible to have one redhead…He gave me 3!), who each have some special needs and the grace to do my best to raise them. I also prayed that I could be home with them as for me I think I do a better job that way (I know not for everyone, but true for me), and he made it happen later than I expected, but it happened. So be willing to accept His will, be humble, and don’t quit, and He WILL answer!

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