We received a question from one of our readers: Why doesn’t God answer prayers?
Apprehending the answer is a rite of passage.
In the gospel of Matthew in his beautiful Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us three specific points to consider:
6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light (KJV).
6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (ESV).
7:7-8 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened (ESV).
Jesus instructs us to follow a single-eyed point of focus. He tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. He assures us that everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds and to whosoever knocks at the door of heaven, it will be opened.
Yet sometimes it seems as if we are asking and there is nothing to receive; seeking and getting no answer; knocking and nobody’s home.
Don’t be anxious for anything? How do I knock on a door that I can’t find? Where is the kingdom of God and his righteousness anyway? Why does Jesus tell me that everyone who asks receives, but then doesn’t answer my prayers? How can my body be full of light? The struggle is wearing me out!
Remember Beloved, this is a rite of passage; and passage means going from one place to another. It is a journey, a mission, an expedition.
The journey happens on the road from childhood to maturity. It doesn’t have anything to do with how many years we’ve been here, or how many years it’s been since we were saved, or how long we’ve been struggling. It has to do with our relationship with Christ.
Jesus calls us to intimacy with him. He says, “…Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away” (Song of Songs 2:10b KJV).
He calls us to rest in him: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 ESV).
He calls us to talk with him: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord…” (Isaiah 1:18 ESV).
He calls us to go with him: “…Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19b ESV).
Jesus says, Rise up! Come to me, talk with me, follow me! I will wash you white as snow, I will give you rest, I will transform you.