This study is in answer to a question asked at a recent Wednesday night prayer meeting, “Are there prayers God doesn’t hear?”

Because God is God… He is all-knowing (Omniscient) and in that sense He hears all prayers that are prayed.  Not only that, He knows every thought every person who has ever lived BEFORE they thought it.  The real question is not God’s hearing in terms of deafness in the human sense.  Rather it has to do with Him choosing to ignore prayer for a number of reasons.  This is what I will address… the reasons God chooses to ignore some prayers and listen to others.  A side-bar to this question could be why God answers “No” to some prayers and thereby people think He didn’t “hear” their prayer.

Relationship To God Through Christ.  The only way any person has access to God is through Jesus Christ.  To be heard by God Jesus Christ must be a person’s Lord and Savior… they must be a Christian (John 9:31).  Otherwise access to God is denied.  This includes prayers that are prayed by anyone who is not a Christian (John 14:6; 1 Tim 2:5).  Sentimentality does not negate this truth (The prayers of children, people of other religions but are sincere, etc).  The first prayer God “hears” and answers positively is the prayer for salvation.  Cornelius is a case study as found in Acts 10:1-8, 22-26; 11:12-14.

Conduct And Attitude.  In Isaiah 1:12-15 God chooses to ignore prayer because of sinful conduct.  Due to how people have treated others scandalously, God rejects (“Doesn’t hear”) their prayers (Is 58:3-10 and Psalm 66:18 {Attitude}).

Human Relationships.  When a husband does not treat his wife with respect and honor God ignores (“Doesn’t hear”) their prayer as found in 1 Peter 3:7 and Malachi 2:13-16.  Regardless of a wife’s conduct, a husband is to love his wife in the same way that Jesus loves His bride… the Church… as found in Ephesians 5:25.

Lack of Faith.  God does not answer (“Hear”) doubting prayer as found in Ja 1:6-8 and Heb 11:6.

Empty Prayers.  Prayer must come from a heart that genuinely cries out to God (Matthew 6:7).  If prayers are lifted up to God that are nothing more than “vain repetitions,” God chooses to ignore those requests… AKA “Does not ‘hear’ them.”

Other Elements To Consider.  Just because an answer is delayed does not mean God is ignoring the person who is praying.

 In Daniel 10:12-14 demons prevented an angel from getting to Daniel to bring the answer to prayer.  Sometimes a delayed answer is not God ignoring us but rather the result of the spiritual war recorded in Ephesians 6:12.

A “No” answer from God does not mean He didn’t “hear” the prayer, but that He chose to answer in a partially negative manner.  God denied Jesus’ and Paul’s requests.  Jesus was completely abandoned by God (So we wouldn’t be!) but He strengthened Paul by providing His all-sufficient grace (2 Cor 12:7-10).