Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers?

Morning friend,

Today’s Question: 

God wants to save everyone, but He also doesn't force anyone. That is what I have been taught all my Christian life. But Saul was so against everything around Christianity, but God met him and saved him. He had this experience and became Paul. However, Judas was with Jesus and yet He lost his life.

My husband claims that he is a true believer, he helps ministries abroad and he is diligent about praying with people. He has the faith that when he prays people get healed. He prays and God answers my husband's prayers almost every time.

Here I am praying for the last few years and nothing? I am turning into the mean one and feel like I act like my own abuser. I might have not prayed persistently or earnestly but I did pray. Why do I not see God change my husband like he did Paul?

Answer: First, I’m sorry you’re experiencing heartache, not only in your marriage but also in your relationship with God. You gave no details as to what you meant when you said you were starting to act like your abuser. You also did not share anything your husband was or was not doing to you that sounded like abuse. However, your question about unanswered prayer has merit and is a frequently asked question in one form or another.

We believe God can do all things. He saved Saul, who was a murderous blasphemer, so why doesn’t he save or (change) your husband? You are correct in remembering that Judas still went and betrayed Jesus, even though Jesus talked with him about what he was about to do. Does the outcome of these two situations mean God didn’t want Judas saved? No, God is unwilling that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus spoke to Judas about his sin, just as Jesus spoke to Saul.  

The difference is that Saul listened to Jesus' words “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me.” But he didn’t just listen. Judas too “heard” what Jesus said in the upper room during the Last Supper. But Saul reflected on Jesus’ words, took them to heart, and repented of his actions and wrong beliefs. Judas did not.

Saul’s next steps forward demonstrated he repented because he stopped persecuting Christians, went to Damascus to be baptized by Ananias, and then went to Arabia

for 3 years to be personally discipled by God (Acts 9). After that, he submitted himself to the known Christian apostles. Saul understood that they would be suspicious of him. The one who was the blasphemer is now a Christian? Incredulous. Yet Paul (Saul) proved himself to be a trustworthy and genuine convert to Christianity and became one of the early church leaders. 

When Jesus spoke from the heavens, it’s crucial you understand Saul always had a choice. (God never violates our free will). Saul could bow his knee before Jesus and repent or continue to believe his own version of reality. That is the same choice we all have. That was the same choice Judas had. God didn’t make Saul convert or confess. He invited him to. The rest was Saul’s choice. 

Friend, how do you know that your prayers aren’t being answered? Just because you don’t see the outcome you want, does not mean God isn’t speaking to your husband. God may be whispering, shouting, using others in his life, or creating circumstances to invite him into repentance or deeper truth. But if God doesn’t answer your prayers like you want him to, what happens to you? To your emotions, your heart, and your own relationship with God? You said you do not like the woman you are becoming. What do you want to do with that? God is not just speaking to your spouse; he is also speaking to you. Are you listening? 

You asked why his prayers seem to “work” and yours do not. I don’t know the answer to that. We’re told a few things hinder our prayers. First and foremost is our own unconfessed and unrepentant sin. (Isaiah 59:9, Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 28:9, James 4:3, Matthew 18:23-25). For example, James 5:16,17 reminds us that the fervent prayers of a righteous person are effective (Even if we don’t like or can’t see the outcome. No is still an answer). The Bible also warns a husband that his prayers are hindered when he treats his wife harshly (1 Peter 3:7).

Another reason prayers may be hindered is the cosmic battle between good and evil. Paul tells us that we are at war and that we need to put the whole armor of God on to fight this war (Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 10:3,4). 

Girl, you are in a real battle, not just for your marriage or for your husband but also for you. Your most important relationship is not with your husband, it’s with your God. God loves you and hears your prayers. He wants your relationship with Him to be your #1 priority, not your relationship with your spouse. It seems from what you wrote that your disappointment with your marriage and God not changing your husband to be the man you want him to be has poisoned your love and trust in God. When that happens, Satan wins. Don’t let that happen. 

Friend, when your prayers don’t get answered in the way you hoped, how do you handle your disappointment?

15 Comments

  1. Chelsea on April 25, 2024 at 9:10 am

    It’s important to distinguish between spiritual gifts versus a true knowledge of and connection with God. They are not the same. She mentions her husband’s public prayers for healing being answered. Look at what Jesus says:

    “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “ Matthew 7:22-23

    Just because people have the GIFTS of the spirit (healing, teaching, serving, etc) does not mean they have the FRUITS of the spirit (love, patience, kindness, etc) which comes from knowing and abiding with Jesus. We need to be careful to not assume people have a strong walk with God just because they have publicly visible gifts, like healing. In the above scripture, people were physically healed in Jesus’ name but Jesus Himself said that He did not know them, and ultimately they remained unsaved. The fruit of the spirit and a person’s (consistent) character is a much better measure of a true walk with Christ.

    • Journey on April 25, 2024 at 9:56 am

      Excellent and poignant response Chelsea! Well said.

    • Tanah on April 25, 2024 at 10:41 am

      What a great response. There are personalities or alters that show up if a person has been traumatized. They can show up and quote the Bible, but their spirit is wrong, intentional and abusive behind closed doors. Thank you for highlighting this validating point. It’s horrific enough to live and stay in the destructive marriage, it’s adds injury to the trauma when they don’t understand alters as psychology calls them or demons when they manifest. We must acknowledge we don’t have all the answers, but not ok to retraumatize the victims by telling them to submit or work on yourself. Psychology and counsel do NOT work on demons, only the Holy Spirit which breaks the yolk of oppression.
      Thank you for your validating response that is also, encouraging and very scriptural! Bless you! ❤️🙏☀️🎶

    • Michelle C on April 25, 2024 at 10:50 am

      Amen!

    • Jenny on April 25, 2024 at 5:05 pm

      VERY well said! My husband (a diagnosed narcissist) has done the same things outside of our home but is abusive behind closed doors and I had wondered the same thing because I do have a strong walk with the Lord and do exhibited the fruits of the Spirit but I do not see the fruits in him! Awesome, Thank you it clarified that for me as well! ❤️

    • mychelle on April 25, 2024 at 5:23 pm

      amen

  2. Karen on April 25, 2024 at 9:12 am

    I can so relate to her heartbreak and frustration. I’ve been praying for my husband for over 30 years. Two years ago he had to have open heart surgery. It was a complete shock due to his age and the fact we had no idea he had blockages. His cardiologist told him he was a ticking time bomb. When my husband asked why he had not already had a heart attack and died if he was really as bad as the doctor was telling him, his cardiologist looked him straight in the eye and without any hesitation whatsoever said, “By the grace of God!” I had all my prayer partners praying that situation would be his Damascus Road experience. Since then my husband has basically slapped God in the face. He continues to drink, smoke, have a hard heart, and all that entails. He is not kind, caring, or loving. Everything he does is calculated based on him getting what he wants. I’m not even sure how to pray for him at this point other than to pray the Holy Spirit will soften his heart toward God and that he will love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength to become the man God created him to be. Our five children are not close to him and for the most part no one really wants to be around him because he is so hateful. I’m at my wits end at some point during most days. But it is then that the Holy Spirit whispers to my soul reminding me that nothing is too hard for God, no one is too far for Him to reach. It is not my job to change my husband, that job belongs to the Holy Spirit. My job is to be fistful to what Christ is leading me to do and keep trusting Him. Praying for you dear sister.

  3. Karen on April 25, 2024 at 9:25 am

    God is good, very good, no matter what. I have had severe migraine headaches for v20+ years. Many prayers have gone up for me but still no healing. I listened to John MacArthur and RC Sproul online about suffering. It is all for His glory. I still suffer but now I ask God to do within me what He plans, develop me to reflect Jesus more, through the suffering. I may never be healed, but I trusy Him that He has a purpose in this. He comforts me in it . And the note above has a point very well taken.

    • Becky on April 25, 2024 at 2:34 pm

      Karen, it is not God’s will for you to suffer in pain! By His stripes you were healed – Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24, Psalm 103:3, etc In Jesus name I command migraines out of your body – pain go now in! I command healing into your body rn in Jesus name.

      Please listen to this biblical teaching on divine healing; it has completely changed my mindset on healing and I am healed now.
      https://youtu.be/BAAJdz8dOnU?si=XgVqMcPltE2eiIG2

      https://youtu.be/pa2mpgBGLoI?si=Y17xoBWZWeN7j3aQ

      God bless you. B

  4. Modupe on April 25, 2024 at 9:35 am

    I have a very strong belief and faith in God. And I have seen the impact of my prayers in many ways in different aspects of my life. Though I do not see result sometimes, however, I know God inclines His ear to my prayers, therefore, I just believe that He works in ways I cannot see. Since His ways are not my ways, so rather than me thinking He does not answer my prayer, I turned that same prayer points into thanksgiving, believing God is working it out for me. This has been an amazing experience for me.

  5. Kristi on April 25, 2024 at 11:30 am

    Covert religious (sometimes malignant) narcissists can have a very holy public persona and “fruitful” looking ministries, but be very unholy wolves in sheep’s clothing in the home when no one can see but you. But God sees, and God knows. I would ignore him for now and work 100% on learning about this type of narcissist, what kind of healing you need (C-PTSD, and learning to love yourself in a healthy way), learning to consistently talk to him and about him in a gray rock/yellow rock fashion in order to guard your heart so you can heal, etc. You can’t think straight as a woman or a Christian until your internal bleeding starts to heal. You are not alone!!!!!

    • Liv on April 25, 2024 at 12:35 pm

      What a wonderful reply … I’ve experienced this and it is so true! Covert religious narcissists are so crazy making ! We need time with The LORD AND guarding our hearts ; grey rocking and healing indeed!
      Take good care of yourself !

  6. Betsy on April 26, 2024 at 10:49 am

    Thank you for sharing this and for answering. My adulterous, spirtiually abusive husband tried to witness to me and advise me that God told him he has forgiven him and that he is free from his sin. My husband has also told me that “God is working on him through me” while I was drowning daily and trying to forgive and heal and recover. So the visual is my husband and Jesus in a boat watching me drown for my husband’s sake – not true of course, but that was the imagary I had for a long time. To me both things were incredibly hurtful because why is he free but I am still hurting and struggling and feeling that God is not comforting me. I know that is a feeling and the truth is Jesus is with me and advocating for me with our Father and that he is my rock when I hit rock bottom. It is so painful to think that my husband is free from his sins (and if he truly repented he is because of Romans 8) but when does Romans 8 apply to me? Only when I leave this marriage that I don’t feel like God has released me from? Why/when can I be free of the sins I committed in response to my husband’s sin? When can I be free of not protecting my heart or not having enough lampoil and a good enough relationship with my Lord to avoid this marriage all together? I follow so many woman’s groups and why are women paying for their husban’d sins for so long? When do we get new mercies and a new day? When we fully surrender our husband’s behavior and consequences to God because we can fully trust Him when we cannot trust our husbands. This is so much, but the spiritual abuse and crisis of faith adultery causes is so difficult and sometimes just far too much to bear. Lord please help the betrayed and struggling women and give Your us strength in our weakness.

    • R on April 30, 2024 at 10:06 pm

      Dear one, you can be free from him if you want to. He committed adultery. It’s clear in Scripture that adultery is grounds for divorce. Even if he truly repented (which I think is in question based on what you have written), there can still be earthly consequences for his behavior. This happens all the time ; for instance, a robber or murderer might repent, but he or she must still serve a prison sentence. The legitimate consequence of his betrayal of you can be divorce if you so choose. God is not forcing you to stay with a man you can’t trust.

  7. Kate on May 7, 2024 at 1:20 am

    Thank you for this post! I have wondered the same thing during my marriage. I kept praying for a Saul to Paul conversion and restoration of my marriage. But I realized the answer to my prayer was ‘no- God has something more incredible in mind’. This freed me! I used to think I needed to find the ‘right’ prayer – like finding the right key to open a lock. Now I understand that God hears every prayer, counts every tear shed. He has chosen to answer them in a way that wasn’t my will, but His.

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