More from When We Pray

Teaching Notes



Why does God seem to answer prayer some of the time but not all of the time?




Problem Passage:


And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

John 14:13-14 [see also John 15:16; 16:23-24]


Why some prayers go unanswered?


  • We just don’t PRAY.


Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8




If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 

Psalm 66:18


For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

1 Peter 3:11


  • We come with the WRONG MOTIVES.


You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:2-3


  • We fail to practice GENEROSITY and JUSTICE.


Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

  Proverbs 21:13


 How do we live in the tension of unanswered prayers?


  • A Theology of PAIN & SUFFERING.



  • A Theology of the CHARACTER of GOD.





Jesus’ Unanswered Prayer: 


They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”


Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Mark 14:32-36