Yes, No, Maybe: Why God Seems Indifferent to Your Prayers

It’s a great shame among the churches that the “answers” to prayer have been reduced to the possibilities of “yes, no, or maybe” or “no, yes, and not yet” or even “always yes.”

They have completely forgotten that, as the Psalmist wrote, holding sin in ones heart keeps God from hearing!

Every Christian seems so utterly convinced that God is hearing them… but why should he? (Assuming his existence for this exercise.)

Why, if he demanded his followers to be joyful givers who are to sacrifice their lives for others, should he listen to “believers” if instead they live lives more befitting a prodigal than to one who is faithful? Why would he listen when the lives of Christians and the rest of us are so indiscernible?

Jesus compared the Christian life to “taking up the cross.” What’s in the way from living a life suitable of that description, Christian? If your life is functionally not that different from the life of an unbeliever, what “cross” are you taking up? And if you do feel like you’re shouldering that mantle despite it all, how little does that make your understanding of his cross?

Read more: Yes, No, Maybe: Why God Seems Indifferent to Your Prayers

Elsewhere in the Bible we’re told that it’s the fervent prayer of one who is righteous that accomplishes much.

That’s a powerful word, “fervent.” It means ardent, highly emotional, white hot, boiling.

Does that describe your prayers?

It seems as though prayer should be more akin to something like Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord than a simple “Dear God, we ask that you extend your healing graces to John for his gall bladder. Amen.”

Absolutely pray for the sick — and so many other things — but make it mean something.

Beware Christians who are willing to cut the power of prayer down to little more than “thoughts and prayers.”

Beware Christians who cry out “Lord, Lord” but whom God cannot hear because they’ve never repented their sins — and Jesus seemed FAR more concerned with sins of not living sacrificially for others, living a hypocritical religious life, and living with unchecked wealth than he did pretty much anything else.

Why should he listen to you?

Why expect to be heard if you haven’t heard him? Are you sure that you’ve heard him? What fruit are you bearing for him? I’m not asking you to brag below — those who are living a righteous life will have no issue with the above words anyway. I’m asking you to reflect — upon yourself, upon your faith, and upon your Jesus.

Redefine how you pray. Wrestle with it. Struggle with it. Realize that prayer demands something of you, perhaps more so than anything you could ask of God.

God confronted Cain with his sin. God came down to Babel and to confront their sin.

Why would you expect him to be at your beck and call if you’ve never been confronted with your sins? And I’m not talking about the “when I became a Christian, I stopped doing X, Y, or Z” sort of sins. I’m talking about the “I became a Christian, but I didn’t do A, B, or C like Jesus demanded” sort of sins.

Jesus demanded people leave their sins behind, but he also actively demanded many new behaviors from his followers.

You know, the sort of demands that caused most people to give up and walk away from Jesus even as he preached and performed miracles publicly? Those are the sins today’s churches seem consistently guilty with.

And while I’m sure people can point to “but my church has a monthly/weekly/whatever meal for the homeless!” or “my church lets homeless people park in their cars overnight!” sort of things as fulfillments of those demands but… are they? Are they really? Are those stop-gaps really what you think Jesus was getting at?

The early Christians didn’t. They met, sold off all their belongings, and made sure every need was met before they went home for the day.

They didn’t deal in patchwork solutions and stopgaps; they became family and healed one another’s situation, even unto great personal sacrifice.

Nowadays, the churches are like Pharisees shouting on the street about all the good they do — except they don’t wanna make the effort of going out on the streets, so they buy the billboards advertising what they do instead.

Weaker in every way. Did not Jesus say believers would be known by their fruits? Not by their advertising, their promotions?

It’s no wonder it seems like God doesn’t really answer prayer anymore, certainly not in the definitive and miraculous ways he did in the Bible.

He’s been up there for centuries waiting to hear from people. Honestly, being God must be a lonely, thankless job.

Or did you instead picture him as a Bruce Almighty God that hears every single prayer no matter what?

screenshot from the movie "Bruce Almighty" displaying the "Yahweh! Insta-Prayer" service with a message stating, "You've got 3,152,205 unread prayers"

That doesn’t match what the Bible says.

What do you think? Why are today’s Christians content with “yes, no, or later” when Jesus said they’d be moving mountains?

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