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The Quest for Answers - Week of July 21

  • 2014 Jul 21
  • COMMENTS

When does God refuse to hear our prayers?

Verse:  Jeremiah 11:11

God sees, hears and knows everything—including our prayers. Nothing escapes his attention. Why then did God say he would not listen to the people’s cries for help? There are several possible reasons.

In this case, God did not respond because judgment was unavoidable. Judah had disobeyed God’s laws and ignored his pleas for so long that judgment was, in effect, already on the way. Their cries were too little, too late. God even told Jeremiah not to pray for the people (see  Isaiah 14:11-12 )—that not even Moses and Samuel could have persuaded him to offer further compassion to them (see  Isaiah 15:1 ).

It’s also possible that people sometimes sabotage their own prayers. The Bible mentions several attitudes and actions that can short-circuit our prayers: sin (see  Psalms 66:18;  Isaiah 59:2 ;  Jeremiah 14:10-12 ) , disobedience (see  Proverbs 28:9 ), hypocrisy and insincerity (see  Isaiah 29:13 ;  Malachi 1:7-9 ), wrong motives (see  Matthew 6:5-6 ;  Luke 18:11-14 ;  James 4:3 ), lack of faithHebrews 11:6 ;  James 1:6 ) and even marital problems (see  1 Peter 3:7 ).

Finally, what sometimes appears to be no answer to prayer may actually be a delayed answer (see  Daniel 10:12-13 ). Other times God may deny our request in order to give us something better than what we knew to ask for.

This devotion is from The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.

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