A woman in an orange dress against a whitewashed wooden wall and a text overlay that says "God Hears Our Prayers'
Prayer

God Hears Our Prayers – Answers to 4 Key Questions About Prayer

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page or visit my Affiliate Disclosure Page

Sharing is caring!

One of the biggest questions people ask about the Lord is does He hear our prayers. Or maybe you believe God hears our prayers but feel like those prayers for healing, for the salvation of a loved one, or a job or relationship fell on deaf ears.

And that is a really honest feeling and one that many people struggle with!

So does God hear our prayers? If He hears them, does God answer prayer? Are there only certain types of prayers from only certain types of people that get answered?

Read on and learn more about how God views prayer and how He responds to our petitions as we look at 4 key questions we have about the nature of prayer and Adonai’s response. 

An image of a beautiful black woman with blonde curls in a gray sweater, looking down and text overlay that says God Hears Our Prayers - Answers to 4 Key Questions About Prayer

Updated from March 4, 2020

1. Does God Hear Our Prayers?

The short answer to this question is yes, God hears our prayers and He does answer! In fact, I will be so bold as to say I believe He answers ALL prayer.

But that typically is not what is really being asked when we come across this question, because if one believes in Adonai as God then one typically believes in answered prayer.

The heart of this question is not whether God hears and answers prayer but does God answer MY prayers in the way I request.

You see, when we pray we often have a specific answer we hope to receive. Not always, but often.

If we are praying for healing, we tend to know what that healing looks like for us.

If we are praying for a relationship, we have a certain result we are looking for. 

So the heart of this question is not whether or not God hears our prayers and answer them but does He give us the answer WE desire.

The answer to that is no! No, God does not always give us the answer we want any more than we always give our children everything they ask for.

But let’s break this down further in the upcoming questions so we can get an understanding of how God answers prayers specifically.

Let’s begin with the next question about how God views prayer!

2. How Does God View Prayer?

At the core, prayer is a conversation we have with God. 

So many times we have been taught that prayer is a petition but it is (or at least SHOULD be) far more than that.

As believers in Yeshua, we are in relationship with a God who created us for just that reason. Prayer is how we engage in that relationship, the same way conversation is how we foster relationship with other people.

How would our earthly relationships be if our only communication was asking for things?

Yet many times, that is how we view prayer. We see it as bringing a list of our hopes, dreams and needs before God. And certainly that is PART of it.

But God wants to hear from you without you ONLY asking for things the same way we as parents want to hear from our children without them calling up only when they want something!

Your heart as a parent would be broken if the only time your kids talked to you was to read off a laundry list of wants and needs and never took the time to listen to you or share the details of their lives with you.

God is no different. He is our Father and wants to not only hear FROM us but talk WITH us. It is a conversation that flows both ways.

So while prayer involves petition, it involves other elements, such as thanks, praise, remembrance. Remembrance is important and it is a big aspect of Jewish prayer in fact. We recall all God has done for us in the past and all He has done for our forefathers and many of our prayers in Judaism do just that…they recall.

In doing this, we are reminded of how God has worked in the lives of His people since time began and if He rescued us from Egypt He is certainly powerful enough to rescue us from our problems today!

The Amidah, the Standing Prayer, the greatest prayer in Judaism along with the Shema, is a series of blessings and petitions with many of those petitions being eliminated when the prayer is said on Shabbat and Holy Days because those are days we focus on the Lord and not our own needs. Prayer should not just be a list of wants but also a time we show our love, our praise and our thanksgiving for all God does in our lives.

When we focus on that, we tend to focus less on the things God has NOT done according to our own will!

If you are not familiar with these other elements of prayer such as praise, adoration, thanksgiving, you can read my post on praying effective prayers and the ACTS method of prayer.

An image of a door open with the sky outside and Luke 11:9-10 quotes

3. How Does God Answer Prayer?

God answers prayers in a variety of ways. But what we are really getting at here is not prayer but petition. We are asking for something. So in that regard, it really depends on what the petition is and whether or not God determines something is right for you.

We may be asking for something we feel is good but not all good things are good for us in particular, or may not be good for us at this point in time.

Not Yet!

Marriage is good! Marriage may be something God has planned for you! You may have been praying to God for years about marriage and yet, nothing.

It could be that, while God has marriage planned for you, this time, this person, this circumstance, may not be right.

God is a loving Father and that means not always giving us what we want.

God is a loving Father and that means not always giving us what we want. Click To Tweet

He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He sees things we cannot even conceive of and He knows when a situation is right or wrong for us.

Sometimes we step outside the bounds of that protection and we make choices that are not best for us.

We fail to wait patiently for the Lord in those instances and He is not a puppeteer. He will not force Himself into all areas of our lives. We DO have free will.

Then oftentimes we get upset with God because things didn’t work out.

My dear friend, we cannot blame God for the results we incur when we step in and force ourselves into a situation we should be entrusting to Him.

While God hears our prayers and answers our prayers, we ourselves can interfere and cause the answer to be contrary to what it would have been had we just waited.

God is Working in Our Waiting

During those times when we feel God is silent, during those times of waiting, God is working. 

We need to trust Him and trust that in the waiting, His perfect will is being worked out.

Do we want the NOW or do we want the best?

We need to trust God and trust that in the waiting, His perfect will is being worked out. Do we want the NOW or do we want the best? Click To Tweet

Sometimes the Answer is “No”

We have a tendency to think that an answered prayer is one that works out the way we like.

But sometimes, like ‘not yet’, God gives us another answer, and that answer is ‘no’.

Yes, sometimes God tells us we cannot have something we desire.

I want to be a fabulous professional singer! God has told me no and that my “want” would be offensive to so many ears!

No matter how much training I do, I will not ever be a professional singer. It is not my gifting nor is it my talent! Oh it’s definitely not my talent! Trust me on this one!

God has a plan and purpose for your life and it is not going to look like someone else’s and it may not even look like what you THINK you want it to.

I can remember my husband looking for a new job at one point in time. He had always gotten every job he ever interviewed for. But this time, every single job was a ‘no’. We could not figure it out!

We are talking over a dozen jobs! Every single one was a ‘no’. 

But when the ‘yes’ came, it was more than we could have asked for! God was answering prayers I had forgotten I had even prayed in the year prior to this!! Seriously! I had literally forgotten about these prayers because I was so caught up in the stress of that given point in time and it wasn’t until I found a prayer list I had made the year before that I realized this! (Side note…always keep a war binder for this reason!!)

Giving it to God and trusting His answer is always best.


An image of a black woman with long hair and in a green dress standing in a kitchen looking up and pointing with her two index fingers

God’s ‘no’ is always a blessing for us. He is not trying to be a killjoy. In fact, quite the opposite. He is trying to save you from wasted time, pain, difficulty, heartache and hurt.

He is trying to position you where you need to be and where He can best use you. Remember, we should be seeking to serve God, not seeking for God to serve us!

We should be seeking to serve God, not seeking for God to serve us! Click To Tweet

The ‘no’s’ are just as much a blessing (and an answer) as the yesses!

In fact, sometimes I think they are even more so!

We tell our kids no when we know something is not good for them. We all want our kids to be happy but letting your toddler eat candy all day, while they may love us for it, is not good for them and would cause them to be sick!

Praise God for the ‘no’ as well as the ‘yes’!

Check Your Heart

God hears our prayers but sometimes the answer is ‘no’ because we ask wrongly!

We need to make sure we are praying with the proper motives. We need to be sure what we are asking for isn’t out of selfishness or greed.

We also need to make sure we are not harboring any sinfulness in our lives. We need to confess our sins and THEN ask of God. 

God hears our prayers but if the answer seems to be ‘no’, be sure to examine your heart and make sure it is in the right place.

An image of hands greedily grabbing for coins and James 4:2-3 quoted

4. God Hears Our Prayers – But Does He Answer ALL of them?

So we have established that God hears our prayers and that He answers prayers but does He answer ALL of them?

I believe that God does in fact answer all the prayers His children pray. As I said, it may be a ‘yes’, a ‘no’ or a ‘wait’ but it IS an answer. But what about those outside the family? 

Does God hear the prayers of sinners?


Flourishing Today Shop with Images of some of their Bible Reading and Journaling Products
Visit My Friend Alisa’s Flourishing Today Shop!

God Hears Our Prayers – But What About the Prayers of Sinners?

Now, I DO want to clarify here that the word “sinners” refers to unrepentant sinners or unbelievers. We are ALL sinners. But keep in mind, when we are repentant and turn from sin and confess our sins. God chooses not to see our sin any longer.

So sinners in this regard that I am speaking of are unrepentant sinners.

I use the term ‘sinners’ here instead of unsaved because I want to link it to the sinner’s prayer or prayer of repentance.

So does God hear and answer the prayers of sinners?

From everything I have studied about prayer and about separation from relationship with God, I have to conclude that God does not hear the prayers of sinners except the prayers for grace and mercy and repentance.

How did I form that opinion? Scripture!

Psalm 34:15-16 says:

“Depart from evil and do good.

Seek shalom and pursue it.

The eyes of Adonai are on the righteous,

and His ears are attentive to their cry.”

TLV

In John 9:30-31, the man whose sight Jesus restored states:

“The man replied to them, “That’s amazing! You don’t know where He is from, yet He opened my eyes! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners; but if anyone fears Him and does His will, He hears this one.”

TLV

God does not turn away anyone who cries out to him for grace and mercy, but other than this, God does not hear the prayer of an unrepentant sinner as only a person whose sins are atoned for can enter beyond the veil to the Holy of Holies and commune with God. This was true of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement and it is true for us in prayer.

The High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies once per year to make sacrifice for themselves and the people of Israel and then meet with God whose presence was on the Mercy Seat.

You have direct access to God but ONLY through atonement and Yeshua’s paying the price that was yours to pay. You can approach the Mercy Seat to make petition for yourself and to bear others up and make petition for them!

Yet, like the sinner on the cross, one only needs to cry out to the Lord and seek mercy and grace to be heard, to acknowledge one’s own sinfulness and repent and turn from them.

God Desires Your Prayers

God hears our prayers and He wants you to speak with Him. He wants you to share the desires of your heart but He wants you to trust in Him and His answer.

When you abide in Him your desires change. What you wish for will align more with His will for your life and not selfish desire.

Spend time in the Word, spend time speaking with Him and listening as well and soon, you will recognize when something you are praying for might not be His best.

What are some ways God has shown you the blessing in ‘no’ or in ‘wait’? Share in the comments!

Join the FREE Praying the Promises of the Cross Prayer Challenge here!


Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society.  Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.

Read More…

  1. A woman bent over hands folded in prayer on a Bible
  2. Puzzle pieces across a table - In the Midst of Chaos
  3. Pray with Confidence - ACTS Prayer Method - A woman with her arms across her chest looking up at the sky smiling with a white brick wall behind her
  4. A woman in a white shirt with dark hair sitting on the floor with her knees up to her chest and her hands on her head
  5. An image of a young girl with dark hair up in barrettes and her head down on a table with her hands folded in prayer and text that says Teach Me How to Pray - Power in Praying the Lord's Prayer
  6. An image of a red-headed woman in a gray shirt sitting at a table with her hands folded in prayer and text that says The Power of Prayer - Intentional Prayer or Kavanah
  7. An image of a black woman dressed in pink against a pink background. She is smiling as she tosses a brown rimmed hat toward the camera.
  8. An image of a mug filled with coffee beans and the word happy written in script on top of it with a text overlay that says Why You Should Not Pray for Happiness and a link to worthbeyondrubies.com

24 Comments

  1. What a thorough but concise study of prayer. Yes, I have been thankful for God’s nos in retrospect. I think of Cornelius in Acts 10 as one whose prayers God answered even though he wasn’t yet a believer. It doesn’t say what he was praying for, but God answered with the message of salvation–the best answer.

    1. Yes! I thought about Cornelius as I was writing this because it didn’t seem to fit with the statement that God doesn’t hear the prayers of sinners but I think because he had faith that Jesus could heal, that was in essence a belief in His diety and a cry for mercy and healing.

    1. It is a tough discipline because we do have life to deal with and so many distractions. I know that this morning as I was praying I had texts and messages coming in and it’s so hard to just come away and be alone with God. And sometimes I can’t just ignore the texts because it might be my kids or my husband with something urgent. So now I have it so it shows part of the message on my lock screen so I can glance and see if it is urgent or not.

  2. Diane, thank you for walking us through these answers to prayer. In my own experience, I’ve encountered lots of waiting. But I’m so thankful to have persisted so that I’ve been able to receive His best for me.

  3. Had never thought of this, ‘The heart of the question is not whether God answers prayers but does God answer MY prayers.” Maybe the next time someone says this I need to ask them a few questions, instead of really thinking I know what they are asking.

  4. Diane, I so totally want to link back to this from my latest post “Bearing Up One Another Through the Power of Prayer.” This is great stuff! I love your points and the use of Scripture. Thank you so much for posting!

    Pinned. Twice! 🙂

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  5. Diane, what a great explanation of how God responds to us in prayer! Like Michele, prayer seems to take so much more discipline for me that Bible study, reading, etc. I’m pinning to share and read again. I especially like your comments about it being a conversation and comparing it to our relationship with our children.

    BTW I don’t know if it’s just me but I have had some issues with your site. I realized that I can get to your post but it takes a little doing. Not sure if you are having some issues or if it’s on my end. Blessings!

  6. What a great and in-depth post on prayer. I really love the comparison with the relationships we have with our children. Makes it so relatable. If my children only came to me with requests I wouldn’t be happy.

    Personally there was a job l applied for and was devastated when someone else got it. It was a no from God. But months later l got a better offer. And the job l didn’t get was removed from the company structure a few years later so l would have been laid off. Thank God for Nos!

  7. There are a lot of good points in this post! As you mentioned, I find my prayers are more meaningful when I remember that prayer is how we strengthen our relationship with the Lord. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. I prayed for years that God would give me a daughter. I had trouble getting pregnant and after many years of trying, we finally were pregnant again with our second child. Surely I knew I was pregnant with a baby girl. God showed me in a dream that the child was a boy as he had on a yellow sleeper and not a pink one. I ignored the dream at my seventh-month check up my doctor informed me under no circumstance that the child was a girl and I was having a boy. I was hurt I didn’t understand why God would not give me the daughter I desperately wanted. The Holy Spirit whispered in my heart “Will you turn from the Lord because you didn’t get what you wanted?” I cannot tell you how happy I am with my sons the are know adults and they have brought me so much joy and love me so much. God gave me what he wanted me to have and I am forever Thankful!

    1. That is such a beautiful and honest story of faith Sheila. God recognizes that we feel disappointed when we don’t get what we want but He knows what we really want even when we don’t even know we want it! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Blessings!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.