This statement is often made by those who have fallen. Likewise, I have been in the position where I felt the same way. We pray, but feel as though God is not hearing our prayers. Should a person who is knowingly rebelling against God and living in sin, assume God is hearing their prayers or not? In fact, is it even worth praying? Let me tell you a story that may help illustrate this point.
There was a time many years ago, at a time when I was struggling to find my way back to God and to get my life back in order. Time and time again I called my dad on the phone asking for his help. It was obvious that dad was listening to what I said, and that he heard me; however, he gave me no real answers. I felt as though I was wasting my time, even asking him for his guidance. He answered me, but his words seemed empty and without merit.
One day, in complete frustration, I called dad on the phone and scolded him a little bit, because I felt like he was not truly answering my request for help. Here is what he said. “Son, it does not matter what I tell you, because I know you are not going to do what I suggest. I am wasting my words answering your question. When you are ready to hand over to me the keys to your life and allow me to help you fix the mess you have made, let me know, but until then, don’t expect me to be able to respond to your question. We can talk. I will listen, but there is nothing I can do, until you give me the keys.”
I was a bit angry at dad’s answer. I don’t know what I wanted him to say. I suppose I wanted him to tell me the easy way back, but there was no easy way. A few weeks later I called my dad on the phone and told him I really needed to see him. He said, “Son, later I will be driving out of town to preach. I will be going south on I 65. Meet me in the parking lot of Teibel’s restaurant and we can chat for a few minutes.”
A little later, I drove out to meet him. When I pulled up, I got out of the car. I did not go to the passenger side. I walked to the driver side, and dad rolled down the window. I handed him a set of keys, and said with tears in my eyes, “Here are the keys. Please tell me what to do.”
Dad said, “Son get in the car.” I walked around to the passenger side and for the first time in a long time, I felt like my dad was not only hearing, but also answering my requests. It was not that he did not hear me before, when I asked questions. It was not that he was not giving me some answers. The problem was, he couldn’t give me the answers I needed, until I gave Him the keys.
If you feel like God is not hearing your prayers, you are wrong. If you feel like He is not answering your prayers, you are probably right. It is not because He is not listening. It is not because He is angry. It is not because He does not love you. It is not because He does not want to give you the answers. It is because you have not given Him the keys to your life. Perhaps, that will help others who feel God is not hearing their prayers.