7 Reasons Your Prayers About Money Aren't Answered
If there’s a subject, I have WAY too much experience with, it’s being broke.
So, let’s be transparent and talk about that stuff. Here’s the truth about my situation:
I run a small ministry. It’s just me. The LORD called me to full-time ministry nearly two decades ago and has closed many doors to keep me from a "steady income." I’m dependent on tithes and offerings like any other church; except that I don’t look like a church. People don’t see the walls, chairs, or pulpit, so they have a hard time understanding what I do, and are reluctant to give. So, we struggle (my family and I). We always have. So, the things I’m going to list here are things I’ve learned from my own experience.
Don’t get me wrong. The LORD has been EXCEPTIONALLY faithful to provide. We are a legit non-profit with a 501c3 – not an easy thing to get. We’ve been around going on two decades. There are plenty of ministries that don’t make it that long. The LORD has always given us enough to get the job done. He’s just never let us get over that hump of “financial security.”
The money thing is hard. It’s hard to stay encouraged. I often find myself thinking...
“LORD, if we were out of debt, or had x-amount of money, we’d be able to do this, that, and the other thing in ministry for Your glory. Don’t You want that?”
You hear people quote scriptures about God’s desire for us to prosper, and live that “good and abundant” life. Sometimes we see other people doing well financially, while we’re praying for help just to get by. It’s like a dagger. Why won’t the LORD hear our prayer and help us?
Before we get into this list, keep this in mind. It’s possible that the LORD has His own reasons for keeping you in the position you’re in. Still, these seven things are major issues that can have brutal effects on your prayer life. We need to consider these things carefully. That’s not to say that if you find a flaw and fix it, God will give you what you want. The Bible doesn’t teach that. He might, but He might not. Considering these things though, WILL improve your connection and relationship with the LORD, especially in prayer, and that should be the main objective. With that said, let’s check out this list.
REASON #1: You're Lying To Yourself
Have you ever considered that your motives about money are crooked? In Jeremiah 17:9-10 the Bible says:
“The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, [I] test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
The Bible teaches we all excel in lying to ourselves. That’s true of Christians also. When it comes to lying to ourselves, we do so in order to convince ourselves that, the things we’re doing that are contrary to God, are actually pleasing to Him. The problem here is that this issue is undetectable without the LORD. He’s the One that searches and knows the heart. We don’t know our own motives for many of the things we do. Only God does.
It’s VERY possible that, while you think your motives about money are “good,” you’re actually lying to yourself. Maybe your desire for more, is based on selfishness, or a hidden desire to prove yourself – not glorify the LORD. If we are being influenced by the wickedness of our natural hearts, and not the Holy Spirit, we’re grieving the Spirit, and our prayers are messed up. We need to ask the LORD to show us the truth of our motives, and submit to the truth He reveals to us, making corrections in repentance where necessary.
REASON #2: Unrepentant Sin
There’s a common misconception that God hears everything we say when we pray. That’s not what the Bible teaches. In Isaiah 1:15 the Bible says:
“When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.”
Here, God acknowledged how the people were doing all of the religious things that the scriptures commanded them, but clearly, there were problems. Many of the people in Israel did things that seemed good, figuring that God owed them as a result. God disagreed. Even though they were doing some things that scripture said, they were living contrary to God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice the rest of the time.
We can’t obey God in some areas that are convenient, while living as an offense to Him in other areas, like it’s no big deal. If we’re living in sin without repentance, God will ignore our prayer. It’s possible that your financial struggles are for this reason.
REASON #3: Your Marriage Relationship
If you’re married, this is a verse you need to consider from 1 Peter 3:7:
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with [them] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as [being] heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
The LORD expects husbands to treat our wives’ certain ways. If we don’t, it WILL affect our prayer life. We’re commanded to understand our wives, in the sense that, we need to be constantly-considerate of their purpose, as the LORD commanded them in the Word. We need to recognize their identity as helpmates, and our need of them, in order to fulfill our purpose as husbands. We need to know how God values our wives, based on the purpose He appointed for them. Since the Bible teaches the husband-wife relationship is intended to manifest spiritual lessons, we need to consider our wives through the lens of those spiritual purposes, and treat them accordingly.
Ephesians 5:25 says that husbands are supposed to love our wives as Christ loved the church. We need to die to self, for their spiritual benefit. If we don’t do that Biblically, our prayers will be affected. Maybe the LORD is waiting for us to treat our wives like His Word says, to answer our prayers about money.
REASON #4: Broken Relationships
The marriage relationship isn’t the only one that can cripple our connection to God. Here’s what Jesus had to say about this in Matthew 5:23-24:
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Here, Jesus was teaching about how murder begins in the heart. Certain types of unresolved anger, is considered to be like murder in the eyes of God. Do we think God is answering prayers from murderers?
Jesus taught that our relationships with others have an effect on how God receives our offerings and sacrifices. If we have anger or hate in our hearts against certain people in our family, at work, or in general, God isn’t excited by that attitude. Maybe our issues aren’t being addressed because of anger, requiring reconciliation.
REASON #5: Spiritual Ignorance
God doesn’t always answer prayers the way we think He should, or the way we think He will. Think about this from Mark 6:37-38:
“But He answered and said to them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ And they said to Him, ‘Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them [something] to eat?’ But He said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have? Go and see.’ And when they found out they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’”
The math is simple here. Two hundred is more than seven. There were two hundred denarii. There were five loaves, and two fish. Often times when we pray to the LORD about money, we think that He has to use money to help us with the issues of provision. That’s ignorance.
When is God dependent on the things people need, to meet the needs of His people?
God didn’t give Israel money to buy bread in the wilderness. He manifested manna. Jesus didn’t multiply the two hundred denarii. He multiplied the lesser resource. God does things differently, to show who He is as God. Maybe your prayers about money aren't answered, because you haven’t learned this truth about God.
REASON #6: Exposing Foolish Wisdom
This has less to do about you and your prayer, and more to do with how God wants to address it. Think about this passage from 1 Corinthians 1:27, where we learn about God’s work habits:
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…”
Sometimes we think that, when God seems silent, He’s ignoring us. The first five points show that He might be; but maybe the LORD is setting Himself to answer your prayer in ways that make people look dumb. People tend to think that things need to be done in certain ways, to accomplish certain results. Sometimes God wants to answer your prayer, and has plans to deliver you from money issues. Sometimes He wants to do it a certain way though, so that worldly wisdom and counsel is proved to be foolish, and He gets the glory. I’ve seen that in my life firsthand!
REASON #7: To Learn Humility
It’s true the Bible teaches that God has good intentions for His people, and wants us to prosper. The truth is, the Bible teaches that we learn a lot more about God and the value of His promises, when we’re broke. We’ve likely all heard the verse that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Well, here’s what it says right before that statement in Philippians 4:12…
“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
Apparently, God wants His people to learn contentment, which means that we’ll have to go through some dry seasons. The Apostle Paul did. He knew how to be broke and hungry. He had seasons where he had excess and was filled too. The point is, God kept Paul broke and hungry sometimes, because He wanted to teach Paul to be content with all circumstances. The LORD wanted to teach Paul to depend on Him, regardless of the circumstances. Maybe the LORD wants to keep us broke for a little bit, to teach us this lesson. Maybe this is a reason that your prayers about money aren't answered. God is the One that equips us for victory concerning His spiritual and eternal purposes. Our circumstances and access to resources isn’t really the issue. It's possible you need to learn contentment.