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Written by Louis Roth
In this session, we will cover the topic of unanswered prayer — generally categorized as not-yet and unanswered prayers. We have all felt the frustration of prayers. “Where is God,” “God doesn’t care about us/me,” and “God plays favorites.” As Gordan points out, thousands of prayers go up, and nothing happens. The advantage of journaling or using S.O.A.P. is that we can keep track of our prayers. Wayne Cordeiro says:
“Take notes on what God is saying. Treat every word like pure gold. This will help you more than I can begin to describe. Just remember that your journal is not a diary. It is God speaking to you as you daily set aside forty minutes for devotions. It is not a place for random thoughts (although this can be a therapeutic exercise at another level). Your journal is the garnering of wisdom, the gathering place of divine insight you’ll receive from the mentors of the ages.” 
We need help keeping track of prayer results, and with these tools, we can be grateful for unanswered prayers. You might be thankful for the denial.
Charles Stanley’s lists six causes for not-yet and unanswered prayers:
1. Relationships are not right before God.
2. Our motive is for self alone.
3. Wavering faith.
4. A failure to tithe.
5. Indifference to God’s Word.
6. Unconfessed sins. 
How is your relationship with God? In the first session, we showed that a lack of prayer is evidence for lack of relationship with God. You don’t pray; you are not talking with God. Stanley also cites specific behaviors with other people in our sphere of influence: “caustic, sarcastic, cynical, mean–spirited, resentful, or selfish.” The author adds that forgiveness must also be part of our lives (1 Pet. 3:7, Luke 6:37–38, Matt. 6:14–15). Sin separates us from the Father, no matter how comfortable we are with them or how much polish we put on the sin.
The Father blocks prayer when we sin (Isa. 1:15, Isa. 59:1–3). It does not matter that you have good motives or properly offering prayers (Lord’s Prayer for example). Gordon concurs and adds that prayer and forgiveness go together. The author gives three supporting passages: Matt. 5:23–24, 6:9–15, and Matt. 18:19–35. 
If your life is all about you, then you put yourself on your throne rather than submitting to God’s throne (James 4:3). Examine your motives to insure they are proper. I am not talking about praying for recovery from illness; some Scriptures tell us to pray for others. Here are some examples from Scripture about wrong motives: Prov. 16:18, Prov. 21:17, Isa. 47:8, 11, Prov. 21:13. 
If your faith is wavering, would you expect God to reward this unstable and unreliable attitude (James 1:6–7, Heb. 13:8–9)? 
One advantage of using S.O.A.P. is that you are in God’s Word. Should a person ignore the Bible, then they are not interested in what God desires for him to mature in Christ. Stanley calls the Bible “God’s manual for living.”  The author uses Prov. 28:9 and Ps. 119:105 to support his assertion.
I will admit that “Failure to tithe” seemed odd at first. Statistics show that certain age groups will tithe for what they approve. They have a disdain for giving to their church for general needs. As Stanley says,
“God will not violate the cycle of giving that He established for humankind: giving, receiving, giving, receiving. His law is one that requires reciprocity.” 
Paul tells the Corinthians that he is coming to them for the funds to support the struggling folks in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 9). God does not need your money, but your church does. Jesus shows us that our motives for tithing are as important as giving. Luke 21:1–4.
1 John 1:5–9 is a summary of the themes we covered to this point. Don’t say you have fellowship with the Lord while not living according to the Word. Are you cheating your brother? Then you are living a hypocrites life, like the Pharisees. Above all, never say you don’t sin, because we all do. Inviting the Lord to search our hearts (Ps. 139:23) will reveal areas requiring correction! Verse 9 shows how we can restore our fellowship with the Lord. Two other passages come to mind, which adversely affects your prayer lives: (Eph. 4:30, 1 Thess. 5:19). Stanley uses Isa 59:1–3.
Something else to keep in mind, prayer contrary to God’s will or plan, will not be answered as an act of kindness. Unanswered prayer is a learning process that God allows for a teaching tool. We must keep in mind that our perspectives as creatures with linear lives differ from God’s view as an eternal being. 
Make sure you wait for your answer!
1. Samuel Gordon, Quiet Talks on Prayer, (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1904), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, pp. 67.
2. Cordeiro, W. (2007). The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior (pp. 88). Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers.
3. Stanley, C. F. (1997). Talking with God: Discover New insights to help deepen your prayer life (electronic ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. Lesson 8.
5. IBID, pp 68
7. IBID, pp. 74–75
8. Gordon uses three categories as hindrances to prayer, so there will be some overlap with Stanley’s.
9. IBID, Gordon, pp. 75, 77
10, IBID, Stanley.
16. IBID, Gordon pp. 82.
17. IBID, pp. 82–83