Why Isn’t God Answering My Prayers?

This is an excerpt from a book that released TODAY! It’s called 12 Truths and a Lie: Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions, and it’s a collection of the toughest (and most common) questions I’ve gotten during my last couple decades of ministry. Whether you’re a new Christian or someone who has walked with God for a lifetime, 12 Truths and a Lie is for you.

Visit jdgreear.com/resources/books/ to get your copy!

–Pastor J.D.


I saw somewhere recently that experts believe we have between six thousand and seven thousand thoughts per day. When I looked this up, I then found other experts who say we have between seventy thousand and eighty thousand thoughts per day. The difference between the two is determined by how much coffee you drink.

OK, I made that last part up. I don’t know which “experts” are right, but one thing we can all agree on: Our minds do a lot of work during the day. We think a lot of thoughts.

How many of those thoughts are rooted in one of God’s promises? Did you know the Bible contains more than three thousand promises? Here are just a few of them:

  1. God has a good plan for you—to bless you and make you a blessing.
  2. God will give you rest.
  3. God will give you strength equal to the task he assigns.
  4. God will provide your daily bread.
  5. Nothing will separate you from God’s love.
  6. He bears your burdens and fights for you.
  7. He delights to give you the kingdom.
  8. The Spirit prays for you those things you don’t know to pray for yourself.
  9. He will never leave or forsake you.
  10. He will supply all your need according to his riches in Christ Jesus.

That’s 10. Only 2,990 more to go. Even if those were the only 10 promises, I’d be feeling pretty good. No wonder David exclaims, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand” (Psalm 139:17–18 ESV).

So why is it when we’re faced with a problem we dedicate 5,789 thoughts to the problem and none (or very few) to the promises of God?

Your confidence, security, and joy in life will be in direct proportion to your awareness of the promises of God. Saturate yourself in them. Meditate on them. Memorize them. As Moses said, “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life” (Deuteronomy 32:47 NIV).

Promises are God’s pre-answers to your prayers, so trust in them. Resting in the promises of God not only brings peace to your soul, but also connects you to the power God is ready to give.

And whatever you do, don’t give up, don’t lose heart. God never does. He’s listening right now.


Let me end this chapter by sharing something God recently did that demonstrates his wonderful, surprising faithfulness in answering prayer.

Picture this: In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, I’m standing on the stage of a church we planted. This church is experiencing what I can only describe as revival, and as I look out over the audience, packed to the gills and standing room only, the Holy Spirit reminds me of prayers I prayed over thirty years ago when I was in my teens.

You see, I grew up in Winston-Salem, and the church I grew up in was a fairly standard, not very exciting Baptist church. I had gotten saved at 16 (the best of my four baptisms) and really wanted my church to experience revival—the kind I’d read about where people came to Christ by the hundreds and the sense of God’s presence became palpable. My best friend and I showed up every Sunday an hour and a half before church to pray in the sanctuary for God to pour out that revival.

We prayed faithfully for a year, and every single Sunday, I thought, This just might be the week. The time might just be now. Maybe today God is going to open up heaven. And every week, I left bitterly disappointed because the church services remained as dead as they always were.

Eventually, I went off to college, got busy, and started to focus on other things. It always remained a curiosity to me, however, why God did not answer that prayer. It seemed so obvious that he would want revival there. This was a prayer squarely in the center of God’s will, it seemed. Why was he not listening to me? I was a new Christian praying with childlike faith.

Fast-forward to the present day. There I am, standing in front of this incredible new church. You can stand on the front porch of this church and actually see my old church way up on the hill. A lot of the younger people I grew up with have come to this new church plant, and this congregation is experiencing a genuine outpouring of revival. Hundreds of people have come to Christ. As I stand there, the Holy Spirit overwhelms me with these words: “You thought I wasn’t listening to you thirty years ago, but I was. I heard every word. I just answered it differently—and better—than you expected.”

I believe the day will come when we will experience answers like that to every prayer we’ve ever prayed in faith.

Whatever you’re going through, I can assure you, God is listening.

So don’t give up.