â€œBehold, the LORDâ€™s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.â€ (Isaiah 59:1-2)
People often complain that God doesnâ€™t hear their prayers, especially when God does not respond in the way they would like. But He can hear, all right! â€œHe that planted the ear, shall he not hear?â€ He even hears our thoughts. â€œThou knowest . . . my thought afar offâ€ (Psalm 94:9; 139:2).
It is not that God cannot hear, but it just may be that we have not met the conditions for answered prayer so that He will hear. Probably the most important of these conditions is obedience to His Word. â€œIf ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,â€ said Jesus, â€œye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto youâ€ (John 15:7). But, â€œif I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear meâ€ (Psalm 66:18). â€œYe ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lustsâ€ (James 4:3).
There are other conditions, of course. â€œLet him ask in faith, nothing waveringâ€ (James 1:6). â€œWhatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do,â€ said Jesus (John 14:13). â€œIf we ask any thing according to his will . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of himâ€ (1 John 5:14-15).
Even if we do meet all the conditions, however, He may not answer immediately or in the way we prefer, and He might even answer no. After all, He knows better than we just what is best for us, and He will see that â€œall things work together for goodâ€ for us if we truly â€œlove Godâ€ (Romans 8:28).
But, first of all, we need to check our lives in relation to His Word. Then, â€œif our heart condemn us not . . . whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandmentsâ€ (1 John 3:21-22). HMM