Is God answering your prayers, or does it seem as if He’s not listening? Hearing no reply can be very discouraging, especially when you really need His help. Although it’s not always possible to know why God is silent, James offers some possible reasons:
• Sin (James 4:1-2). Unaddressed sin hinders communication with God. This may have been the case with the recipients of James’s letter, who were quarreling and feeling animosity.
• Wrong Motives (James 4:3). Sometimes our petitions may be self-centered. James clearly says that God won’t answer this kind of prayer, which amounts to asking for our will to be done rather than His.
• Worldly Desires (James 4:4). The world presents deceptive philosophies that lure us away from pure devotion to Christ. When we find more pleasure in its offerings than in Jesus, we are vulnerable and can easily be distracted from things that are of eternal value. Whether we realize it or not, this puts us in opposition to God.
If you recognize any of these hindrances in your life, the solution is clear: Confess and repent of your sinful attitudes, actions, and desires (1 John 1:9). Then thank God and rejoice in His cleansing.