God retains the right to answer any prayer at any time. However, here are some issues that may get in the way.
1. You Do Not Obey God
God obeys those who obey him (Isaiah 58: 3-9). If you already know him and you know his will but are not doing it, this may be a barrier to his granting your heart’s desire. Therefore rectify any wrongs that you have done by going to Confession and resolve to stop committing those sins. Do not pick up new sins either – try not to. Resolve to go to Confession more often. Ideally, once a month.
2. Your Sacrifice is Weak or Non-Existent
You are not generous with God. This applies to all resources: money, time, talent etc. Plan also to give to the Church but also to charities that serve in-line with the Gospel. Of course, this is after you have paid all your bills and other obligations. If you are financially stable, try to tithe, that is, give ten percent of your wage before taxes. This is not an obligation in the Catholic Church but is a good historical practice nonetheless. Spend time with your family and friends. Schedule this time like you do other work. Plan for the patience you will need to be with that family member or friend who needs extra love and care.
3. You Live Two Separate Lives
Hypocrisy is a major turn off to God. Just read what Jesus said to hypocrites: Mt 23. Yeah, need I say more. If you are leading two lives – one that appears holy to others while you do unholy things when others are not looking, you need to repent right away. Go to Confession as soon as you can and resolve to stop the hypocrisy.
5. It is not Good for You
What you are asking for may not be Good for you. God is not Santa Claus. He is a parent. Like a good parent, God will give you everything that is good for you. Because you are a child you may ask for things that are not good for you and he will hold back on that. Trust in God as a child trusts in his or her parents. Trust in God more than you trust in your parents (Luke 11: 11-13)
6. Not in His Plan; Not in His Time
What you are asking for may not be part of the plan of God for you at this time. God’s time is the best always. You cannot see all the factors that he is able to take into consideration on your account. Therefore ask, and then trust that he has a plan that is far better than yours. Do not obsess over your prayer request while waiting on God. Find good distractions after leaving things in his hands.
7. You Lack Faith
Jesus was able to work miracles and grant all prayer requests because of the faith of the person praying to him. Even gentiles in his time repeatedly had their request granted by him: Roman officials, the Canaanite woman, the Samaritan woman and so on. Faith is everything. Without it, God cannot do much for you. However, if you have faith and your prayer seems unanswered, see numbers 1 to 6 above.
8. You Ask for the Wrong Reasons
Is your prayer selfish? St. James says that we are not answered because we have the wrong motives (James 4: 1-3). In addition to your particular requests are you asking for other things that please the Lord? The Lord’s Prayer is a good example of a perfect prayer. Follow its 7 petitions as outlined below and make sure your prayer has all 7 components:
|1. Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name|
|Talk to God as your father. Recognize God as God and honour him|
|2. Your Kingdom come|
|Pray for his reign to continue to grow here on earth|
|3. Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven|
|Pray for his will to be done in the choices of men all over the world.|
|4. Give us this day our daily bread|
|Ask for what you need (what you want too but prioritize needs). Needs include both material needs and spiritual gifts|
|5. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us|
|Ask for pardon for all your sins and for all others. Especially because you know that you have probably not done enough to forgive others who sinned against you|
|6. Lead us not into temptation|
|Pray that God helps you when you are tempted and that you never go astray from him|
|7. Deliver us from evil|
|Ask for protection from all the wickness and snares or traps of the evil one.|