Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren says there are three reasons why God rejects prayer requests.
In his Daily Hope devotional on Wednesday, Warren outlined the three factors that might lead to God rejecting something a person asks for in a prayer, saying these reasons include:
1. God knows what's best, and you don't;
2. Sometimes Christians pray in conflict;
3. God is not a genie.
"You don't just put in a prayer and get whatever you want. If every prayer were answered, we'd be spoiled brats. Do you give your children everything they ask for? I hope not," wrote Warren.
"You know what's best for them. You can see the bigger picture. If you can see the bigger picture for your kids, how much bigger is the picture God can see?"
Regarding the "Sometimes Christians pray in conflict" reason, Warren explained that this came as an example of when different believers pray for different outcomes.
"If two Christians are praying at the Super Bowl for different teams, who's God going to answer? Obviously, God can't answer every prayer at the same time," noted Warren.
"The attitude of your prayer needs to be: 'Lord, this is my prayer request, but thy will be done.' That's what Jesus prayed in Luke 22:42: 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done' (NIV)."
This is not the first time this year that Warren has written a devotional on the topic of prayer. In a July entry on Daily Hope, Warren noted the four "secrets to answered prayer."
The four secrets are:
1. Base your request on God's character;
2. Confess the sins of which you're aware;
3. Claim the promises of God;
4. Be very specific in what you ask for.
"If you want specific answers to prayer, then make specific requests. If your prayers consist of general requests, how will you know if they're answered?" Warren asked.
"After Nehemiah based his prayer on who God is, he confessed his sins. It wasn't Nehemiah's fault that Israel went into captivity. He wasn't even born when it happened; he was most likely born in captivity. Yet, he's including himself in the national sins."