Episode 34: Why You Aren’t Getting What You Want Out of Prayer

prayer Oct 25, 2021


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Today is a continuation of the discussion we had last week about prayer not being a drive thru order.  If you haven’t listened to that one yet, be sure to, it will make this episode even more powerful for you.

Prayer as a Relationship

Now hopefully, when you think of prayer, if you have listened to last week's episode, you now envision a relationship building tool with God. Prayer is a way for us to communicate with God and receive God's wisdom, power, love and healing. 

But sometimes we treat prayer more like a request list and report or an order we are putting in at a drive thru window. That can often lead to unanswered prayers. Which can then lead to not feeling like God is listening, cares or even loves us at times. And sometimes lead to questioning your faith. 

Not getting an answer to prayers and pleading is still painful and it’s ok to be frustrated, hurt or disappointed. 

Elder Hales said,

“The Father is aware of us, knows our needs, and will help us perfectly.” Sometimes that help is given in the very moment or at least soon after we ask for divine help. Sometimes our most earnest and worthy desires are not answered in the way we hope, but we find that God has greater blessings in store. And sometimes our righteous desires are not granted in this life.”

But what do you do in those moments when you aren’t getting what we want from prayer? Do you give up, blame yourself or lose faith in God and the plan?

President Eyring says that when we feel that way,

“the enemy of the Restoration will try to stop us from praying.”

Different Look at Prayer

What I suggest you do is take a different look at what you are praying for and how you are praying. Not asking God to do the work but asking for help for YOU to do the work.

The Bible Dictionary says that:

"The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."

Now you might hear this quote and say, so I just need to ask and things are given. But when I hear this quote I hear the word work. Let me reread the sentence that stands out to me.

Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them.

Now I don’t think this means that we just keep asking for the same thing over and over again hoping to get an answer. 

Prayer Requires Work on Your Part

I believe we need to be asking for help with the work we are about to do  then get up from our knees and do that work with faith in our heart that God will provide us the means to do that work.

So what does that mean right?

Well I think a lot of times in prayer we ask for giant things to be granted and when we don’t see an answer to that prayer, we start that doubt cycle I talked about at the beginning.

The truth is, when you ask for something that big, God can’t grant it to you immediately.

What usually happens is that God will start leading you in the right direction, giving you tender mercies along the way and answering it little by little. 

Spiritual Breadcrumbs

The problem is we are looking for the end result not the, what I call, spiritual breadcrumbs leading us to the blessing. Also in asking for big giant things to be answered we often put the work on God to do.

We want God to give us an answer, do something or make something go away.

The problem with that is it takes the work away from us and puts the responsibility on God.

Remember when I talked about prayer being a way for us to build a relationship. Well a relationship is a two way street and we are supposed to be doing work on our end as well. We need to be showing God that we are willing to do the work on our end just as God is doing on Their end. 

Think about it, why wasn’t the church fully revealed to Joseph smith all at once. I mean there were angels coming down and telling him exactly what he needed to know.

Why not then just poof have everything set up?

President Nelson tells us that the church isn’t even fully restored yet and we are almost 200 years of the church being organized. 

It’s because it is in the revealing of the answers that our relationship with Christ is built 


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Answers to Prayer

Answers aren’t to make our life easier but to know our savior and develop a reliance upon Him.

So what if we started forming our prayers in the way that God answers them. By chunking them down smaller into bread crumb size prayers that lead us in the right direction. Also asking for help with things YOU can do to help make that blessing a reality, rather than leave the work up to God.

So what I am going to do here is show you a few examples of big giant prayers and then give you examples of smaller breadcrumb prayers you could ask instead to lead you to the blessing God wants to give you.

I have complied these on this weeks handout for the episode so you don’t have to write these all down as you listen

Just click here to get that printed out.

Here are some examples of requests in prayer that put the work on God and not on us.

The first big giant prayer that could be asked is What is my purpose?

That’s a pretty big thing to be asked and answered immediately, or even within a week.

What if we chunked that down into smaller bread crumb prayers that could lead us in that direction.

  • Like Help me to know what priorities I should focus on today
  • Help me to know what people I need to be helping today
  • Help me to know that what I am doing today is in alignment with your will
  • Provide me a tender mercy to know the direction I am going is correct

Ok see how each of those breaks it down into something you could recognize TODAY

Then you can see how God is answering that, then the next day you can form your prayers around the answers you got the day before

Ok another big question can be What decision should I make?

Now depending on the decision this can be pretty big, like changing jobs, moving, relationships anything big really

Most of the time, God doesn’t just confirm yup here's the answer

Usually God will lead you down a path with bread crumbs to come to the right answer

So instead of waiting and hoping you could do the work and get breadcrumb answers along the way

  • You could ask for insight on where to look for answers that day
  • You could ask for a person to be led to you that will provide more information
  • You could ask for a insights you could look into further to be brought to your mind as you study out the decision in your mind
  • Then as you get answers to those questions it can lead you to deeper more specific questions to ask about the decision

Ok here’s a final giant request I often see asked, Heal/help a specific person.

Instead of just continually praying for that person to be helped or healed, 

  • Pray for someone to remember them that day or provide a tender mercy
  • Pray to know how you can specifically help them that day
  • Pray that they will feel God’s love for them that day
  • Pray the people that are helping them can be inspired
  • Pray that they might have insights brought to their mind that will guide them to the help they need.

Ok now don’t forget to go get that handout so you can be inspired to know how to get what you want out of prayer.

Also be sure to tune in next week when I talk about the art of aligning your will with God.


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