Some believers get discouraged over unanswered prayers and, finally, they simply give up. They think, "Prayer doesn't work for me and why should I pray if it doesn't work?"
The Israelites in Isaiah's time had the same attitude. Isaiah wrote: "They seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness . . . they ask of me . . . they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge (notice)?" (Isaiah 58:2-3).
These people were saying, "I love God. I do right and avoid sin, and until recently, I've been faithful to seek Him in prayer. But, you know what? He's never answered me. So why should I continue afflicting my soul before Him?"
James writes that God doesn't answer the prayers of those who ask for things simply to satisfy themselves: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3). In other words: "You're not asking for God's will. You're not ready to submit to whatever He wants. Rather, you're trying to dictate to Him those things that will satisfy your own heart."
Our God is utterly faithful. Paul writes, "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). He is saying, "It doesn't matter if you hear a million voices crying, ‘Prayer doesn't work. God doesn't hear me!’ Let every man be called a liar because God's Word stands. He is faithful to hear us!"
Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew 21:22). Simply put, Christ is saying, "If you truly believe, you will be willing to wait and expect an answer from your heavenly Father. No matter how long it takes, you will hold on in faith, believing He will answer."
"Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!" (Psalm 31:19). "They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing" (34:10).