Sometimes YHVH Doesn’t Hear or Answer Prayer

Under what circumstances does YHVH not answer prayers? Whose prayers does he not hear much less answer? The answers to these questions may shock some people who have been misled by the mainstream church to believe that YHVH Elohim is their divine sugar-daddy in the sky who is like a cosmic vending machine—every time you put in your coin and push the button, you’re automatically guaranteed to get something yummy in return. In reality, the Bible teaches us to view Elohim very differently. The Scriptures have a lot to say on this subject.

Before sharing what the Scriptures have to say about answered and unanswered prayer, consider this. YHVH Elohim is holy (Heb. kadosh) or set-apart and totally righteous. By his mercy and grace we exist. He doesn’t need us; we need him. He’s not obligated to do anything for us. To think that he is duty-bound to bless us by hearing, much less answering our prayers is presumptuous at the least, and arrogant and self-centered at the most, and it doesn’t line up with what the Scriptures say on the subject. If we have been guilty of this erroneous belief, it is time to repent and to line up our hearts and minds with what the Word of Elohim teaches us on this subject. If we operate within the perimeters of YHVH’s Word, we’re more likely to have our prayers answered. YHVH Elohim follows his own word, and so should we.

Remember these wise words from Solomon:

Walk prudently when you go to the house of Elohim; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before Elohim. For Elohim is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.… a fool’s voice is known by his many words.…For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed…Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of Elohim that it was an error. Why should Elohim be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear Elohim. (Eccl 5:1–4, 6)

There is a severe dearth of the fear of Eohim in the modern church, and this is contrary to what the Scriptures reveal should be our approach to the Almighty Creator and is thus offensive to him. It is time that the saints had a higher, more respectful view of Elohim and a lower view of themselves, and this has to do with our approach to prayer as well.

The “Phone Lines” to Elohim Are Not Always Open

Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not come near him. (Ps 32:6)

This infers that sometimes YHVH may be found when his people seek him, and sometimes he may not be found.

Give ear to my prayer, O Elohim, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy.  (Ps 55:1)

This teaches us that sometimes YHVH hides his face, even from his people who seek him in prayer.

It’s Not Guaranteed YHVH Will Hear All Prayers

O YHVH Elohim of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O Elohim of Jacob! Selah. (Ps 84:8)

If David had to cry out to Elohim to hear his prayers, then this indicates that he was humble enough to admit that YHVH wasn’t obligated to hear his prayers, or that Continue reading


When Confronting Our Spiritual Enemy: Battlefield or Throne Room?

When engaged in spiritual warfare prayer, consider this. Yeshua only addressed demons or Satan directly when the demon or Satan were actually manifesting. The same is true with Paul when dealing with the python spirit in the slave girl in Philippi, or with Peter when dealing with Simon the Magician. This is because at that moment they were on the spiritual battlefield, and direct confrontation with the enemy was unavoidable.

When not on the battlefield, we need to go through the courts of heaven when dealing with our spiritual enemies. To wit, I can think of no examples in the Bible of the saints speaking to Satan or his demons directly unless engaged in direct battle with them when evil spirits were actually manifesting.

Therefore, when engaged in spiritual warfare and not on the battlefield and in direct confrontation with the demonic element, we need to address our spiritual warfare issues and make our petitions known before the throne of the Almighty in the courts of heaven. It is also there that we will be given divine guidance to formulate our battle plans when the time comes to directly engage the enemy on the battlefield. We must communicate with Elohim in a way that the enemy will not overhear these strategic plans and thus be able to thwart them by mounting a defence against them ahead of time.

Yeshua instructed his disciples to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matt 10:16). He also declared that, “the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light”  (Luke 16:8). Therefore, we need to engage the enemy prudently, shrewdly and intelligently following strict biblical protocols if we want to experience more victories.


Unanswered Prayers? Consider This

Ecclesiastes 10:20 warns us, “Do not curse the king, even in your thought; do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird [Heb. owf] of the air may carry your voice, and a bird [Heb. baal] in flight may tell the matter.” This verse is very revealing regarding what goes on in the unseen spiritual realm where Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2) and the ruler of this world (John 16:11).

The phrase in this verse is a parallelism—a form of Hebrew poetry where two phrases are juxtaposed and appear to be saying the same thing, but, in this case, a subtle spiritual truth is be being revealed in the second phrase. In the first phrase, the word for bird is a generic Hebrew word meaning “bird, winged creature, winged insect.” The second phrase reveals the subtle truth. It is telling us to be careful what you say or even think—even in private, for a god (or demon) might reveal it to it’s lord or king. In other words, a false god or demon spirit might convey what you’ve thought or said to its demon master, or even to Satan, who is the god of this age (2 Cor 4:4).

With regard to prayer we must remember this: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:1). In light of this reality and with regard to prayer, it is vital that we remember this: When making intercession for situations or people or praying against the enemies of Elohim or engaging in spiritual warfare against Satan and his plans, ask YHVH to cover your prayers under the blood of Yeshua (Rev 12:11), to bind the (demonic) strong man (Matt 12:29; Mark 3:26–27 cp. Rev 20:2), to send his angels to protect you against the enemy’s plans to thwart your prayers (Ps 91:11–12; Heb 1:14), and to send confusion to our spiritual enemies (Ps 35:4, 26; 40:14; Jer 20:11).

It is essential that we employ this strategy against our spiritual adversary, so that he won’t be able to hear our prayers and thus be able to prepare a defensive plan or a punishing backlash against us to prevent our prayers from being effective. When he succeeds in this, the result is often unanswered prayers causing the saint to become discouraged, so that he prays less rather than more—a victory for the evil one.

Perhaps this is why some of our prayers go unanswered or seem ineffective; it is because we are inadvertently revealing our plans to the enemy thus allowing him to thwart them.


The Altar of Incense and You—Gateway to the Throne Room

Exodus 30:1–10, Altar to burn incense. The golden incense altar was constructed of acacia wood covered in gold and was situated in front of the veil leading into the holy of holies (the most set-apart place) halfway between the menorah and the table of showbread. Like the table of showbread, it had a golden crown around the top of it, which points to Yeshua being the head of the body of believers. The priest burned incense on the altar twice daily, in the morning and the evening. Scripture reveals that incense represents the prayers of the saints rising up to heaven before the throne of Elohim (Ps 141:2; Rev 5:8), which in the tabernacle is pictured by the mercy seat in the most set-apart place or oracle (d’veer). The altar of incense was a place of deep prayer, praise, worship and intercession and speaks directly to the intimate twice daily prayer life and devotions of the born-again believer before the throne of the Father in heaven.

The Altar of Incense in More Detail

At the altar of incense, preparation was made to enter the most set-apart place (holy of holies). This altar was located just opposite the veil of the kodesh hakodashim (holy of holies) where the high priest offered up incense to the Father in heaven. This was the place of ultimate worship, prayer and intercession just before entering into the most intimate place of all: the d’veer (oracle) or kodesh hakodashim. Only a very thin veil exists between the altar and the kodesh hakodashim where the abode of YHVH’s actual manifest presence was. It was on the altar of incense that the high priest made atonement once a year with the blood of the sin offering (Exod 30:10). The blood was sprinkled on this altar seven times. This occurred on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur; Lev 16:18–19).

This altar was also constructed of acacia wood overlaid in gold. The high priest burned incense on this altar in the morning when he would clean the menorah, and in afternoon when he would light the menorah (Exod 30:6–8). This pictures the prayers of the saints going up to heaven (Ps 141:2; Rev 5:8) and suggests that it is pleasing to the Father that believers be praying, communing with him or otherwise attempting to bond with him twice daily: morning and afternoon.

The incense was comprised of sweet spices, with pure frankincense, stacte or balsamic resin, onycha and galbanum (Exod 30:34–38). According to Jewish tradition, there were eleven spices used in the incense. Galbanum has a foul aroma to remind us that everyone’s prayers were allowed to be uttered—even those of sinners.

This altar was higher than the other implements in the set-apart place, since prayer, worship and intercession is our highest calling and act of service to YHVH. We are to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17; Eph 6:18). YHVH’s house was to be known as a “house of prayer for all people” (Isa 56:7).


On Being a Living Sacrifice

The Twice Daily Sacrifices and the Saints Daily Devotions

This twice daily offering was known as the continual burnt offering (Heb. olah tamiyd), and was offered at the door of the tabernacle (verse 42). The word continual (Heb. tamiyd) means “continually.” This sacrificial offering has great spiritual implications for the serious disciple of Yeshua and relates to his or her daily life.

The Hebrew word for burnt offering is olah meaning “ascent, stairway or steps,” and derives from the basic Hebrew verb, alah, meaning “to go up, climb or ascend.” In this offering, the fire consumes the entire animal, and the word olah refers to the smoke of this whole burnt offering ascending to heaven, which is a “sweet aroma” to YHVH (verse 41). The olah was an offering or gift (Lev 1:2, Heb. qorban) to YHVH and could be a bull, goat, ram, turtle dove or a pigeon as long as it was a perfect specimen without defect (Lev 1). If an Israelite sinned, he could bring this gift-offering to the door of the tabernacle where he would place his hands upon the head of the animal, after which the priests would slaughter it, and sprinkle its blood around the altar of sacrifice just inside the door of the tabernacle (Lev 1:2, 4, 5). The meat was then prepared and arranged on the altar and entirely burnt (Lev 1:6–17). When the sinner laid his hands on the animal, it was as if he were transferring his sins onto the innocent, blemish-free animal, where upon YHVH accepted it as an atonement for the person’s sin (Lev 1:4).

The writer of Hebrews clearly teaches that this offering (along with all the other offerings in the sacrificial system) pointed to Yeshua, our Great High Priest, whose atoning death on the cross fulfilled all the types and shadows of the Levitical, sacrificial system (Heb 4:14–5:7; 7:1–10:18).

Besides the obvious antetypes pointing to Yeshua’s death on the cross, what else can we learn from the olah tamiyd offering rituals? What are the spiritual implications and the lessons to be learned for the redeemed believer living in the twenty-first century? Matthew Henry in his commentary on Numbers 28:1–8 sums it up very nicely:

The particular law of the daily sacrifice, a lamb in the morning and a lamb in the evening, which, for the constancy of it as duly as the day came, is called a continual burnt-offering (v. 3), which intimates that when we are bidden to pray always, and to pray without ceasing, it is intended that at least every morning and every evening we offer up our solemn prayers and praises to [Elohim]. (emphasis added)

This olah tamiyd sacrifice was connected to the rising and setting of the sun as implied by the words of the psalmist (Ps 113:3). At the same time, the priest was to burn incense on the incense altar (Exod 30:7–8) as part of the olah tamiyd sacrifice.

The biblical writers foresaw a time coming when either there would be no tabernacle or temple in which to offer the sacrifices and incense, or the designated place of worship would be inaccessible to the Israelite. In this situation, Hosea admonishes sinful Israel to return to YHVH and to offer up the sacrifices (lit. the calves or young bulls) of our lips, while expecting Elohim to graciously receive them and take away their iniquity (Hos 14:2). Paul embraced this idea when he admonished the saints to become as “living sacrifices…unto Eohim” (Rom 12:2). In John’s vision of heaven, he sees the prayers of the saints as being like sweet smelling incense before the throne of the Almighty One (Rev 5:8; 8:3). Not only does YHVH view the prayers of the righteous as incense, but their praises of him as a sacrifice or a thanksgiving offering as well (Jer 33:11; Heb 13:15). The psalmist goes on to connect the dots between the olah tamiyd sacrifice, incense, prayer and praise when he writes,

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Ps 141:2)

How is the non-priest to offer incense before the YHVH? This is done through prayer and worship as the prophet Malachi indicates:

For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering, for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith YHVH of Hosts. (Mal 1:11)

The Torah prohibits offering sacrifices anywhere YHVH has not placed his name. What’s more, Yeshua has fulfilled the sacrificial system by his death on the cross once and for all, and has become our Great High Priest. So how then do the nations offer up sacrifices in every place as Malachi prophesies except by prayer and praise? The same is true, of course, for redeemed believers who are now part of Yeshua’s royal priesthood as Peter testifies:

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to Elohim by Yeshua the Messiah. (1 Pet 2:5)

However, since there is no longer either a temple or a Levitical priesthood, yet the saints are called priest of Yeshua (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6), how shall we as the saints of the Most High fulfill our priestly duties if not by serving our Master Yeshua through our twice daily prayer and praise?


The Cross and Prayer Defeats the Enemy

Exodus 17:11, Moses held up his hands. Here Moses goes to the top of the hill with his rod in hand and raises his arms as in surrender (to YHVH, not to the enemy). As long as his arms are raised, the Israelites under Joshua prevail. Finally Moses’ arms become weary and the arms hang down supported by rocks, so that with his rod in his hands now resembles Yeshua on the cross. Meanwhile, Joshua (Heb. Yehoshua or Yeshua) leads the Israelites to victory over the Amalekites. This is a spiritual picture of the saint surrendering to Yeshua at the cross who then leads us to victory over our enemies. In the end times, Yeshua is returning to this earth on a war stallion to judge the wicked and once and for all to defeat his enemies who have tried to king (Amalek means “I am king”) over his people.

This is also a picture of prayer and intercession. Battles are not won so much by men and weapons as they are through prayer. As with Moses, spiritual battle through prayer can become fatiguing and wearisome, yet the spiritual warrior must press onward beseeching heaven in mountain moving faith if the battle against the enemies will be won. Often the weary spiritual warrior must seek the aid of other spiritual soldiers to assist and support him in his spiritual endeavors.


Are you spiritual naked and unprepared for Yeshua’s coming?

Mark 14:51, A certain young man…naked. The reason for the inclusion of this detail in the Gospel record has puzzled many commentators. For example, Matthew Henry suggests that it was added to show the barbarous nature of the Jewish gang that arrested Yeshua, and how narrow was the disciples’ escape from their hands.

There seems, however, to be a greater spiritual lesson to be learned from this story.

Previous to this, Yeshua, as he and his disciples were coming into the Garden of Gethsemane, admonished them to sit and pray with him (v. 32), to stay and watch (v. 34), to watch and pray so as not to fall into temptation because of the weakness of the flesh (v. 38). Instead, the disciples slept (vv. 37, 40). Elsewhere, Yeshua instructs the elect saints of the last days to endure tribulation and spiritual apostasy to the end (Matt 24:13), and to watch vigilantly and be ready for his second coming (Matt 24:42, 44; 25:13). These warnings are in the context of his Parable of the Ten Virgins. All slept while awaiting the bridegroom’s arrival. While five were spiritually prepared, five were not. Those who were unprepared were dubbed as foolish and weren’t allowed into the wedding. Likewise, in the end times, there will be believers who YHVH views as wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked because they have grown lukewarm spiritually (Rev 3:14–17).

The point of this discussion is this: If the disciples of Yeshua fail to maintain a state of spiritual preparedness (by watching, praying, keeping oil in their spiritual lamps, enduring to the end) while awaiting his return, they, like the young man in Gethsemane and the Laodiceans in the Book of Revelation, will be found to be spiritually naked lacking robes of righteousness on the day of his return and thus unprepared to meet him (Rev 19:7–9 cp. Matt 22:2, 11–12).