Have you ever prayed to God, only to hear stony silence in reply? Could that silence BE His reply?

Could He be announcing that there is something YOU need to do first before He’ll continue the conversation? 

Think about it this way …

It’s common in many marriages. A thoughtless husband sheepishly attempts, for the umpteenth time, to casually converse with his mistreated wife, as though nothing has happened.

She sits with her arms crossed, silently protesting with tears streaming down her cheeks, for a reason. 

She wants the air to be clear … first! Doesn’t he get it? She’s been harmed by him, and the knucklehead refuses to apologize, to make amends, to change his ways.

He ignores her pleas and insists on simply returning to “normal,” which for her, means more of the same.

Scripture warns in 1 Peter 3:7, “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

How NOT to have our prayers answered.

We can be this thoughtless way with God … Is it any wonder why the skies are “as brass,” and our prayers rise no higher than the ceiling?

Can we humans “hurt” God’s feelings? Well, He is a Person, not a “thing,” or a “force.”

On one occasion in Matthew 23:37, for example, Jesus exclaimed (likely with tears in His eyes), “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” 

God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, spoke similarly to His’s people centuries before, in Isaiah 1:15-16:

“So, when you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you offer many prayers,
I will not be listening.
Your hands are covered with blood.

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Stop doing evil,”

These are the words of a deeply caring, personally invested parent, wooing His errant children to return home with Him.

First, they must do their part, clean up their act. But they were unwilling.

So, how can we offend God? Consider two overall classes of people: Those who have no relationship with God, and those who do have a personal relationship with God through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for their sins,

Those who have no relationship with God — unbelievers:

Despite all the biblical, historical and archaeological evidence to the contrary, they insist on turning a blind eye to the claims of Christ on their lives.

In Romans 1:19-20, scripture describes such people this way: “… because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”\

By suppressing the truth that God exists, they deny their need for a Savior.

The tragedy is that God has already undertaken the humanly impossible task of providing the means for a free and eternal salvation for such people, yet they refuse to accept it.

The triune God suffered unimaginable pangs to remove the eternal penalty and irresistible power of sin in their lives, and they throw it back in His face.

Unbeliever, until you’ve “done business” with God regarding His Son Jesus, you are still a stranger, and He has nothing more to say to you while you refuse to acknowledge His Son Jesus as YOUR Lord. =

Those who do have a personal relationship with God — believers: 

Once you’ve “done business” with God about His Son Jesus, you are now a son or daughter, and God has opened the floodgates of Heaven and begun to pour forth its treasures.

But sons and daughters have responsibilities in God’s house to “walk in the light,” and when we “mess up” to clear the air through confession.

The Apostle John put it this way in 1 John 1:7-9

“… if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin … If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

How About You?

If all you’ve been hearing from heaven lately is a deafening silence, perhaps it’s time to check the dark corners of your life for hindrances to your prayers.

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information, or contact him at don@peervalue.com. The opinions expressed are his own.