Not every petition is granted. Paul asked three times for deliverance from his "thorn in the flesh". God's answer to Paul directed him to find comfort in God's sufficient grace. Also God declared that His power is best seen in Paul's weakness. "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NIV) God gave him problem to hinder his pride as Paul admitted that. He learned that petitions are sometimes denied in light of an eventual greater good: God's power displayed in Paul's humility.
Faith is the condition for answered petitions. "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24 NIV) Two extremes must be avoided concerning faith.
(1) With Jesus' example in mind we must not thing that faith will always cause our wishes to be granted.
(2) Also we must not go through the motions of prayer without faith.
Some believers do not received what they pray for because they pray from selfish motives. "You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:2-3 NIV) Prayers are also hindered by corrupted character or injured relationship. "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." (1 Peter 3:7 NIV)
CONCLUSION: We need to check our heart before we make our petitions.
This series is from my hand-out notes during our six months Church Membership Class in LWCM , Banilad, Cebu, Philippines. The class was conducted by our Senior Pastor Mel Caparros.