Why Your Prayers Have No Power

Prayer has no power sometimes

Prayer is pouring our hearts out to God. For Christians, it is deeply personal and powerful, but there are times when prayer has no power at all. I’m not talking about the fact that sometimes we must wait for an answer to prayers. I mean, there are times when prayer is futile and worthless.

It might come as a surprise to some that a Christian would say prayer can have no power, but consider these 6 times when that is a true statement.

1. There is no power in prayer when we do not pray regularly.

In Luke 18:1 Jesus told a parable to show that men “always ought to pray and not lose heart.”

2. There is no power in prayer when we put our faith in prayer but not in God.

Mumbling words to a “higher power” is not effective prayer. “Thinking good thoughts” is not effective. Prayer itself is not effective. It is only effective when the audience is the Almighty! (See Matthew 6:5-7.)

3. There is no power in prayer when we pray for our own lusts.

James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

4. There is no power in prayer when we pray for what is not God’s will.

1 John 5:14 states, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” For example, God wants to heal and forgive us, but He will NOT forgive simply because we pray to Him.

5. There is no power in prayer when we abuse our relationships with others.

1 Peter 3:7 warns, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”

6. There is no power in prayer when we refuse to repent of our sins.

Three times Jeremiah was told, “Do not pray for these people” (Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 14:11). This restriction came because of the sins of the people. They simply refused to change!

When Joshua was defeated at Ai, he went into the tabernacle and fell on his face before the Ark of the Lord asking why they failed. God’s response was not to have him pray more. He said, “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned….Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies….Get up, sanctify the people…” (Joshua 7:10-13). Sin separates us from God so that He will not hear us (Isaiah 59:1-2).

How’s your prayer life? Need some help? I’d love to hear from you.

Can you add to the list of times when prayer has no power? Let’s talk about it below.

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About Jason Sparks

I am passionate about spreading the Gospel. God has blessed me with a wife and two children. I have been preaching full time since graduating Brown Trail School of Preaching in June, 1999 and also have an MA from University of Phoenix.

View all posts by Jason Sparks

4 Responses to “Why Your Prayers Have No Power”

  1. Chrissi Steiner Says:

    Could you please explain #4. What do you mean that God will not forgive us simply because we ask?


    • Jason Sparks Says:

      Great question! Thanks for asking. There are two ways to answer that.
      1. Christians are instructed to confess their sins, repent of them, and ask for forgiveness. See 1 John 1:7-9, Luke 13:3, and James 5:16.

      2. According to popular doctrines, one simply has to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. That is not taught in Scripture. Many passages teach against that concept. Notice Saul’s conversion in Acts 9:8-11 where you notice that Paul was fasting for three days and praying. However, Saul was told in Acts 22:16 that he was still in his sins and yet unforgiven. Ananias said to Saul, “And why are you waiting? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of there Lord.” Please also see this article for more information.


  2. Eileen Light Says:

    Great article. Truth. A lot of people Do Not understand prayer at all. People that I talk to seem to believe that God is Santa Claus giving you things that you want, or they only call on Him in an emergency. I believe as Leroy Brownlow once said. In order for your prayers to be heard, “you should not live too far away.”

    “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2


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