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Why are my prayers not answered immediately?

Luke 1:13. Prayers are not always answered immediately. Sometimes we must wait a long time to receive answers to our prayers. (10–15 minutes)

After the opening prayer, ask students:

  • Does God hear every prayer?
  • Does He answer every prayer?
  • What should we do if an answer doesn’t come right away?

Read Luke 1:13. What does this verse teach about God? (He hears and answers prayers.) Review verses 5–12 and look for how long Zacharias and Elisabeth may have prayed before an answer came. What does that teach you about God answering prayers?

Share the following statement from Bishop H. Burke Peterson, then a member of the Presiding Bishopric:

“Heavenly Father listens to every prayer from his children. … No matter what we may have done wrong, he listens to us. …

“… Some [prayers] are answered immediately, but some do take longer, and that’s where we may become discouraged. …

“There are … times when you wonder if he is ever going to answer. About twenty-two years ago our fourth daughter was born. After she was born, the doctor told my wife that she shouldn’t have any more children. We talked about it, and she said, ‘I feel that there is another child for us.’ So we decided, of course, that we were going to have another baby.

“Well, a year went by, and the baby didn’t come; and two years went by. Finally one of the girls said to me, ‘Are you sure we’re supposed to have another baby?’ My wife had said that she knew we could have one, so we went and collectively asked her, ‘Are you sure we’re going to have a baby?’ She said, ‘Yes, but we haven’t prayed long enough or hard enough.’ So we prayed for another year, and still no baby came. Then we asked the question again: ‘Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?’ ‘Yes,’ was her reply. So we prayed and prayed and prayed for one and two and three and four and five and six and seven and eight years! And then one day at the table she said, ‘Guess what? We’re going to have a baby.’ Prayers, you see, are sometimes answered quickly, but other times you pray a long, long time before you get what you want. …

“May the Lord bless you to persevere in righteous purposes” (“Prayer—Try Again,” Ensign, June 1981, 73–75).

Invite students to share how it makes them feel to know that God answers prayers.


Post Date: January 3, 2019
Scripture Reference:
Age Group: ,
Author: Jenny Smith


Jenny Smith
Jenny Smith is a designer who started blogging in 2004 to share lesson and activity ideas with members of her home branch Mississippi. Her collection has grown, and she now single-handedly manages the world's largest collection of free lesson help for LDS teachers with faceted search. Her library includes teaching techniques, object lessons, mini lessons, handouts, visual aids, and doctrinal mastery games categorized by scripture reference and gospel topic. Jenny loves tomatoes, Star Trek, and her family -- not necessarily in that order.
Jenny Smith is a designer, blogger, and tomato enthusiast who lives in Virginia on a 350+ acre farm with her husband and one very grouchy cat.
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