Answer to Prayer

Why doesn't God answer my prayers?

A man is praying on a mountain top. (© Bigstock)


Special Shabbat Reading

Special readings are applicable this Shabbat.

  • Shabbat Nachamu (שבת נחמו | Sabbath of comforting)
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26

Shabbat Nachamu ("Sabbath of comfort/ing) takes its name from the haftarah from Isaiah in the Book of Isaiah 40:1-26 that speaks of "comforting" the Jewish people for their suffering. It the first of seven haftarahs of consolation leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Va'etchanan (ואתחנן | I pleaded)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26
  • Gospel: Luke 3:2-15

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Deuteronomy 3:23 | Moses Views Canaan from Pisgah
    • Deuteronomy 4:1 | Moses Commands Obedience
    • Deuteronomy 4:41 | Cities of Refuge East of the Jordan
    • Deuteronomy 4:44 | Transition to the Second Address
    • Deuteronomy 5:1 | The Ten Commandments
    • Deuteronomy 5:22 | Moses the Mediator of God's Will
    • Deuteronomy 6:1 | The Great Commandment
    • Deuteronomy 6:10 | Caution against Disobedience
    • Deuteronomy 7:1 | A Chosen People
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 40:1 | God's People Are Comforted

Portion Summary

The forty-fifth reading from the Torah and the second reading from the book of Deuteronomy is named Va'etchanan (ואתחנן), which means "and I besought." The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which says, "I also pleaded (va'etchanan) with the LORD at that time" (Deuteronomy 3:23). The portion completes the historical prologue of the Deuteronomy covenant document and begins a rehearsal of the stipulations. Part of that rehearsal is a repetition of the Ten Commandments and the famous first passage of the Shema: Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

We don't always get what we ask for. Moses wanted to enter the promised land. More than anything, he wanted to finish the journey, cross the Jordan and stand on the soil of the holy land. God said, "No."

Moses pleaded with the LORD, "Let me, I pray, cross over and see the fair land that is beyond the Jordan" (Deuteronomy 3:25). Ordinarily Moses got what he asked for. Whether he asked for miraculous provision, amazing signs and wonders, direct answers from heaven, or divine assistance and rescue, God heard the prayers of Moses and answered them immediately. But not even Moses got everything he wanted. Despite his earnest entreaties, God refused to allow Moses to enter Canaan. The LORD replied to his prayers, saying, "Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter" (Deuteronomy 3:26).

The LORD is gracious and compassionate. He delights to answer the prayers of His children. He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. If an earthly father gives good gifts to his children when they ask him, how much more so does our heavenly Father delight to answer our prayers? Yeshua teaches us, "Whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you" (John 15:16). Nevertheless, the answer to prayer is sometimes "No."

If God gave me everything I asked for in prayer, it would be the same as giving me the power of being God. I might arbitrarily change the color of the sky, reorganize the chemical composition of water, turn time backward or wish the universe out of existence. Obviously God has to reserve the right to say no to our prayers. James the brother of the Master says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3).

Even when we ask with the right motives, God still might have to say no. When we pray, we need to trust in God's wisdom and kindness, knowing that He has our best interests in mind. Though we don't always get an affirmative answer, we can be confident that our prayers are heard.

Just as Moses longed to enter the land, so too Yeshua awaits His return to Israel. He awaits the day of redemption when He can return at last to His land, His people and His disciples and thereby bring His great redemptive work to its conclusion.

Join the Conversation:

FFOZ Friends are individuals, families, or congregations who resonate with the mission and vision of First Fruits of Zion and contribute financially towards reaching our ministry objectives.

Become a Friend!

Share this Teaching

Torah Club is an interactive group Bible study that brings together disciples from diverse backgrounds to share the common ground of new discovery. We have more than three hundred clubs forming around the world. Find a Torah Club in your area. If there is none, prayerfully consider joining our global mission and start a club in your area—there are others like you who want to be a part of Torah Club.

Learn More

Get the Email Newsletter

The Weekly eDrash

Get inspirational teachings on the Torah Portions delivered to your inbox free every week. Insightful commentary from Genesis to Deuteronomy!


Related Commentary

Torah Portions Library

Unlock all the portion library articles:
sign in, or join our community »

© 2019 First Fruits of Zion, Inc., All Rights Reserved


First Fruits of Zion

© 2019, All Rights Reserved

Copyright Privacy Contact Help Donate