3 Tragedies of Prayerlessness

“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.”

– F.B. Meyer

Unasked-for Prayer

James, Jesus’ stepbrother, wrote, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3). If we’re praying for the wrong reasons, God will not answer that prayer. For one thing, it wouldn’t be good for us. For another, our hearts are not in the right place when we pray for things that are only for us and our personal passions. Worse still are the prayers that aren’t even offered. God cannot answer a prayer that’s not prayed in the first place.

Unanswered Prayer

Why do we sometimes not pray at all? It may be because God didn’t answer our prayer last time in the way we would have liked. However, if we think of a young child asking his or her parent for a steak knife to play with, the parent would have the sense to say, “No. You’ll hurt yourself or someone else.” We must accept the noes in our prayer life because we know God is far wiser than any earthly parent.

Unoffered Prayer

When we fail to pray, we fail to show God we truly need Him in our lives. Plus, we don’t give back to God what He deserves, which is our thanksgiving, gratitude, and a sacrifice of praise. All that we have was given freely by God (1 Corinthians 4:7), including the free gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). So why not pray just to give Him thanks for saving you if nothing else? Not being thankful is listed among the attributes of the lost (Romans 1:21), not of the saved.


F.B. Meyer is correct in saying that the worst thing about prayer is not praying at all. Unasked-for prayer will be unanswered prayer, and not much good will come of this. Why not repent, confess your sins, come to the Father in prayer, and ask for things that will glorify Him and His Son, Jesus Christ?