3. You’re asking with the wrong motives.
Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t answer people’s prayers to win the lottery? James 4:3 gives us insight: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Try asking God for blessings that will help you bless others. Or try asking Him to bless others first, rather than yourself. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” If He is your desire and your delight, it will delight His heart to grant your desires.
4. You’re all about you.
I recently received an email from a man demanding to know why God wasn’t blessing him. He recounted one unfortunate situation after another and, in a tone of bitterness, expressed his utter disappointment in God. His email was littered with references to “I,” “me,” and “my.” He never asked what he could do to please God, only complained at how God hadn’t pleased him. He didn’t talk about his obedience or any desire he had to be a child whose Father would be pleased to bless him. In fact, he never even talked about a Father-child relationship with God.
God is not a glorified Santa Claus. Nor is He obligated to bless any of us. If you’re all about you, and what God is or isn’t giving you, God might be choosing not to bless your life until you become all about Him (Luke 9:23). When you die to self (Galatians 2:20), your focus won’t be on whether or not you’re being blessed, but on how to be a blessing to God.
5. There is unconfessed sin in your life.
Are you praying for the blessing of a job? A promotion? Success in a certain endeavor? If there is unconfessed sin in your life, it could be affecting your relationship with God and affecting His handout of blessings. God is all about relationship. So, if He’s not blessing, perhaps the relationship is strained through disobedience in your life or habitual sin that you are not surrendering to Him.
After instructing believers to pray with the right motives, James instructs, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James seems to be implying that as we get the relationship right with God, and maintain a level of humility, the blessings – or promotions – will flow.
6. You are being directly impacted by someone else’s sin.
If you’re being responsible and obedient with your money and yet God is not blessing you, financially, you might want to look at the behavior and spending habits of anyone else who shares your bank account. God doesn’t punish us for the sins of others, but we sometimes share the consequences of sin or irresponsibility from those who are closely connected to us.
The Bible is full of warnings about the consequences of unhealthy associations. For instance, Proverbs 22:24-25 warns: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” Psalm 101 is a good example to us to pray for integrity in all our dealings: “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence” (verses 6-7).
7. God’s timing is different than yours.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 assures us: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” I believe that includes a season for blessings. God may want you to wait and grow in dependence on Him before He gives you something.
Scripture also tells us that God’s ways are perfect and His Word is flawless (Psalm 18:30). That means He knows when it’s the right time for us to receive certain blessings and when it’s not.
8. He wants you to be persistent.
Have you become discouraged or given up when it comes to receiving certain blessings? Maybe you haven’t been persistent enough.
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus told his disciples a parable “to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (verse 1). Because God is more concerned about a relationship with you than giving handouts, He may simply want you to persist in prayer. Don’t give up. The blessing may be right around the corner.
9. What you’re asking for isn’t truly good for you.
Scripture tells us: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). But sometimes we haven’t stopped to consider if what we are asking or expecting from God is truly good and perfect for us.
Psalm 84:11 assures us “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” That shielding aspect of God’s character might be protecting us from something we’re asking God for that isn’t necessarily God’s best for us. In that case, what we assume is a blessing might not be a “good thing” for us, after all. Trust God with what you don’t see.
10. He IS blessing; you just haven’t noticed.
What do you consider a blessing? Something financially rewarding? Something that makes you happy? The fact that you have life, breath, and someone in your life who loves you are all blessings that He’s given that you may have been taking for granted.
Ephesians 1:3 says God has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” The next 11 verses describe, in detail, our eternal inheritance if we are trusting in Christ Jesus for our salvation. Start thanking Him for all that you have, even what doesn’t appear to be a blessing, and you may find He has already blessed you far more than you had realized.