We’ve all been there: we send up a prayer to God and in the silence that greets us, wonder did He even hear me? Will He answer my prayer?
Here are two pieces of very good news. God hears all of your prayers! God will answer all of your prayers! And yet, there’s a catch. God isn’t a genie in a bottle who grants wishes. God’s answer to your prayers might be one of three things: yes, no, or wait. That means, we might not always like the answer that God gives us.
WHEN GOD SAYS YES
God has promised that when we ask for things that are in accordance with His will for our lives, He will give us what we ask for (1 John 5:14–15). That also means, if we pray for something that is not God’s will for us, He is unlikely to give what we want. The truth is that God’s wisdom far exceeds our own, and so we need to learn how to trust God and that His answers to our prayers have a purpose.
Here’s a beautiful example of God saying “yes” to a heartfelt prayer. In the Bible (1 Samuel), we see a woman named Hannah “pouring out her soul” to God and asking Him to give her a baby. Hannah had been unable to conceive, and in biblical times, this was considered a mark of shame for a woman. Hannah prayed so fervently for a baby that a priest who saw her praying actually thought she was drunk! But God heard Hannah, and He blessed her with a child.
If you have prayed specifically for something and God has granted it to you, it’s beautiful to know that it is His will! Remember to thank God when this happens. Express your gratitude and marvel at the gift you’ve been given.
WHEN GOD SAYS NO
Sometimes the answer to your prayer is “no,” and that’s one of the hardest answers we can receive. It’s important to know that God sees the “big picture,” and we don’t. The challenge is we often don’t immediately understand why God would say no to us. There’s a story in the Bible (John 11) where two sisters Mary and Martha wanted Jesus to heal their dying brother, yet Jesus allowed Lazarus to die. Why? Because He had greater things planned for Lazarus, which Mary and Martha could not possibly have imagined. God’s will was different.
Why else would God tell us no? Well, if your motives are all wrong. If what you want is selfish or it’s to harm someone else. Or, possibly it’s a reflection of how you’re living your life. In the Bible (Isaiah 59: 1-2) we learn that our sinful behavior can cause God to turn away from us. It’s not that He doesn’t hear you, but He’s choosing not to listen.
So, when God tells you “no,” it’s important to consider why that might be. Examine yourself, your motives, your behavior. Ask if what you want would align with God’s will.
WHEN GOD SAYS WAIT
And then there’s the answer from God that tells us “not yet” or “to wait.” Sometimes this feels even harder to receive than “no,” because it means we have to be patient (Romans 8:25)! The blessing that comes with waiting is that God’s timing will be perfect. The truth is that God wants the best for your life. He’s on your side! So, as you’re wavering between faith, impatience, and disappointment (everyone does!), remember that it’s a good thing God is in control. Giving you what you want at this moment might just cause you heartache and frustration. Giving you what you want at the perfect time is truly an answered prayer.
BRINGING YOUR PRAYER TO GOD
And if you’re wondering how to bring your prayer to God… as in how to approach him, read Philippians 4:6-8 where we learn to approach God with a spirit of thanksgiving. Not only will He hear our prayers, but He will grant us His peace and protection as we await His answer!
So keep praying. Keep talking to God. Be confident that He hears you. He sees you. He will answer you, and when He does be prepared to accept His wisdom, even if you don’t love His answer.
SUBMIT A PRAYER REQUEST
Would you like us to pray with you and for you? Our Prayer Team would be honored to pray for you this week. Click here to submit your prayer request.
- Message Series: Check out our Dangerous Prayers Series. If you’re ready to see God work in your life, praying safe won’t cut it. Learn how to pray boldly!
- Message Series: Check out our God Box Series. Learn how to pray, how to handle when God says “no,” and why there is power in persistence!