Can NO be an answer to prayer? Of course it can. Every NO answer does not mean “this is the final answer.” Sometimes NO can mean “you need to get your own life right before I can bless you.” Sometimes NO can mean “you need to wait a bit. Not yet.” Sometimes NO can mean “I have a purpose in your discomfort or pain. GROW into Christ-likeness as you wait.”
But then there are the YES answers. God says, “GO!” He gives His blessing and permission for what we asked. We prayed, our hearts right… our timing right… our motivation right… and God HEARD and then, perhaps even miraculously, DID what we had asked in prayer!
There is a caveat however. Sometimes answered prayer comes with a price tag. It opens the door to a new awareness of why we pray. It moves us to a deeper response to God in prayer. We realize He hears… we have a responsibility to ask.
Sometimes we pray for the salvation of a loved one or friend. And God says, “Yes, I want to save that person. Now the door is open… GO and tell them about Me.” Or in response to our prayer to be obedient to God in whatever it takes, He opens a “door of opportunity” for us and says “GO to the nations with the Gospel.” A “yes” answer to prayer doesn’t let us off the hook… sometimes it puts us ON it!
But whatever form God’s response to your prayer takes, I hope you never lose the wonder felt by the people of Israel who said,
“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call upon Him?” (Deuteronomy 4:7)
We have a God Who invites us into intimacy with Him in prayer: “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) What great privilege! What great power! What great potential! Come to Him with everything in prayer.
And trust Him with the answer.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:1)
FOR REFLECTION: The old hymn reminds us “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” EVERYTHING. Is that what you are doing today?