Have you ever prayed for something and it felt as though your prayers were not being heard? You wait patiently for the answer and there seems to be no result to your prayer? Your faith may waver as you wonder if He really hears you or perhaps you think He is mad at you and that is why you aren’t seeing your prayer answered. My experience with prayer is that there are times when the Lord says, “No.” How do I respond to that? Honestly, there are a range of emotions that I go through as I do not see the result to prayer that I desire. But then I have to remind myself that I am not God and I do not see the bigger picture, as He does. I do believe that there are times that sin in our lives can hinder a prayer. I know it has in my life at times. But then, there are other times, when we are being obedient to the Lord and the answer to our prayer is still, “No.”
I have been praying for ten years for my beloved son to be healed of a mental illness. The healing has not yet come and I must accept that I may not see that healing in my lifetime. I continue to pray for that healing, but after a long process of many emotions, many of them negative, I have come to accept that the answer to my prayer thus far has been no. Accepting that has brought me peace. I could give a literal list of reasons why I think God has said no to my petition, but in reality, that list is just words on a piece of paper with ideas and thoughts of my own. The reality is that God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty has said no for purposes unknown to me. Trying to figure it out is like trying to made a size 5 shoe fit when you really wear a size 7. It doesn’t work.
I like to meditate on what the great apostle Paul went through with his own infirmity. The Bible does not tell us what that infirmity is specifically, but I love God’s response to Paul and Paul’s response to God. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 says: Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s response to that was this: Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Now that is what I call radical acceptance! Not only did Paul accept that the Lord said no to him, but he said he would delight in it.
Perhaps you have been praying for something or someone and the answer so far has been, “No.” I encourage you to come to a place of acceptance. Just as a mother tells her child, “No,” when reaching for that hot burner on the stove, God, who is a perfect Father with our best interest in heart and mind, also sometimes needs to tell us, “No.” And you know what? God tells us this: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8). So our response to that no answer should be acceptance and we can continue to pray, trusting and knowing that God knows best and He will answer our prayers as He sees fit. And God, who is perfect in every way, will surely help us along our journey of acceptance as we trust in and rely on Him.
Prayer: “Father God, I thank You that You are a God who is in control. We don’t always understand why You say no to our fervent and diligent prayers, but what we do know is that You are trustworthy and Your ways are higher than ours. Though we long to have our prayers answered in the ways that we think are best, You are the only One who can see the bigger picture. May Your peace rest upon those who are struggling with accepting a “no” answer from You this day. I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ…. Amen.”