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When God Says "No"

There is an experience that is common among all of us. There is something that you really want and so you pray for it. You pray your heart out. Then you don't get it. Ouch.

What now?

I’ve had plenty of experiences when I prayed for something and it never happened. It’s a difficult time and can bring you close to a crisis of faith. What I’ve found is that it's usually a good thing that I didn’t get what I asked for.

When you make a prayer of petition, God has three answers that He gives. “Yes," “No," and “Not now.” It’s when God says “no" that things are tough.

While it’s difficult to get yourself emotionally detached from the situation, you need to recognize first that God is your Father. As your Father, He’s got your best interest at heart. Maybe the thing that you’re asking for would be destructive to you!

A no is usually an invitation to grow in some virtue. That virtue is quite often patience. I like to get where I want to be as fast as humanly possible. But if I always get to take the shortcut, then I miss out on valuable lessons. These lessons help me grow to be a better person.

No matter what your prayer is, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of our motivations. If we are seeking something for our own greater glory, then perhaps that’s why God said "No." Motivation matters, and you can’t hide your motives from God. He’s too smart.

So what do you do when God says no to your prayer?

  • Say Thank You. You don’t know today what God saved you from, but gratitude is important. He’s holding you in existence and making sure you have all that you need, so keep perspective in your relationship. Be grateful for what you have and that He’s willing to show you some tough love.
  • Pray about virtue. This “no" is going to help you grow in some virtue that you need growth in. Pray that you might seize the opportunity to grow in this area of your life.
  • Reconsider your “needs.” What was this intention and why did you so desperately desire it? Prayerfully consider what you are asking God for and decide if it’s really a need in your life.

“No” is a part of our daily lives, even our spiritual walk. Instead of letting it sour your relationship with God, take the chance to improve it.