“In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.” - Psalm 18:6
I have heard it said that the only prayer God doesn’t answer is the prayer that is never prayed. But is that true? Does God always answer every prayer? Psalm 18:6 assures us that our prayers reach the ears of God. He never ignores our requests or refuses to listen. In Jeremiah 33:2-3 God commands His people to call to Him, promising that He will answer. The Bible makes it clear that God hears and answers our prayers. So perhaps the better question is not whether God answers prayer, but how does God answer prayer.
There are times when we receive a direct answer from God. Sometimes He says, “Yes,” and He says it quickly after we pray. If we’re being honest, we all wish every prayer was answered in this way…but they are not. And believe it or not, that is a good thing. Sometimes we receive a delayed answer…a, “Yes, but not now.” In these instances it is important to remember that timing is everything. God not only wants to give us what is best for us; He wants to give it when it is best for us. Remember this about God – He is never early and He is never late. Trust in His timing even when it might not line up with your own. Delays are not denials.
Sometimes, however, God’s answer is, “No.” These are the times we are tempted to think God is not hearing or answering our prayers. But remember, “no” is an answer. Maybe not the one we want, but it is an answer. I encourage you to thank God for the “no’s” He gives you. We all know that any good parent refuses to give his children everything they want. What we want is not always what we need. And often God’s “no” is because there is something better coming down the road. I am confident that when we get to heaven, we will thank God for His “no” answers as much as we will thank Him for His “yes” answers.
We can always pray with confidence, knowing that God will hear and answer every prayer. And whether that answer is what we are hoping for or not, we can trust in God’s unwavering faithfulness, goodness, and wisdom.
Father, Thank You for always answering my prayers, even when the answer is “no.” Help me to trust You even when I may not understand the reasons You answer the way You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.