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When God Says No Or Wait

Pray without ceasing.
–1 Thessalonians 5:17

When we read a passage about prayer, we cannot help but ask, “Lord, why don’t You answer my every request? Why is it that You sometimes do not answer as quickly as I would like You to?” The Bible says sometimes it is a matter of timing. God has a different timetable than we do. When we think God has forgotten us or He has said no, the truth is, He is working in our lives or in somebody else’s life to bring about the answer.

Sometimes God does not answer our request because He knows it is not best for us. When our oldest daughter, Julia, was four, she was fascinated by the gun I had. She would repeatedly ask, “Dad, can I play with the gun?” Of course, I would not let her play with the gun because I loved her and I wanted the very best for her. It is the same way with God and us. Many times, He says no because He knows what is best for our situation.

Sometimes God makes us wait simply to develop our relationship with Him. If God gave us everything we wanted the moment we wanted it, then God would be no more than a divine vending machine. That is not God. God wants fellowship with us. And many times it is in the waiting that we learn the most about God’s character and what He desires for us.

In their book “Overcoming Overload,” Steve and Mary Farrar wrote, “We’ve often said we wish we had a nickel for every time one of our children would ask us for something and we would have to answer, ‘Not now.’ Or ‘No, honey, that would not be good for you.’ Or, ‘Wait until you’re old enough.’ Yet they continued to come, and they continued to believe we loved them and would provide for them. They understood the concept of authority and wisdom. And they knew that if it was possible and if it was good for them, we would give them what they asked.”

God wants the same for us. Even when God says no or wait, He still says, “Keep on asking. I want you to pray at all times–not just when the answer seems obvious or easy. I want you to pray in every situation and not become discouraged.” When the car breaks down in the middle of the highway, pray. When the notice of a layoff comes, pray. When the doctor’s report is not as you expected, pray. When your son or daughter continues in their rebellion against you and God, pray. And know that as you continue to pray, you have a loving, heavenly Father who will answer your request according to His perfect plan for your life.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Persistent Praying” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Steve Farrar and Mary Farrar, “Overcoming Overload” (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2003), 128.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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