Today majority measures a Christian’s spirituality on the numbers of his testimonies. Accordingly, they conclude God is good and all-powerful as he claimed only when he answered yes to all our needs.
Unfortunately, our televangelists don’t help matters as they present our Christian journey as full of roses without thorns. But in the Bible and life’s experience, there are times when no is the correct answer to our prayers.
Some years ago, I was taking Sunday school workers in the preparatory class when I asked for the definition of prayer. As usual, several answers came up. And a brother defined prayer as asking and receiving from God. But, that response raised a debate as most people disagreed. They affirm there are times when God says no to our prayer. But my response shocked them the more when I said no is also an answer. As expected, none of us welcomed that answer and that includes me. To this, I have three Bible examples of when God said a resounding ‘No’.
Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Samuel 1 Samuel 16:1
Before I share a personal experience on this topic, we should understand that God determines which prayer to answer and when. And not necessarily because of our Holiness, penance, rigor in prayer. More so, God answers prayer primarily for His own glory. Thus, any request that will not give Him glory doesn’t receive his approval. Therefore, whether we understand his reasons for saying no or not, what is at stake is his glory.
My experience a few years ago proved that when God says no to our prayers, he has a better plan. I needed a shop for my new business. And close to my residence is a spacious shop on a busy road and nobody seems to sell the product I intended to sell. When I met the woman in charge, she told to check back in a few days’ time.
While I waited for the appointed time, I took the prayer request to my prayer group and was sure it’s mine. Two days later a friend of mine far from that place called to inform me he had bought a shop near my residence. Behold, it was the same shop that I had prayed the prayer of agreement about together with my friends according to his promise in Matthew 18:18-20.
As expected, I felt disappointed for losing out to someone who’s not anywhere near the shop. As God would unfold the scene behind the story, my friend called to share the shop in half with me. Since I couldn’t raise the amount he demanded I lost out. A few months later my friend complained of a lack of sales in that shop. But on his finding, he learned, the owner had buried a diabolical power in that shop. So anyone who rented the place will only spend half the period and leave for lack of sales. So new person comes and pays for another rent. This is how she makes her money.
I don’t know if you can get a clear picture. God knows the end from the beginning. So, he denied me the opportunity of that shop by saying no to my prayer. Can you now see the reason for His no as the best answer to my prayers? But, if God said yes to my request then I would have regretted and even blamed Him for permitting that answer.
In God’s agenda, He decides his response to our prayer on the benefit to us and His glory. Therefore, whenever we got a no for an answer, we should admit he must have gotten a good reason for that. So, His no will be the right answer if only we make his will ours.
Joseph Akinrinola is a Pastor, a freelance writer, blogger, and author. So far he has written four books and currently working on his E-book. Also, he has his work featured on SME digest one of Nigeria’s foremost and award-winning entrepreneur blog. When not reading or writing he loves watching discovery family series. He blogged at www.youngchristianask.com.