Some believers have prayed in faith, believing with their whole heart that God would answer their prayers. How could it not be God’s will for what they prayed about to occur? Yet, despite their fervent pleading, the good they requested failed to happen. Experiences like this often raise questions about prayer. Is it not then possible that what seems to be answers to prayer are just coincidences? However, once we settle the issue of who God is, then we’re ready to accept how He answers prayer.
How God Answers Prayer Must Align with Who He Is
Prayer, and the way God answers prayer, makes better sense the more we view God for the great God He is —
all-knowing and wise as well as all-powerful,
sovereign and righteous as well as loving and faithful.
God responds to our prayers out of the sum total of who He is. Though He has the power to do all things, because of His omniscience, He knows certain things we ask for might not ultimately be wise and for our good. He loves us enough to do what is right and best even if we throw a tantrum because it’s not what we want.
We come to Him as a loving Father who will always do what is right and best. Consequently, answers to prayer may be yes, no, or not right now. This happens in the earthly realm when a loving father answers a child’s request with similar responses so it shouldn’t surprise us that God, who far supersedes imperfect earthly parents, sometimes answers no or not now.
Since our heavenly Father perfectly understands what’s happening, totally knows what’s best, and always responds out of pure motives (Lk. 11:9-13), He isn’t going to give us everything just because we ask for it. His objective isn’t simply to make us happy but to make us better (Heb. 12:5-11).
Some of the best answers to prayer may be the ones where He responds “no” because in the end, getting what we wanted may have actually done more harm than we ever would have realized or caused us to miss out on good we never imagined. Again, because we aren’t God, just like little kids, we don’t always ask for what’s good or best. Consequently, we may not always get what we ask for because God responds from a view of the big picture. Rather than let seemingly unanswered prayer shake our faith, let’s let God be God.