Too often, believers view God as a great cosmic Santa Claus: We think of our prayers not as petitions but as demands. Then, if God does not grant our request, we’re thrown into a faith crisis, believing He no longer answers us. The real problem, however, is that we misunderstand the Lord’s three answers to prayer:
1. Yes. We love this response! There is nothing more exhilarating or faith-inspiring than to watch the Lord move mountains to provide what we once considered impossible.
2. No. Here is where the problems begin for us. But we must accept the fact that God says no to some of our requests. This is certainly not because He’s greedy or uncaring—on the contrary, He is generous, loving, and concerned about His children.
Matthew 7:11 does not say God will give “everything to those who ask Him,” does it? No, it says that the heavenly Father will give what is good to those who ask. Quite often, giving “what is good” means that He doesn’t agree to things He knows are wrong for us.
3. Wait. This answer can be even harder than a flat-out no. Yet some things that are good and godly may still be wrong for us today. Remember, God is eternal; He sees all time at the same time. If He regards tomorrow’s blessing as a curse today, He’ll withhold it for a season until we’re ready to receive it.
Friend, do not be misled if God’s response isn’t what you expected—or wanted—to hear. Instead, praise the Lord for answering our requests the way He knows they should be answered!