Yes, No, Later, Instead...

Many people have something they pray for, something personal. It might be big. It might be small. Either way, they make their requests known to the Lord. I have, and I’ve been doing so for months. I have not received the “yes” that I’ve been hoping for, but that is the reason for today’s blog.

Sometimes we get a “no” because we’re asking with the wrong motives, and so we can enjoy the thing(s) for ourselves:

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3)

When we pray, we need to understand that we are asking God’s will on our lives. We should also understand that His will comes before ours. Remember, Jesus never instructed His disciples to say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, unless of course, it impacts my plans, God.” Jesus also acknowledges God’s will in Luke 22:42, adding, “Not my will but thine.” Because of this, we should be prepared to accept “no” for an answer to our prayers. But it doesn’t end there.

A sermon I heard talked about accepting God’s timing. For example, a person might pray, “Lord, I want to work in the ministry.” Despite that person’s desire, the Lord might say, “Later.” God might want you in that field. He’s just grooming or molding you for that position. That again is where His will trumps ours.

Meanwhile, God might simply have other plans for you. Sure, you might be praying for something, but God always sees the bigger picture when we are trying to make sense out of a box of assorted puzzle pieces. As a result, He might be saying, “Instead of that, I’m going to give you this.” Now, that could be anything. It may come at any time, and it might not make any sense. To that, I will remind you that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8).

The only way to make sense out of this is to put Him first. Pray to Him, and listen for His answers. Be willing to trust and accept what may seem like a tough or nonsensical answer. I can’t help but think that this is why I’ve not heard a “yes” to some of my prayers. It might be that He has been telling me something else and I was too stubborn to hear or listen. There is a difference between hearing and listening, you know. Regardless, it’s entirely possible that I’ve been getting a “later” or “instead” so I would one day write this blog. I’ll just have to trust Him.

“I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!”

--lyrics from Lauren Daigle’s “Trust in You”

Chris Woodward

Assistant Editor, One Million Dads
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