In His Word, God encourages His children to pray to Him and also to expect that He will answer them. (James 1.5, Jer. 33.3). Yet there are times when God says no to our prayer or request. Over half of the prayers in the Bible received a “no” as an answer because of sin in that individual’s life or the life of the people as a whole. The other reasons for God’s prayer request denial, was it was not God’s will for that request or that God would be glorified more in saying “no”. For instance, King Saul asked for God’s guidance and help in defeating an enemy, but because of Saul’s rebellion and disobedience to God, God did not respond.
King David experienced the same negative response from God after his sin with Bathsheba and the death of his child.
However, sin was not the only reason God said no to a prayer request. Sometimes, He said “no” because it was not His will to answer yes to that request. Jonah and Elijah both asked God to kill them during some difficult circumstances. God’s answer was “no” because it was not his will and He instead provided nourishment, safety and help for them. He had other plans for them. James and John in Mark 10:34 wanted to be in high rank in the kingdom next to Jesus. But Jesus said no to that request, because it was up to God the Father to grant that petition.
Jesus asked God to take the cup of suffering from Him, but it was God’s will for him to drink of that cup and He submitted to God’s will. Paul the Apostle also petitioned God three times to remove the thorn in his flesh and God said “no”. My grace shall be sufficient for you.
God as our Heavenly Father wants to give his children those things or circumstances that will be for their good and which will glorify Him (Matt. 7:11). He desires that we pray at all times to Him and expect an answer from Him (Heb. 11:6). However, He may say no to our request if His purpose and His will be better served in another way that brings glorify to His name and provides an effective witness to others.
God Does Not Always Answer Our Prayers But He Always Does What Is Best.
“And we know that for those who love God, that is, for those who are called according to his purpose, all things are working together for good.” (Romans 8:28 – ISV)