Sometimes Yes – Sometimes No ?


We’ve all heard the claim, and have probably said it ourselves at one time or another:
“God always answers prayer, but sometimes He answers ‘yes’ and other times He answers ‘no’.”

It’s a convenient response to justify why someone appeared not to receive what they had prayed for.

But is that statement based on God’s word or man’s tradition?

Is it true or false?

What does scripture say?

 

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matt 21) NIV

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.(Mark 11)NIV

I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it (John 14) NIV

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15) NIV

whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you (John 15) NIV

Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name (John 16) NIV

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us —whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him, (1 John 5)NIV

If it was possible I’d highlight all of the following quote with vibrant flashing text, in the boldest print possible.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Cor 1) NIV

Do any of the above give, or even hint at, the possibility of a ‘No’ answer from God?

Not that I can see, and the final quote specifically states that ALL of God’s promises come with a guaranteed YES! – with no hint of a possible ‘no’.

But there are some things I’d like to point out.
There are conditions to all of the statements above.

1) The reference from 2 Cor refers to God’s PROMISES, so if God hasn’t promised something, His ‘yes’ isn’t necessarily guaranteed.

2) Those in John 15 are dependant on an IF being fulfilled, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you”.

3) All of the others from the gospels have the condition of BELIEVING.

The 1 John reference explains on an important aspect of our ability to believe. Our faith needs a foundation. We need to know God’s will regarding a matter before we can genuinely believe He will give us what we ask.

“If we ask anything according to His will He hears us…”

“If we know that HE hears us…”

In other words, if we know we are asking according to His will, “we know that we have what we asked of Him”

So if it seems we aren’t getting our prayers answer, is God really giving a no answer?

Or is it more likely that we’ve failed to fulfil the conditions He has established related to prayer?

 

 

5 thoughts on “Sometimes Yes – Sometimes No ?

  1. 1) The reference from 2 Cor refers to God’s PROMISES, so if God hasn’t promised something, His ‘yes’ isn’t necessarily guaranteed.

    I suppose it at least seems to make sense (and might in fact make sense) that God says ”no” at times. We ask for things that aren’t promised; sometimes, anyway (although we might pick up on the fact there are a lot of “no”s, so don’t ask much). A child might ask for a (good) toy (that isn’t just a brighter color of a twentieth one to throw in a heap). (And kids do ask for other appropriate things.) A young person might ask to major in a particular subject and attend without crippling debt. (And young people do ask for other appropriate things.) And I won’t bore anyone with what somebody who spent decades as a mom might pray for. [Ignore this one.] We can easily think of things that haven’t been promised, and we might not know if whatever it is is in God’s will. But, perhaps, we ought rather conclude that it wasn’t a “no” because God just wasn’t listening.

    That actually sounds worse to me.

    2) Those in John 15 are dependant on an IF being fulfilled, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you”.

    ….

    3) All of the others from the gospels have the condition of BELIEVING.

    The 1 John reference explains on an important aspect of our ability to believe. Our faith needs a foundation. We need to know God’s will regarding a matter before we can genuinely believe He will give us what we ask.

    I’m not saying anything about healing. That one’s pretty clear.

  2. James gives two reasons why we don’t receive from God.
    1) That we didn’t ask.
    2) Asking for something for the wrong reason: “that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.

    The immediate context of that quote from James makes it clear what kind of pleasures are being referred to.
    He continues: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

    In addition to what James wrote, there is another reason we don’t receive from God : unbelief.

    Only one of the above reasons can legitimately be seen as being an example of “no” answer from God, and it does not involve Him saying no to something He has promised, or Has made clear is His will.

  3. James was referring to anything related to maintaining friendship with the world. And that was the meaning of his use of the term “adulterers”, claiming to be in relationship with Christ while still harbouring affection and relationship with the world.

    “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” 1 John 2.

  4. Pingback: Giving Careful Thought to the Paths… Prayer | Onesimus Files

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