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?