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What to do when God says ‘no’ to your prayer

In this month’s Voice of Hope series, Fr Alvan Ibeh asks what will you do, when God says ‘no’ to your prayer.

From time to time, we find ourselves asking God for one thing or the other. Whenever we ask, the only that will make us happy is getting a positive response, a “Yes” to our request.

No matter your age, you will always want your request granted whenever you make it. Some of us do actually shy away from asking, because we don’t like getting a “No” for an answer, so we will prefer dying in silence to asking and never getting what we asked for.

This itself is still not the best thing to do. The scripture says “for everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:8). This has come from Jesus Himself in the scripture and He also confirms that by saying, “And whatsoever you ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father will be glorified in the son. If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14: 13-14). In 1 John 5:14, the scripture says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us”.

So basically, we all feel great when our prayers for whatever reason, are answered. We rejoice and give praise to God for His goodness endures forever. We see ourselves as loved specially by God and are one of the luckiest people on earth. You can imagine receiving a “Yes” answer to whatever requests you make to God in prayer. That sounds great right? I believe we will all want to live in that world. But unfortunately, it never happens that way.

Now the question is, ‘What will you do, when God says ‘no’ to your prayer. What will you do, after you prayed and believed so much for something, and that thing never happened or came through, meaning it was a ‘no’ answer from God?

What will you do if you prayed so fervently and passionately for the healing of someone so dear to you, who has been on their sick bed for long. You prayed all the prayers you know how to pray; you did all the Novenas for healing that you came across, you became a regular Mass attender, booking Mass every day for this person. You asked different prayer groups and prayer warriors to be praying for this person in question, you believed so much in your heart that God must answer all these prayers. But unfortunately, one day, the news came that your cherished has sadly passed away. This I know can be so heart-breaking and very painful to bear.

There can be other instances where we may have prayed for something important to us, believing our prayer will be answered, but we got a “No” for an answer. It felt like God completely ignored us and whatever we asked for. At such moments, we may find ourselves getting upset and asking God questions; “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear? Or cry out to you of violence and you will not save? (Habakkuk 1:2).

One hard truth about our Christian faith is that, there is no assurance that we will always get a “Yes” answer to all our prayers. Sometimes, God will have to give us a “No” but one thing is certain, ‘His “No” is always for a reason. When He says No, it means He has a better plan for Us (Jeremiah 29:11).

When God says No, we should be aware that He is not trying to mean or to hurt us. There are lessons to be learned when He says “No”. ‘At times, God’s answer to our desperate cries is “no”! But then we should understand that ‘God knows better than we do, and His “no” is always merciful, even when it hurts'(Mary Lynn Johnson). So what exactly do you or will you do when God says “No”!

In the next edition, I will share my experience with you and I would also love to hear from you if you have received a “No” answer from God and how you handled it. Have a blessed and peaceful November.