When we have prayed hard for something, even something that follows God's word, but God seems silent, does that mean our answer is "no?" How do we know if it is a "no" or a "wait?"
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"Ask God for anything and He will give it!" This is not a Bible doctrine. "If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1 Jn 5:14). Again Jesus said, "Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you" (Jn 16:23). What does this mean? You cannot ask the Father what Jesus Himself would not approve. When you use His name you must have His approval over that request. That's what we mean by God's will. God's mind is revealed in the Scriptures. God's Word is God's will. A novel doctrine is becoming quite popular which repeatedly quotes the verse, "Concerning the work of My hands, you command Me!" (Isa 45:11). The exponents of this doctrine teach the people to command God for whatever they need! What a blasphemy! Read the entire chapter, especially verses 9 and 10, and understand the context. God in this passage as the Creator is challenging us His creatures, "Do you or can you command Me?" Beloved, beware of taking a text out of context. A text out of context is a pretext. No doctrine should be developed on any obscure passage in the Scripture. Using the phrase, "If it is Your will," in prayer is no indication of poor faith. A leper came to Jesus saying, "Lord, if You are willing You can make me clean." He was not rebuked but instantly healed by Jesus (Mt 8:2,3). Jesus Himself prayed to the Father in Gethsemane to remove the cup from Him if it was His will (Mt 26:39). Both in the Old Testament and the New, kneeling has been practised by men and women of prayer (Acts 9:40; 20:36). There is nothing wrong to occasionally sit and pray. But it has become fashionable in many assemblies and Churches never to kneel down. Some argue that what is important is the heart attitude and not the physical posture. This is simply incorrect. Both our soul and body belong to God. The Bible says, "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Phil 2:10,11; Rom 14:11; Isa 45:23). Are we going to spiritualize this passage also? Then what will be the meaning of "every tongue should confess?" Beloved, "Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psa 95:6). Let us preserve the Bible culture! We all like the "praying hands." Bent knees, bowed head and folded hands help us maintain a spirit of awe and reverence before the Almighty.
Waiting for an answer in prayer can be extremely frustrating, and it's easy to want to give up hope. The questioner asks a couple of different things: 1) If we don't get an answer to our prayers right away, does that mean God is saying "no"? and 2) How do we know if having to wait for an answer means that God is saying "no" or just "wait"? I'll address the second question first. James 4 gives us some pretty clear instructions regarding our prayers: "2You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." This passage clearly tells us that we must have the right motives when we make our requests of God. If you've been waiting a long time to see some of your prayers fulfilled, take the time to examine your motives. James 1 also gives us some advice: "5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do." If you're sure that your motives are right, then you should ask with boldness, faith, and confidence, without wavering in your faith. God honors prayers of faith and boldness in prayer, as we see in this passage. If your prayers tick all of these boxes, there is no reason why God would tell you "no." And now to answer the 1st part of the question: Does waiting to see our prayers answered mean God is saying "no"? To this I will answer absolutely not, and we see many instances in the scripture in which people waited many years to see their prayers answered. Take Abraham and Sarah, for example. God first spoke to Abraham (Abram at that time) about making him a great nation, indicating that he would father children, when Abram was 75 years old (Genesis 12:2-3). I'm sure Abram, while shocked at this news, rejoiced at this promise and expected his wife would conceive soon. However, this miracle did not happen right away at all. In Genesis 15:1-6, God renews this promise to Abram after 15 years had passed! Abram is now 90 years old and Sarah (still Sarai then) is 80! We see in Abram's first response to this conversation with God that he seems to have lost hope after waiting such a long time: "But Abram said, 'Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?' And Abram said, 'You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.'" Abram had completely lost faith, yet God did not remove His favor or His promise from Abram. In fact, Abram is even praised for renewing his faith in the promise: "Then the word of the Lord came to him: 'This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.' He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.' Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness." But Abram still had to wait (read Genesis 17:1-21). By the time Isaac was born and God's original promise fulfilled, 25 years had passed! I don't have enough space to go into details, but so many others in the Bible had to wait to see promises fulfilled and prayers answered, such as David, Joseph, Daniel, and the woman with a hemorrhage who was healed by Jesus. In Luke 18:1-8, we find Jesus telling a parable to encourage people to never give up in prayer, and here He tells us: "7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?" Conclusion: Don't give up in prayer!
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