How Do You Know the Answer To Your Prayer Is No?

Jesus-the-Grain-Field-350-webby Rex Rouis

The other day, we were having a conversation about faith, prayer, and the things of God. During the discussion, one person made the following statement, “Sometimes God says no to our prayers.” I think they were trying to bring a measure of ‘balance’ to our talk of faith, and to remind us that God is sovereign and He has a will. The popular phrase usually goes like this, “God answers all prayer, sometimes yes and sometimes no.”

This made me think – ‘How do people know that the answer is no?’ How is it conveyed? Do they actually hear God say, “No?” I think not. Does He speak to their heart by a conviction or an inner witness that His will is otherwise? Again, no. What they mean is this – the answer did not come. They prayed and did not receive, so they assumed the answer was no.

It makes sense. We all know that God is not going to give us everything we pray for. Some things He answers yes, and to these we receive the answer, and to some things, He says no and nothing happens. I get it, it sounds good, except that it is not what the Bible says.

Nowhere does the Bible actually say that God answers prayer. People look at prayer and faith as being the same. They are not. There is a world of difference between the two. You can pray in faith and you can pray while not in faith. In other words, there is believing prayer and there is unbelieving prayer. The Bible says:

Therefore I say unto you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Mark 11:24 NASB

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24 KJV

The Bible says that ALL believing prayer WILL receive the believed result. It also implies that unbelieving prayer MAY NOT receive. There is always hope in God’s mercy.

So, God does answer all prayer, sometimes yes and sometimes no. Except that, you should know if He is going to answer your prayer when you pray and not later when you receive or don’t receive. What determines the answer is our believing. To the faith-filled believing prayer, God says, ‘Yes’ – all believing prayer, always. To the doubt filled unbelieving prayer, God says, ‘No.’ God responds to faith, and only to faith. He does not respond to needs or pain. If He did, He would be doing a terrible job as God, for the world is filled with needs and pain.

Nowhere does the Bible actually say that God answers prayer.
But You say, “What if you are believing for something that is not God’s will?” Great question; I believe that is impossible because faith and believing is based on the will of God. If the thing is not the will of God, then there is no way to actually have Bible faith for it. Faith, true Bible faith, is based on two things, first the promises in the word of God (God’s written will), and secondly, the spoken word (God’s personal confirmation) from Christ to us that creates the faith in our heart. Faith comes from God, so it is impossible to have it apart from the will of God. We may think that we are believing for it but in reality it is just mental ascent, a type of hope.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the (spoken) word of Christ. Romans 10:17

The purpose of faith to bring the already sanctioned will of God into this world  – (through faith) thy will be done on earth as it is (already) in Heaven. It is our job to know the general will of God through the promises of God, and His specific will through His spoken word to us. Bible promises tell us what we can have (hope), and His spoken word tells us what we do have (faith). You don’t receive His word of faith until you have met the conditions of the promise. Once you have faith, you have the ‘sub-stance’ (reality) of the hope.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not (yet) seen. Hebrews 11:1

Jesus expected those around Him to have faith before they received, and it is the same today. He expects us to pray in faith. Faith is the deciding factor. Study the Word of God and read the articles on this site to learn how to receive faith, release faith, and walk in faith. The Bible says that OUR faith overcomes the world.

Faith comes from God, so it is impossible to have it apart from the will of God.


  1. God is the giver of children. If your faith has been tested for years, you can’t afford to let go now. God sees the conditions about your desire. I prophecy to you, “This time next year, your story will change”. Amen!

    1. Hi Kolade, in your response I felt your anointing, and I would love to be in contact with you. If you would or could please contact me at , I would greatly appreciate it. I look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.

      Blessings to you!

    2. Kolade,

      I have been praying for a second child for 9 years. My wife and I suffered through two miscarriages and we’re in our 50s now.

      If anything is revealed to you about my situation, please let me know.

  2. It does say several places in the bible God does answer prayer….you need to research it better before making a comment God does not …

    1. Author

      Sorry, God answers faith not prayer itself. Everyone may pray but only the believers receive. Jesus was clear about this – “Your faith has made you whole.”

      1. I’ve been working on that. Praying, yes, but affirming my faith as well. Meditating on the woman in Matthew 9:20 made whole by touching Jesus’s garment. The Roman centurion in Matthew 8:5 who had faith his servant would be cured. The leper in Luke 5:12 who said if Jesus was willing, he could heal him. That was faith, not prayer, right?

        I know God can give us another child, somehow, at some time. If he is willing. Shortly after this my wife came down with symptoms that may or may not be menopause. Test of faith?

    2. Hi. Faith comes from God. Vould you please clarify such statement for me i am at a low point in my life and my faith has taken a hard beating so if faith comes from God and my faith is a low whst does that mean has God written me off ? How does one get rite with God

      1. I’m struggling with it too. See my post above. Prayer is necessary and good. But faith is what moves mountains. The woman who touched Jesus’s robe. The centurion who knew his servant would be healed even if Jesus never entered his house. The leper who knew he would be cleansed if the Lord was willing.

        Paul said by faith we are saved. It doesn’t make things easier, just more clear. But it ‘s difficult. I can pray all day long, but if I don’t have faith, what good is it? It’s so hard, I despair sometimes. But when I go to bed, I have faith that I’ll wake up the next morning. When I get in a plane, I have faith that I’ll land safely.

        But when it comes to God and the desires of my heart, when I’ve been desiring something for 9 years, man that’s hard.

        But don’t give up on God. He never gives up on you. He hasn’t written you off.

        A good book that put things in perspective for me is “The Prodigal God” by Tim Keller. An easy read and it really helped me recover the heart of Christian faith.

  3. Evan. Have you considered adoption. I am an adoptive mother. All children are Gods children and many orphan children need loving homes and parents. I see no difference in my adopted child verses my biological child.. what a gift she is everyday. Pray on your calling to be a parent How you become one should make no difference. All children belong to God after all. Blessings

    1. Tracie,

      Yes, we have considered adoption. And I would be willing to go that way if God leads me that way. However, in California, the foster care system requires you to basically turn your life over to the state. You’re not really a parent, you’re functionary of the state.

      There’s no allowance for discipline. If you even breathe too hard on that child will come down on you like a ton of bricks. On the other hand, private adoption is very expensive and I’d be willing to do it, but we just don’t have the means.

  4. I have been divorced for 20 years and believing God for a soulmate. I didn’t date for 15 of those 20 years. I have had relationships with counterfeits. Is God telling me no to a relationship with someone or just to still wait for Him to bring that person into my life?

    1. Author

      Susan – I have no answers except to say that God wants you fulfilled and happy. Seek Him openly and deeply. Talk to Him like He is your best friend. Delight yourself in Him and He WILL GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART. Let Him be a God to you and do what a loving God would do. Seek Him till it hurts and be willing to change. You will find out that He is already at work on it. Listen to what the Holy Spirit says and follow Him completely.

      Seek Him, not beg, with a faith filled expectant heart of hope. He will do it. We love you and do does God. Rex

      Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
      Psalm 37:4, 5

      And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9

      Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. Isaiah 30:18

      And you will know that I am the LORD; Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame. Isaiah 49:23b

      ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3

      Do not call to mind the former things, or dwell on things of the past. Behold, I will do something new; it’s already springing up – can’t you see it? I am making a road in the desert, rivers in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18, 19

  5. Psalm 91 says when he calls on me I will answer him. I think that makes it clear that the Bible does say that God answers our prayer.

    1. Ruth,
      I pray/declare Psalm 91 over my life at least 3 times a week. Yes God answers prayer. It is a prayer of faith that is surrended to God Psalm 91:2. When we surrender our life in service to Him Romans 12:1-2 we are able to believe. Faith has action. Psalm 91:15 is like John 15:7. Living in the word, living by the word. Hanging on His every word. Faith prays, faith declares and faith acts in service with love for others.

      For me, moving from accepting the Scripture is true to believing the Scripture is true, takes meditation and confession over a period of time. I will read the promise and praise God for it. Then objections to the promise working, come to my mind. I refute the worry/doubt with the promises of God. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and rest in the promise. I will go over and over and over the promises to assure myself that I can live by them. I will even bring up arguments against Scripture and then refute them with other promises. This for me is fighting for faith. God honors faith. Hebrews 11:6; 2 Chronicles 16:9

  6. So what happens if you pray for something, say a miracle or healing of an illness and you have complete faith in Gods ability to perform this miracle (which is as you would consider bible based faith) but it doesn’t happen. Does that mean the person praying didn’t have enough faith? I just can’t seem to get around that idea. Could it simply be that it wasn’t God’s will to heal that person?

  7. Dear sir savant of God receive my greetings in Jesus name Amen please assist me Bible books yours pastor Moses L. Karani p. o. Box 1191=30300=kapsabet Kenya my God bless you.

  8. Very good and thoughtful advice. I will do it. Thanks and God Bless you.

  9. I’ve been praying for a second child for 9 years without results. My wife and I are both in our 50’s.

    I’m confused as to the difference between believing prayer and just desiring something.

    What’s the difference between affirming “I believe God will answer this prayer” versus just “this is why I want”?

    1. Audra
      Have you considered how God will get the glory as a result of having a child? Will you dedicate the child’s life to Him? Will you testify about God’s grace? Will you teach the child to advance the kingdom of God. It may be that God wants to know that the child won’t become an idol. Find scriptures to incorporate into your prayers that lets God know you are aware of His promises (ie. He promised to bless the fruit of your womb. He told us to be fruitful and multiply. He said we would not suffer the plaques of Egypt. He promises that He would not withhold any good thing from us.) .

      Also, repent of any secret or open blaming. Repent of any past regrets that you may have not fully accepted forgiveness. Believe and declare that you are forgiven and that you have a right to abundant life.

    2. Author
      1. FM,

        Thanks for the response and the articles. They were very encouraging.

        I think my prayer for a second child qualifies as a hope because I’ve read several cases of women having babies in their fifties. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Hannah all experienced this blessing. Any new life glorifies God, and if this prayer were granted, I would never stop telling people about how our God answers prayers for real.

        Last year, the girl who used to cut my hair told me that God ‘told her’ that my wife and I would have another baby. Nothing has come of it yet. Is that just part of the journey or was she deceived?

        I guess my last hurdle is how to pray a believing prayer. Does the believing come from what I say to God or is it in my attitude as I approach it? In the past, my prayers have been overwrought, demanding even. I believe that I can look beyond natural circumstances. Is that all there is to it?

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