by Rex RouisThe 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? 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.
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.