Last week I wrote about unkind comments and buried in that post was the fact that sometimes God answers prayers by saying no.
God hears all prayers. God answers all prayers. Sometimes not in the way we would like.
I live in an area dominated by Protestant churches and evangelical ones. Many of them broadcast services on television. Whenever I catch a snippet, there is usually a well-meaning minister telling the congregation that whatever they ask for they will always receive. While I know this is well-meaning, it is also somewhat disingenuous. After all, what if two members of the church are both going for the same job. Only one person will get it. And both are praying for it. When one gets it and the other one does not, does that mean God loves that person less? No, of course not.
It says in Matthew: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened (Mt 7:7-8). Does this mean that God should give us all we ask for? No, it means that if we do not ask, seek and knock, we will not receive what we are asking, seeking, and knocking for. But it doesn't guarantee we get them either. After all, God knows better than we do what is best for us.
It is very difficult to understand, much less accept when God says no. Especially when it is something we have worked hard for, or wanted that we are being refused. It is then, that we must pray with fervor for acceptance of God's will. The best prayer to pray in these times is the Lord's Prayer. It is there that we hear the words, "thy will be done" which to me are the hardest words of all to pray at anytime. Let's not mince words, surrendering to God's will is so not easy. After all, even Jesus asked in the Passion for God during the agony in the Garden, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." (Mt 26:39) And there is only one story of true acceptance of God's will no matter once aside from the Passion. His name was Job.