DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know God sometimes says “no” when we ask for something in our prayers. But if he really loved us, wouldn’t he always answer our prayers with a “yes”? — G.H.
DEAR G.H.: Let me assure you that God does love us, and precisely because he loves us, he sometimes says “no” to what we request in our prayers.
Let me explain it this way. Elsewhere in your letter, you mention that you and your husband have two children. Do you give them everything they ask for? Or if they want to do something you know is dangerous, do you let them do it anyway?
No, of course not, and the reason is because you love them and don’t want anything bad to happen to them. Part of your responsibility as a parent is to protect your children from harm even if it sometimes means saying “no.”
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In a much greater way, God loves us and knows what is best for us — far more than we do. And because he wants to keep us from harm, he sometimes says “no.” As I look back over my life, I know God sometimes said “no” to things I asked him to do, and to be honest, I often was disappointed.
But later I realized God knew what he was doing, and by saying “no,” he had kept me from harm.
Prayer is one of our greatest privileges, and it’s possible because Jesus Christ has opened heaven’s door for us through his death and resurrection. But prayer isn’t just asking God to do anything we want. Begin by committing your life to Christ. Then make it your goal to seek his will in your prayers.
The Bible says, “If we ask anything according to his will … we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or visit www.billygraham.org.
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