Q: I know you’ve said that God sometimes answers our prayers with a “no,” but if that’s the case, then why bother to pray? — S.D.
A: Yes, it’s true that God sometimes says “no” to our prayers, and with good reason, because he alone knows what is best for us. Just as loving parents sometimes says “no” to their child’s demands, so our loving God sometimes says “no” to our demands.
But sometimes God also says “yes” to our prayers, and that’s certainly one reason why we ought to keep on praying. But we don’t pray only to get things from God. Not only would this be selfish, but it could actually become a barrier between us and God. Instead, we should pray for God’s will to be done, both in our lives and in the lives of others. Instead of praying less when God seems to be saying “no” to our prayers, we actually should be praying more. Let Jesus’ prayer become yours: “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Prayer is one of the greatest privileges God has given to us. Why ignore it or act as if it doesn’t make any difference? If Jesus prayed, shouldn’t we pray also?
And if Jesus died and rose again so our sins could be forgiven and we could now come into God’s presence, shouldn’t we make prayer a central part of our lives?
Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ; if you have never invited him into your life, do so today. Then ask God to help you learn to pray, trusting in his love and power to do what is best. Remember: God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.