Q: Will God do anything we ask him to do, if we just pray hard enough and have enough faith? But if he won’t, then why bother to pray? — B.K.
A: The Bible certainly encourages us to pray fervently and to have faith that God not only hears our prayers but also will answer them. Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22).
But this doesn’t mean God will give us anything we want, if we just pray hard enough. If you have children, do you give them anything they ask for, if they just keep asking and asking? No, of course not. You are wiser and more experienced than they are, and you know they don’t need everything they want. In fact, you know that some of the things they’re demanding could actually hurt them. You love them, and because you love them, you sometimes have to say “No.”
In a far greater way, God knows what is best for us and, because he loves us, he sometimes tells us “No” or “Wait.” More than once I’ve asked God to do something I was convinced must be right and was disappointed when it didn’t happen. But later I realized it hadn’t been God’s will, and I was thankful he had said “No.” The Bible says, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
There is one prayer, however, that God always answers with a “Yes,” and that is a prayer that asks Jesus to come into our life. If you have never done so, by faith turn to Christ and commit your life to him. By his death and resurrection he opened heaven’s door for us, and “through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.