Prayer: yes, no, wait

Have you ever heard the saying, “God answers prayer in three different ways: yes, no, and wait” ?

Each one of those answers bring their own specific challenges and rewards, but none challenges more than….wait. At least with ‘yes’ and ‘no’, there is a definite end, closure – even if we don’t like the answer, but with ‘wait’? Well, there is uncertainty, longing perhaps, worry. It doesn’t suit our fast-food mentalities of the 21st century 🙂

Let’s look at each answer, and of course I’ll add an example. I love examples.

YES

When my oldest daughter, Lydia, was almost 3, she started praying for a baby sister. EVERY night she’d pray. “God, please send me a baby sister.”

Now, we weren’t thinking of growing our family anymore, especially not any time soon, but not long after she started praying, I became pregnant (much to my shock and my mother’s horror 🙂 For nine months, Lydia thanked God for her baby sister. Needless to say, when I called her from the hospital to inform her of the birth of her baby BROTHER, she said, “Are you sure?”

So, the next week she started praying AGAIN – with great fervor. She was certain. God was going to answer yes. So…15 months after Samuel was born, God brought Phoebe into the world. He answered with a BIG (and quite cute) YES. The result? Great joy – and continued shock – and a bit of humbling toward the parents who realized their daughter’s faith and faithfulness in prayer were absolutely beautiful!!

What about when God answers, No?

Eleven years ago, before Samuel the ‘suprise kid’, I became pregnant (yes, it’s a recurring theme for me). Anyway, only a few weeks after finding out about my pregnancy I started to bleed…and then pray. I prayed for the little baby to be safe. For all to be well. For healing, if there was any troubles.

I miscarried.

We often associate God saying ‘no’ as a harsh or unkind answer. I don’t know the reason why he didn’t bring that child into the world, but I DO know that God loves me…more than anyone does or ever will. His choice in saying ‘no’ is a part of a bigger plan for my life. In fact, he’s given me opportunities to use the hurt, and growth from that experience to minister to others in teh same situation. Out of the pain has come great blessing and understanding.

Wait

No one likes to wait. It’s not fun…unless maybe waiting for Christmas.

For kids

The parents become a bit tired of ha100_0649vnig the kids ask 400 times a day “how many days until Christmas?” 🙂

God’s answers are not always what we’d choose, but somehow in his grand mercy and plan, he always answers for the best. Whether the answer is ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘wait’.

What answer has he given you recently? How have you found the strength to live with his answer?

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4 thoughts on “Prayer: yes, no, wait

  1. Pepper—Thanks for sharing your heart! For sure I grew up understanding that these are the three responses that God will give us. What I always wordered, is this a special list of the *only* responses that we should expect from God, but and somehow a narrower of *all* possible responses we might expect in situations other than when taking about God? Said another way, are there any other possible answers that are being ruled out to get to these three? To me, it feels like it pretty much covers every possible answer to every possible supplication of the mortal or the divine.

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    1. Cody,
      So cool to see you here! If I understand you the right way, you’re asking do I think if God can answer in more ways than these three? Yes! Totally – He’s God! I think he can answer in more ways than we can imagine. These are certainly I think the most common to our mortal minds, don’t you?

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  2. My pastor just spoke on this same topic this past Sunday. He listed them out as 4 options:
    1) No – Clearly response to the prayer
    2) Slow – In His time will the answer become clear
    3) Grow – You aren’t ready for my answer and need additional time to grow in your faith
    4) Go – Here are your marching orders based on your prayer

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