When I pray, I always hope that God will answer me with a “Yes!” Truly, I’ve seen His goodness with countless answered prayers. However, I didn’t always get what I desired. Looking back, those unanswered prayers turned out to be what’s best for me!
I was so happy when I got hired by one of the biggest beverage companies in the world. More than that, the job position assigned to me was exactly what I wanted. But by the end of the very first week, I got a phone call that rocked my world!
A pastor from CCF called and offered me to work full-time for the church. For me, this invitation was not just my “dream job”. This was my “dream career!” I’ve always wanted to do this. Now, the opportunity was presented to me.
As I prayed to God, He impressed upon me to refuse the offer. It was a sad day for me when I told the pastor my decision.
Little did I know, God was actually answering my prayers. It was however according to His perfect timing. That timing happened 5 years later. I’m so grateful I followed His lead.
God has answered my prayers mostly in 4 different ways. I give credit to Pastor Bill Hybels who mentioned this in his book “Too Busy Not to Pray”.
1. If the Request is Wrong, God says, “NO.”
I have caught myself asking God with wrong motives. The requests were simply for my convenience and happiness. I wanted a quick fix so the problem was over and done with. It was all about what benefits me alone. (See James 4:3)
Sometimes, the request isn’t completely wrong. It’s just that God has something better. “God’s best” is better than “my best.”
2. If the Timing is Wrong, God says, “SLOW.”
I always want God to answer my prayers immediately. I desire instant gratification. God however is not like a genie, who grants my wishes at the next moment.
There’s something about the waiting period that matures me. It strengthens my faith in God. It develops my character. At times, my requests are modified as I pray!
3. If I am Wrong, God says, “GROW.”
I experienced some prayers were left unanswered. As I sought God, He revealed to me some areas of my life that were hindering my petitions.
These hindrances have included unconfessed sin (Isaiah 59:2); a broken relationship (Matt 5:23 -24); and not treating my wife well ( 1Peter 3:7);
My relationship with God is so valuable to Him. He prioritizes that over any other prayer request I might have. He will sometimes allow me to grow first, before I see my prayers being answered.
4. When the Request, the Timing, and I am Right, God says, “GO!”
I can be confident that God has ALL the power, resources and wisdom to grant my prayer requests ( 1 John 5:14-15). And when He does so, I move forward and “GO!”.
It pleases God when He sees me honoring Him. He wants me to be blessed, and be a blessing. As a heavenly Father, He wants me to be joyful. That joy comes when I am being all that He wants me to be.
“Slow Down, Ryan.” – GOD
My additional 5 years in the corporate world was a blessing in disguise. It actually prepared me more for the ministry I’d be serving at. God knew that “SLOW” was the best answer He could give me.
I am assured by the verse in Isaiah 55:8-9,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Because of God’s infinite wisdom, I will not fully understand every “NO,” “SLOW,” or “GROW” which I get from Him. God seeming denial can actually be the most loving act He can do for me.
Posted on: Sept 20, 2014
How has God been responding to your prayers lately? What lesson has He been teaching you? Share your inputs below.