When God Says No to our Prayers

When God Says No to our Prayers

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Does God only answer select prayers? Or does He answer all of our prayers?

Last year, my family diligently prayed for my cousin’s 17 year-old son, who was fighting brain cancer, and a 59 year-old man in our church struggling with liver cancer. Both put up gallant fights, and there were moments of encouragement along the way. Yet both lost their battles, to the bereavement of many. Despite all of our prayers, and the multitude of prayers of others, God chose to take them home to be with Him. Why? We may never know.

Yet our church also prayed for a five-year-old boy with brain cancer and for a man deathly sick with meningitis and both were amazingly healed. Again, we may wonder, how does God determine who lives and who dies?

It’s then we must recognize God’s sovereignty. It isn’t for us to understand His ways. We have only this promise to cling to: “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Does the Lord answer all of our prayers? Yes. I believe He does. But not always with a Yes. At times, He asks us to WAIT on His timing. Perhaps you’ve prayed for a family member to come to Christ for years and are growing discouraged. Or maybe you’re facing a difficult decision in your life and need guidance. Yet God remains silent. Don’t lose heart. The Lord hasn’t forgotten you. He’s simply teaching you to trust.

Other times, God may answer No. None of us likes to be deprived of our hopes and dreams for ourselves or our loved ones. Some grow bitter and blame God for their hardships, wondering why, if He loves them, He would allow tragedy or pain. As humans, that’s often our mistake. We blame God for the evils of an imperfect universe. When sin entered the world, our relationship with God was severed, allowing death, disease, tragedy, and hardships to forever be a part of our world.


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11)


God has a master plan for our lives, yet one we often can’t decipher. We may never know the reason why He answers our prayers as He does. But we have the assurance that He loved us enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die for us. Our job is to trust Him and continually seek His will for our lives.

Has God answered your prayers in a surprising way? I’d love to hear your story.

Cynthia Roemer About Cynthia Roemer

Cynthia Roemer is a Christian writer from rural Illinois with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of others through her writing. She and her husband, Marvin, have been married for twenty-four years and have two college-age sons. Find out more about her and her writing on her website: http://cynthiaroemer.com/


  1. Laurie Driesen says:

    HI Cynthia, What a great post – it is so practical and yet something that we all question and need to learn more about. These are things people deal with every day, some answered prayer and some “no” answers from God. Recently I sold my house (the one I had before I got married and moved in with my husband). I had been renting it out but finally decided to sell it. So it was on the market for 5 months and didn’t sell. I was sure God would come through for me and bring a buyer. I was losing rent, since my renter moved out last summer, and finally in November the contract with the real estate agent was going to to end. I was so busy with other things, I just couldn’t continue dealing with the disappointment of the open houses and I told the Lord I was fine with His will, if He didn’t want me to sell the house quite yet. But deep inside I wasn’t fine, I was so disappointed. I decided I’ll just close up the house and deal with it again after the new year. Two days before the contract ended, I got an offer. I was still hesitant because negotiation time and inspection time can be really difficult and sales sometimes fall apart. But God was so good and He brought it all through to fruition. So I got a “Yes”! But I think your post was so good because while we’re going through things, we just don’t know what God is up to. We just have to trust Him. I will share too that God is just so funny. I selected this real estate agent online. One day, before the house sold, I was so exasperated and just prayed for the house sale and for the agent because she was so nice, I wanted her to get the sale! After praying for her, I met with her and we talked and somehow got into a conversation about where I lived while I was growing up. I told her which house and the address and she said “I lived there too!” Her parents bought the house from my parents and she actually slept in the same bedroom I was in! It was unbelievable! God was showing me He was totally in control because He got me with this wonderful agent who lived in my house when we were both little girls!

  2. That is so neat, Laurie!! Thanks for sharing it!! What a marvelous God we serve who holds every detail in the palm of His hand. You’re right. Trusting when we can’t see Him at work is the challenge! He’s full of surprises (as with your house) and also blessings!

  3. Thank you for this message. Too often we want to be able to explain why things happen. We look for the reason and get upset when we can’t find the answers. Trusting in God and knowing He has a plan is the only way to peace. 🙂

  4. Amen, Melissa! Though it is often so hard to do!! Thanks for sharing! God bless!

  5. This topic immediately caught my attention. The first few weeks of December we walked through 3 deaths in family and close friends, the most shocking was the death of my husband’s niece who passed away unexpectedly in her sleep and was only 32! As we grieved, my husband had a heart attack. The “widow maker” was 99% closed! Miraculously he was saved and he is recovering with what the docs say is “minimal” heart damage. It’s almost like we’ve had survivor’s guilt. Why was my dear husband spared, but not my friend’s husband, or my cousin, or Jerry’s niece?

    We praise and thank God for my husband’s recovery. He grows stronger daily and expects to return to fully health. We know without a doubt that God orchestrated every detail so that Jerry lived. We don’t understand the multiple losses so many dear to us walk through, but I’m more convinced than ever of God’s sovereignty and plan. I will never be ready to let him go, but I don’t think I’ll doubt God’s timing.

    One thing I DON’T believe is that these things depend on our level of faith. The last two days God has moved mightily to bring relief to some other difficult issues Jerry and I were facing. The Lord had told me He would take care of these things, but after Jerry’s heart attack my emotions were spent and I had little resilience to believe in the promise the Lord had given. Even as I praised God for my husband’s life, I was confused and angry about this other situation. Then in the last two days God turned it around. I was so struck by how faithful God was to keep His promise to me even as I doubted and was angry with Him.

  6. Amen! Wow! You’ve had a rough start to the new year! Thanks so much for sharing how the Lord is working through the tough times. He is sovereign, and we will never fully understand His ways. Thankfully He continues to work in our lives no matter how spent or angry our spirits become. He loves us so much! Your witness touches my heart. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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