If God said “yes” to all your prayers, would your character be able to bear it?
Could you treat His gifts to you as treasures?
Or would pride and selfishness be the result?
Would you forget His grace?
Take credit for it yourself?
Would a “yes” from God right now be too soon for you?
Some aspects of prayer stand as mysteries to us, but some reasons for not receiving answers are clear.
There are some things we do not have because we do not ask for them…
You do not have, because you do not ask (James 4:2b).
Some prayers are unanswered because we ask for the wrong reasons…
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions (James 4:3).
And some are not answered because the sin in our hearts would keep us from receiving the answer in the right way…
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer (Psalm 66:18-19).
But sometimes the answer to a prayer is delayed, not because God refuses the request altogether or desires something completely different for us, but because to give us what we ask for now would harm the gift (or harm us) as we would not be able to handle the gift rightly. In His mercy and wisdom, He protects us from the things that might do damage, and that includes protection from ourselves.
He lays the foundation for answered prayer, sending the answer when He knows that His Spirit has transformed our character and empowered our wisdom enough to bear it. He will not stand you tall without first growing you deep. Only God can enable us to bear more of God.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).
So we pray, and wait, and pray, and wait…and keep praying. The character you build in the endurance of prayer will prepare you to receive the answer to your prayer. Don’t fret in the waiting; He knows exactly what He is doing.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11).
And sometimes, when we pray, God says “no” to a request, not because you have asked for too much, but for too little. He desires to do more, but He knows that in order to receive the best gift in the best way, you must grow more, be deeply prepared and have a firmer foundation that will bear up under the weight of glory that is to be given.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).
I am learning that I surrender my “yes” to Him, and He shapes me to receive His “yes.”
I pray for so many things, all the while thinking that I am ready for them all. My prayers should be for God-honoring desires, but I should also ask, “Make me ready, and fully prepare me for Your answer. Make me into a person, forge my character and shape me into a vessel fit to receive the fullness of Your ‘yes.'”
Ultimately, what is His “yes” but to give us more of Himself so that we might reflect His glory more fully?
Am I willing to pay the price for the “yes” He has for me?
He does not just “fit us for heaven,” but He fits us for our next step of faith here, now, as He transforms us to bear more of Himself.
So again I ask, “If God said ‘yes’ to all your prayers, would your character be able to bear it?”
Ask Him to make you ready for every “yes” He has in store for you.