Christian reflections · Lists

5 Prayers I’m Glad God Said “No” To

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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

1. Please fix this immediately

We’ve all prayed this one, haven’t we? The job loss, the colicky baby, the years of singleness, the financial strain.

Yet the lessons learned in the waiting often cannot be learned any other way.

2. Please let me have this thing I so desperately want

From marrying the guy I dated early in college to landing a church I thought was my perfect fit, it turns out that God had other, better plans for me.

God never says no out of cruelty. Watch for the next thing. Be open to a different thing.

3. Please make this easier

Doing hard things is hard. From a confrontation to a conflict, from a family illness to the end of a friendship, sometimes the most difficult steps are the ones that drive us closer to Jesus. He doesn’t promise ease, but he does promise presence.

4. Please don’t make me do this hard thing

I prayed this prayer during labor. I pray it before tough phone calls. I pray it late at night when Daryl and I need to hash out another marital disagreement when what I really want to do is curl up with a book and fall asleep.

Yet on the other side of the hard things God asks us to do, we meet him anew. He wouldn’t stretch us if he didn’t love us.

Though sometimes Daryl and I throw up our hands and plead–only somewhat facetiously–for him to love us a little less, sometimes hard things are the best things. And even when they’re the worst, they almost always help us to grow.

5. Please leave me alone

There were a couple of years in college when I wasn’t so sure about my faith. Was it mine? Was it my parents’? Was it simply the party line of the Christian college I was attending?

I took a lot of walks. I read a lot of books. I talked to a lot of friends. I prayed a lot of angry prayers.

At my lowest, I asked God to just leave me alone for awhile, so I could figure things out on my own.

Praise Jesus, that is not how he works. As the Psalmist writes, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

Sometimes I couldn’t hear him with all my shouting, but always, he was there.


What are you praying for these days?

When have you been grateful God said no?

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6 thoughts on “5 Prayers I’m Glad God Said “No” To

  1. Definitely #2 – the college boyfriend. Garth Brooks is right! “Sometimes I Thank God For Unanswered Prayers.”

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  2. And again, precisely what I needed to hear . . . Thank you, God for placing friends in our lives and words in their hearts.

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