Don’t Say No

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, God's Promises, Prayer, Trusting God 18 Comments

blessed trust

I was on my way home from running errands. As I approached our neighborhood, my cell phone rang. The call was from my tween-aged daughter.

“Hi, Mom. It’s Kennedy. Where are you?”

“Hey, baby! I ran some errands and will be home in just a few minutes. What’s up?”

“Well, I wanted to see if you and I could go shopping for a new bathing suit this afternoon, and— don’t say no—I’d like to get a feather in my hair. Can we, Mom?”

Oh. No. She. Didn’t!

I was taken aback by the bold expectations of my daughter. Don’t say ‘no’? I thought. Really? C’mon girl. I’m the parent. You’re the child. Get a grip.

What I said to her was, “Honey, we are several weeks away from swim season. I’m not sure that today is a good day for all of this. And by the way, you’re free to share your heart with me and to tell me your desires, but you do not get to tell me what I can and can’t say no to. I’m pulling into the neighborhood now and will see you in a minute.”

Later, as I considered her angle—the way she positioned her request—my heart leapt with conviction. How often do I approach God with a request wrapped up in a demand that He not to tell me no?

Jesus told His disciples that they could ask for anything. He even said that when we ask in His name that what we ask for would be given to us.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

Let’s consider the context here. When Jesus said “You may ask me for anything,” it wasn’t an open invitation for the will of man to reign. It was an invitation for man to participate in the will of God through prayer. It was about us asking for things that will bring glory to God the Father. Asking “in my name” is all about the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven – not the whim of mankind.

Then what about the “Name-it-and-claim-it” theology? Is God obligated to answer our prayers in the way we want Him to? No, He’s not. Does God want you to have a million-dollar home and drive a Hummer? Not sure. Does God want you to be healed of that diagnoses, disease, or physical challenge? Possibly. I don’t know His exact plan for your life. What I do know is this: God is a good and faithful God. “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast forever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness” (Psalm 111:7-8).

All throughout Scripture we see that God is faithful. When it comes to God’s character, faithfulness doesn’t mean that He will always come through for us in the way we expect. It means He will see His plans through to completion, that He will keep His promises, that He will continue to work in our lives for our ultimate good – not necessarily our immediate happiness.

If we think that God can’t say no to us, then we’ve put ourselves on the throne and not God. Prayer is not about getting God to do what we want Him to do; it is about releasing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). It doesn’t change His mind and He’s not a genie in a bottle whose wish is our command. God is God—and He is faithful, no matter which way He moves.

Pray God's Will

I love my daughter. I mean, I really, really, really love my daughter. But just because she asks me for something doesn’t mean that I’m going to grant her request. I love her too much for that. God is our heavenly Father. Our parent. He wants mature, wise children. Not spoiled children. He loves us too much for that.

He even told His own son “no” in order to accomplish His great purposes. On the night He was betrayed, Jesus was distraught to the point of sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Crying out to God, He “knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done’” (Luke 22:41-42, ESV).

God said no to Jesus because the request of His Son did not line up with His will. And because God said no, you and I can experience grace, forgiveness, peace, and salvation. In order for God to be glorified in His life, Jesus had to submit to the will of the Father. In order for God to be glorified in our lives, we, too, must submit to the will of the Father—and His will is always what’s best for us because He is faithful.

Coming to terms with this truth is tough, no doubt about that. At times the wounds of life leave us reeling. At times God allows trials and temptations that seem unbearable. Even in those times, God remains the same and He can be trusted. It’s a choice we have to make. And that choice is directly linked with the promise of blessing. Psalm 84:12 says, “O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”

God’s names reflect His character and He is El Hanne’eman—the Faithful God. So no matter what you pray for or desire, you can trust Him, whether His answer is “No,” or “Yes.”

Dear Lord, Faithful One, El Hanne’eman, You are my Father and I know that you have a plan for me. Please bind me to Your will and teach me to desire Your heart above all else. Help me to hold unswervingly to the hope that I profess, because You who promised are faithful (Hebrews 10:23). In Jesus’s name, amen.


FOR YOUR REFLECTION: Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” What hope does this verse encourage us to hold unswervingly to as we remember God’s faithfulness?

FOR YOUR RESPONSE: God is faithful even when we are not. We all fail and have selfish tendencies. In spite of our wandering ways, God remains steadfast. Read and consider the following verse: “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). How does this verse encourage you? Have you been praying for the Lord to answer according to His will or according to yours? Leave a comment or prayer request below and let’s take the conversation deeper!

Thanks for doing life with me!


PS: If you connected with this devotion, subscribe to my newsletter. Big Bonus: when you subscribe to the newsletter, you will receive a free song download of my new song Quiet Me !


PSS. Today’s GiG devotion is adapted from Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc. This is the perfect book for individual study or for gathering a group of friends in what we call GiG Groups. With impactful devotions, study questions, journal pages, free on-line video intros, and this book is a resource you’ll refer to time-and-time again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments 18

  1. I want to start a similar ministry like what you are doing but in my country Singapore. But I need funding of $1, 500 to start my own youtube video broadcast. Sometimes I wonder if it’s my will or God’s will. Then my parents, mentors told me to PRAY. Just like what you shared in this blog. Now I have steady my heart. I pray. If it’s His will, the Lord will bless this ministry. Amen.

  2. Thank you for your devotional. It’s such a blessing to me! May God continue to inspire you, Mary and Sharon. The Holy Spirit is really working through what each of you share so faithfully.

  3. I remember a devotional from
    4 months ago that said because He loves us so much, sometimes He says no. This has been a bitter pill to swallow for me as I realize that God’s willl is not mine. I am reminded of the hymn “Great is thy Faithfullness” ” all I have needed His hand hath provided” Gwen thank you for sharing I ask for prayers right now that not my will but His be done and for His peace.

  4. This hit home because I myself have been in an on going battle and believe me I am tired but at the same time I am thankful and grateful for God being a keeper. I’m glad that God says no because if he said yes to everything I wanted I wouldn’t love him for who he is but rather what he can do. I stand on his word and promises, he is faithful and just. The truth will set you free and I stand on his truth and promises. Thank you so much for also saying how he told Jesus no. In the book of Hebrews it says that the son learned obedience from what he suffered. Thank you for this message it was highly needed.

  5. His will be done: Recently a son of mine moved interstate whilst expecting his first child. I was distraught as for a while, I had some idea that he was going to be around my area for the birth. Knowing something about travelling to his destination was disheartening: Though it’s a beautiful place it involves more than a flight there and back. As the time for the birth draws near I am reminded that the babe will only arrive when God decides. Now I have a window of opportunity to visit within a week after the babes”due date”. At the moment, some airfares are just within my budget. The next possible scenario is to book airfares that are at a time that I have other responsibilities. Add to the mix: I’m praying that my visit will be welcome and the amount of time and effort that I have already used, knowing that I will need strength for the journey. Does God care? absolutely! I have thought of drawing straws to know His will: that’s biblical! I keep saying that I trust Him to work it out, but I keep wondering if I should take a chance and book an airfare- like Has He already “told” me to do that? And I’ve not heard Him through the worry? Months of planning and sacrificing for a few days in the hope of perhaps spending an hour to see the baby (and my kids), the tension and excitement build. I await news and pray that He’ll make me ready as He readies the rest of the family, for His will to be revealed.

    ps My husband left 10 years ago and yet hope still remains: as to what God is doing in our lives..plenty

  6. I just read all the other comments and felt a bit ashamed how my requests from God seem so selfish and minute compared to what others are ging through. This article is an eye opener for me for all along I had secretly been praying according to my own will and wants. But God has proven only recently that his will shall be done and I just had to surrender to it since whatever I do always seemed like an uphill battle. Surrendering my path to him has given me peace. I just need to be patient and trust him as he unravels his will for my future. I pray for everyone’s requests here too.

  7. Im praying for peace with my father. The house has been chaotic since me and my son came back from UK camp meeting. I just feel like just moving out of the house because of all the frustrating that my father is putting us through. Every day that I come back home. I feel like exploding but Jesus gives me that peace that passes understanding. I feel like my father is pushing us to the wall that we will say something that will brake the family up. I just need Jesus to calm me down.

  8. “Not my will but Thine be done”, prayed Jesus! So whatever God says goes-all the time!!! He knows everything best!

  9. I have been crying out to God to change things with my sisters’ hearts , so I can have quality time with my mother in her alzhiemers years. I can’t travel well, I can’t take care of her on my own. I have to trust God is holding her hand for me. Thank you Gwen. I always glean so much from you, and I can’t wait for this next Bible class to start. I am hosting it in my home<3 . I just love your mind, and I have your CDs and read “Broken into Beautiful.” luv iu

  10. Hi Gwen, I agree with you. I feel so elated when I received what I have asked for knowing that God had answered my prayer. Though sometimes I do feel discouraged when I have prayed for one thing & it seems God is not hearing it. I know it’s not in accordance with His will. Thank you for the message.

  11. I have prayed for three years, four months, and 5 days that God would bring my husband home. If we delight in God and our will becomes His will, we will get everything we pray for. According to God’s word, His will is for my marriage to be healed. God has let me go through this time because He has changed me and increased my faith. He will bring my husband home and we will bring Him glory through our story. I do pray that it is today. If God says no, He will do it someday, and in the meantime, I will become more like Him.

  12. The more we learn to walk with Jesus, the more our desires and prayers will align with His will. We only have to ask for the faith to trust.

    1. Yes, that our prayers will align with HIS will and we not rush ahead of GOD – – but patiently await HIS answer. Such a problem for me.

  13. This morning I was crying out to God regarding my marriage because my husband had decided to leave this weekend, and I asked God for a word. This is it. I am going to have to trust God no matter how hard this is going to be. The pain is unbearable but your devotion reminded me of His faithfulness in all of this. Pray that I will hold onto Him and trust Him no matter what

    1. “My husband decided to leave”… as in leaving you and your family? This statement scared me, since just this morning I was praying for my own marriage. This devotional really help me prioritize my own requests to God. Although, I feel they are in align with God’s word, my delivery is off when bringing my purpose up to my husband. I need to be prayerful in the words I use, the actions I portray, and the meditation of my heart on a moment to moment basis. Donna, you will be in my prayers. From your friend in JESUS, Dawn

  14. Your words touched me today,I just fnished praying for my visually impaired son asking God to stand beside him as his vision decreases. I wanted to ask for a cure but that would be my will not His. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. I was scrolling through my facebook posts, and was disturbed in my spirit as I saw so many prayers lifted up that didn’t seem to be God’s will. The saddest is a little girl that is dying of brain cancer. She is in ICU right now, and her family is praying for a miraculous healing. I watched my family do the same thing when my cousin died of cancer. It is so hard to watch people who fully believe that God will bring a miracle be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. But, truly, if we look through God’s eyes, it does! My cousin was miraculously cured of cancer! He has a new body, and he is always in God’s presence. We are sad because he is no longer on earth with us, but he isn’t! Anyway, I am encouraged that you, Cindy, have prayed such a prayer for your son. May God increase his spiritual vision, even as his earthly vision decreases. God bless you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *