Don’t Say No

Gwen Smith Devotions 16 Comments


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. The conversation went like this:

“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!

“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 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.”

Wow. I was a bit taken back 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.

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 and stubbornly tell Him 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. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 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 14:11-14).

Let’s consider the context here. When Jesus said this, 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. It’s all about the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven – not the whim of man.

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? Does God want you to be healed of that diagnoses, disease or physical challenge? I don’t know. What I do know is this: God is a good 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).

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.

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” for the greater good. While in the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus was distraught to the point of sweating blood. 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 it wasn’t His will… and because God said no, we 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.

This is a toughy. No doubt. But God knows more than we know and His ways are not like our ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts(Isaiah 55:9). So no matter what we pray for or desire, we can trust that whether His answer is “No,” or “Yes,” His ways are always best.

Dear Lord, 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. In Jesus’s name, amen.

FOR YOUR RESPONSE: What are your thoughts on prayer? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below.

Thanks for doing life with me!


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Comments 16

  1. I have a choice or I think I do on where to spend my summer break.On the one hand there is New York where I can help victims of Hurricane Sandy, or work and make money for school. I am leaving it in God’s hands. Please keep me in your prayers as we make our decision.

  2. Thank you for this word. I struggle sometimes as I am still single at 34 🙂 I know God has a plan for my life and I am trusting Him to bring it all about in His timing and not mine. Thank you again, I have enjoyed reading the things you write! God Bless you!

  3. It’s funny, I remember reading this before but it struck a cord today because I recently had one of those I’m the parent your the child so you don’t tell me what I’m going to conversations with my fourteen year old son.

    But also I think God was speaking to me regarding some situations in my life that I impatiently ask about frequently…thinking that He will answer me this time or the answer will be be different this week….

    As Valentine’s Day rolls closer this is a reminder that He has the plan for my life all under control. The “Yes, my child…he’s the one” will come when He decides the time and person is right or He will give a resounding “Gibbs Slap” (NCIS) to catch my attention that I’m on the wrong road (again!).

    God bless you for using the gifts He has given you to share with us.

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  4. Thank you so much, Gwen. A friend recently shared one of your postings on FB and it spoke to my heart so much that I immediately looked for your page. This morning I really needed to hear what the Lord gave you for this post. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. I have read this devotion before. And my life has always been a cycle of asking Jesus for this and that. Then in that cycle I stop and thank God for many things and the people in my life. I’m 27 and have been in a relationship with Jesus since I was little. I knew for sure when I was 11 and recommitted my heart, soul & mind to him.

    Things never seemed to go right for me until they did. A couple years ago I was disobeying God, got pregnant & after 8 longs weeks the baby died. No reason the drs said. God just decided to take our baby home. I decided outside of God’s will that I didn’t want a surprise to happen again until I graduated from college and got married to be on birth control. I was doing what I wanted and disguising it as God’s plan. I do believe in Gods will and Gods permissive will. I was living partially I’m the latter and the other part of me was living in his will. I was going back and forth between a gate to both sides. God I want, want & then thank you.

    God is still good and he always sticks by us. Recently Jesus placed it on my heart that he healed many woman in the bible. Not just men but women! I have struggled for 16 years on and off of trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling). Until recently I was always ashamed when I thought about it, when I shared it. How could I do this to myself and why was I still in bondage to this sin?! I have been to counseling only to turn away. I don’t want to be on medication that will only mask this disease. I went to celebrate recovery and the small steps and stayed with the group until I moved out of state. going helped. I could talk about whatever I wanted and what was shared needed to be between us and not repeated outside the safety if the group. There was no one judging. You could feel the love. We were all hurt and broken seeking fellowship and most importantly Jesus to heal us. For almost 90 days I didn’t pull any hair on my body out. Then I started again. Realizing I was only doing it on my own and for the little key chain they give you for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 6 months, 1 year. I needed to already focus on Jesus to be my strength.

    I also bite my nails. Gross. Every time I would see other who chew off their nails, it would make me sick. Myself too, yet trying to stop. Gross tasting nail polish, fake nails. I felt like an alcoholic going to cvs or target and buying fake nails every week or 2 x a week for these fake nails. I didn’t want a nail salon to keep ruining the bed of my nails but I needed to cover up a habit I was ashamed of. Again I’m 27 too old to bite my nails and be in bondage to this long name disease plus I felt lame knowing i wasted so much time after high school working and spending all my money on video games and snowboarding. Never partied or drank. Tried it, not fun & makes me ill. Thanks dad. (My dad doesn’t drink.) and started going to college at 24 after I had the miscarriage. This was the enemy seeping in and trying to tell me the person I was and how I should feel.

    Back to above, Jesus was telling me I have healed those women in my word. Do you believe? Yes I do. What about the mustard seed? Is your faith as small as one? Yes, it is. Well then do you believe I can heal you? Yes I do.
    Back to current events:
    A few weeks ago I came down with a kidney infection, it was so bad that if I had let it go further I would have ended up in the hospital. I was in bed for 5 days in pain, could barely eat due to no strength & the worst back pain ever! Worse than menstrual pain!! During that time Jesus was with me before I asked him to come. Although the pain killers seemed to work I was still hungry but couldn’t make anything and then what we had didn’t even sound good. I almost wished I died but was thankful I was alive and prayed thanking God for always caring for me and for his provision.

    I finally regained all my physical strength the night before Halloween. Yes! I was planning the next day to make cookies and rice crispy treats for my fiancé when he got home. Since our Halloween weekend was destroyed by my kidney infection.

    The next morning driving to school I felt a funny sensation in my face and my left hand seemed to not work right. When I got to class I was fine. Then later in the day, I had a strange headache unlike the horrible migraines I normally get and different from a tension headache. About 30 mins later I was in the elevator and I dropped my case, it’s not a heavy one. Maybe I’m tired, I thought. I picked it up, placed it back in the same hand (my left), and again I dropped it. That’s when I knew something was wrong. I called my fiancé and waited for him to call back. As I waited I realized my whole left side of my body was numb. I couldn’t feel it or feel my right side touch it either.

    When my fiancé finally arrived we rushed to the ER. We ordered an MRI & then waited for a really long time, I went in, 45 mins later came out, waited an hour and then a new dr came in told us I had a small stroke and it probably occurred when I was driving that morning.

    They kept me from wed night to Friday afternoon for testing, ultrasounds. They checked my heart & legs for blood clots= clear. They found none. Thank God. Turns out I have two small holes in my heart. The septum wall between the left and the right. It’s call a PFO patent foramen ovale. No need for concern the neurologist & drs said. Bottom line they believe the migraines I get are a possible factor but the main cause they believe was the birth control I was using…again my own choice outside of God’s will. I can never use a hormonal birth control again and I have to take 325mg of aspirin once a day forever. When we want to plan a family I have to see a dr. Blood clots are a huge risk in pregnant women and since this happened, so am I.

    It’s been 3 days since I’ve been home from the hospital & Jesus has been reminding me about those women he healed in the bible. I have been praying for God to remove the desire to pull and also to bite my nails. Well guess what? I can’t feel my left facial and neck area and still don’t have complete sensation in my left hand. I don’t have a desire to pull or bite.

    The drs and therapy people strongly believe I’ll regain my sensation in about a month or two. I just have to be careful outside since its cold & when I wash my hands since I can’t feel temperatures.

    I’m happy that God knows all things. He knew the choices I would make and the consequences that would come. He knew I would have a stroke & knew where it would happen and when. He has my life planned out. All my mistakes and failures and how he can be glorified throughout every experience in this life I have given him. You see when I was told I had a stroke. Normally I would have broken down and freaked out. But God used the wisdom of my fiancé to calm me down. And before I even knew it, Jesus was there. My fiancé left and I was there in the hospital physically alone and I never once felt alone. Normally I feel alone quite often. This time- not even once. When God makes a promise even when we are disobedient. He is our Knight in shiny armor and he does come to our rescue.

    I have been wanting to share the struggle I have with the hair pulling in a while. It has been about 10 months since I was in CR and I have lived in this new city, in a different state now for 5 months, I have yet to find a church & funny when I plan to go, I get an infection and then recover from a stroke… Haha. Our plans are not our own. Ian and have been for some time now no longer ashamed and I no longer feel tied down in bondage to that disorder.

    We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. ~ Romans 5:3, NLT

    For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. ~ James 1:3, NLT

    These two seem to fit for now.

    I know this is a really long “novel”, but thank you for reading. I hope that my effort brings glory to God despite my disobedience.

  6. Just shed some tears reading this. It’s crazy/amazing how something convicts you to the point where you’re on your face, telling God you don’t want to say no anymore.

  7. This hit right to the core of me, thank you. Back in May, my husband and I lost our baby at 3 1/2 months pregnant. It was our first pregnancy and I remember the entire time being so scared of miscarriages thanks to the internet. I continuously prayed, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was telling God “No, don’t let that happen to me” and was focusing only what I wanted rather than on His will. We just found out we are expecting again and are overjoyed but both also feel the enemy working overtime on us.
    Thank you for reminding me that His plan is greater than my worldly desires and that He is a Good God.

  8. Hi Gwen,

    Thanks for this post. And I love the new site! This post finds me today at a crossroads. I’ve been gin back and forth about this since April/May. When I spent time in prayer one time back then, I thought I heard the Lord tell me to turn in my resignation letter. I never did. Seven months later, I’m wrestling with this again. I don’t know if I thought I heard because sometimes I’m ready to leave and the Loord is saying “no, stay.” Or if I’m in fear because this would be a huge leap of faith for me because I don’t have another job lined up (and I didn’t in April either).
    Im seeking a definite “no” or “yes” from Him, but I feel like I’m in the way and don’t know how to move/quiet my spirit to hear correctly.

    1. Hi Kenyatta!

      Wow, girl. That’s big stuff. I would recommend that you keep seeking the heart and will of God through His Word and to gain wise counsel from a godly source. It sounds like you might want to talk and pray through this with others in person who can offer godly feedback.

      Hope that helps!

  9. Hi Gwen,

    I discovered this site by accident, God’s i imagine and i fell in love with everything you girls write. You touch my heart in a very special way. I just started to get seriously involved with the word of God and it is amazing! I am a middle age woman, with 3 children too and motherhood is not easy at all. I live in Ghana in West Africa. I also love worship but i am not good at it. God is a Good God, Praise his Name.

    1. Don’t you love a God-accident? 🙂 So blessed to be doing life with you now, Belinda. Yes. God’s Word is amazing and motherhood is challenging… so with you! Keep pursuing His truth and grace!

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