Person praying at a church pew

What Should I Do When the Answer Is No?

When the answer to a prayer is no, it’s easy to get angry with God. However, we need to choose to have faith and trust the One who knows the end from the beginning.

"The answer to many righteous prayers [is] no, in favor of a far superior outcome." -Elder Brook P. Hales

Photo by Wadi Lissa

My husband and I had been anxiously waiting all day for his cell phone to ring. Now, at the end of the work day, I looked at my husband, and he shook his head. There was no chance that the company he’d interviewed with would be calling him back with a job offer.  

Tears stung my eyes, and my fragile heart ached. Why was this happening? My husband had done so well in the interview. We’d felt so optimistic. We’d prayed and fasted that things would go well, and both of our families had done the same. Why was God abandoning us in our righteous desires? Had we not done enough?

Or was the answer no?

In the talk “Answers to Prayer,” Elder Brook P. Hales recounts that his oldest son went through a similar situation. His son had been the most qualified candidate and most obvious choice for a dream job—yet he didn’t get it. He was just as devastated as my husband and I were. However, it turned out that if Elder Hales’s son had gotten the job, “he would have missed a critical, life-changing opportunity that has now proved to be for his eternal benefit and blessing.”

But what if a blessing doesn’t seem to come? It’s tempting to blame God and be angry with him when the answer is no. But there’s a better response to our trials. We need to choose to have faith and to keep believing in good things to come, even though it’s hard to do so. In my case, I wasn’t sure if I had the capacity to let go of my anger and sense of injustice. But after many prayers and tears, I found I could let go and choose faith in the One who knows the end from the beginning. Elder Hales says, “We have the assurance that in his own way and in his own time, Heavenly Father will bless us and resolve all of our concerns, injustices, and disappointments.”

I’m not sure how our story will end, but I know God knows what we need, not just what we want. Sometimes, he needs to say no, “in favor of a far superior outcome.”

Read more about different answers to prayer in Elder Brook P. Hales’s talk “Answers to Prayer.”  


—Renee Stevens, Mormon Insights


Find more insights

Take a look at “When I Know What I Want but God Knows What I Need,” a devotional address by Curtis Castillow, if you want to learn more about what God knows you need.

Read the talk “I Am a Child of God,” by Donald L. Hallstrom, to learn why God cares about your future.

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  1. Pingback: Work for Peace; Triumph through Trust - Latter-day Saint Insights

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