When God says “no” to a prayer request, it sometimes means “not yet.” It could be the right request, but the wrong time. Recently, an opportunity materialized that I prayed about 35 years ago. Of course, I had forgotten all about the prayer, but the Lord brought it back to mind.

Many of us have experienced the “not yet” from God. We can look back and realize God’s timing. Maybe we were not mature enough at that time, or the Lord wanted to weed out any remaining self that would destroy the dream.

Sometimes, we have to be willing to give something up to God in order to get it back from God. Often, it is something precious to us because it is easy to make our goals, dreams and desires into idols. For Abraham, it was his son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). God may test us to make sure the gift isn’t more important than the Gift Giver, and the dream is not greater than the Dream Granter.

I remember a church secretary who prayed daily for a green Cadillac. She wanted it to impress her friends. Hmm, not exactly the right motivation. Yet, Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When we are absorbed with delighting in the Lord, our desires change. We no longer value our cars to impress people, but prefer to use them to bring others to church or carry supplies to the homeless shelter. So, while God might initially say “no,” suddenly a request, like a car, may be resurrected and answered affirmatively because our desires have been spiritually sifted.

The challenge is waiting for God’s “yes.” We don’t like waiting at red lights, at the doctor’s office, or in the drive-thru for fast food. But, waiting is part of prayer. God is not a servant at our fingertips. He is our loving Father who has a plan for our lives that extends beyond our own selves.

He wants us to develop our friendship with Him, and learn His ways of blessing and serving. Waiting cultivates dependency on the Lord, as we grow from the numerous other ways He moves in and around us.

Pray and wait on God. Trust in Him during the “not yet” time because He is committed to you!