Oh, That’s Why!


Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.  James 5:16

Bible teacher, Jill Briscoe, gave a talk titled, “Prayer that Works.”[1]  Sometimes we think of prayer as either “working,” or “not-working,” depending on whether we received our desired outcome.  “We know that He hears when we make our requests,” the Bible assures us (1John 5:15).  He always hears, He always answers, and sometimes the answer is no.

We can give pat explanations for God’s no’s, comparing God to a parent who says no when her child begs for an ice cream cone, just before going on an amusement park ride that turns her upside down, because no is the best answer.  But sometimes we must rest in God’s no, without understanding.

“Have you learned to say “yes” to the “no” when praying?” Briscoe asks.  The apostle Paul prayed that God would remove a physical problem he had in his body, but God said no. “When Paul accepted the no, he found that God was sufficient.”

Sometimes the wisdom of the no, is clear as time passes.  We see the good that God has worked in our lives, and can finally say, “Oh that’s why [God didn’t answer as I asked Him to].” Can you think of an “Oh that’s why” time in your life?  Briscoe gives us a great suggestion: “Keep a list of “Oh, that’s why” things in your life,” to remind yourself of God’s faithful grace to you and working out of His wisdom.


Resource reading: James 5:13-19

[1] Briscoe, J. (2019, July 10). Prayer That Works. Speech, Irvine, CA; Harvest Christian Fellowship.