How to Pray When God Says No

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How should we handle it when God tells us no when we pray? If your kids are anything like mine, then they want everything: new toys, new video games, ice cream every day, an iPad, stuffed animals, candy, new clothes and shoes. If they don’t have it, then they want it.

As a mother, I wish I could give them everything they want. But, I know that giving them everything they want is not always best. Some things that they want are not good for them (like having ice cream every single day). It’s hard to say no to them, but I have to do it because I know what is best for them.How to Pray When God Says No

Isn’t our prayer life like this sometimes? We tell God all the things we want and then we wait, expecting Him to give us every single thing we ask for. Why? Because, well, He’s God and He can do anything. He’s capable of giving us everything we want.

We don’t like it when God says no to us either. We may cry, pitch a fit, question His ways, and even get angry at Him. Just like our kids don’t understand why we say no, we don’t understand why God says no to the things we ask of Him.

Why Does God Tell Us No

As an adult, I have come to understand that sometimes God says no because He has something much better in store for us. I have learned patience and learned that waiting is part of God’s plan. But, let’s be real…kids usually don’t have much patience and they get upset if they don’t get what they want.

How can we help them keep praying even when God says no?

Here is an activity you can do with your kids to help them when God tells them no when they pray:

Box of Thanks
•    Find boxes in your house (shoeboxes works great). Allow your children to decorate their boxes of thanks. Make sure on the outside they write “(Name)’s Box of Thanks”
•    Carve out a time in the day when you pray with your kids individually.
•    Before you begin, read Romans 8:28.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
•     Tell them that God works everything for good for each one of us, just like this Scripture says. God knows what is best and has a special plan for us.
•    As you pray, write down the things for which your child prays. (Print out the cards below if needed.) Do this each time you pray with them. Record the date on them, too.
•    Once a month, with your child, open their box of thanks and see how God answered their prayers. Say a prayer of thanks for each request. Remind them that sometimes what we want is not what God thinks is best for us, but we need to give thanks to God even when He doesn’t answer the way we want.
•    If a prayer wasn’t answered, have them continue to pray, asking for God’s will to be done. Also, ask God to help your child be thankful no matter if He says no to their request. Why pray this? Because we all know that children are going to have a difficult time giving thanks to God when He says no (just like we do).
•     Keep this box of thanks. Put it in a safe place so that later in their lives they can go back and see how God works everything for good. They will really enjoy being able to go back and remember how great God is, even when He said no to them.

God is almighty and all-knowing. He knows what is best for us and we need to trust Him. That is so difficult, but we must surrender our will to His, trusting Him every step of the way. And we must be grateful for all things, even when they aren’t what we wanted. When your kids hear you giving thanks to God, even when He says no, then they will learn how to continue to pray and be grateful to God.

Prepare to Pray!

Click on the image below to print FREE PRAYER CARDS. Choose the age-appropriate printable for your children and print on card stock. Then work together to create the Boxes of Thanks.

Scripture Prayer CardsMy Scripture Prayer Cards 3-12 blog






Now Pray!

Encourage your children to not just read or say the words, but to pray them from the heart.

Click on the image below for more articles in this series.prayer

{All of these verses link to BibleGateway. If you would rather choose a different version of the scriptures, then click the link and choose the version you want.}


vanessa_myersVanessa Myers is the Children’s Director at Dahlonega United Methodist Church in Dahlonega, GA.  She loves to write and share her experiences at  She is married to Andrew and they have 2 daughters.

Twitter:  @vtmyers0921
Instagram:  vtmyers
Pinterest:  vtmyers03


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