My prayer felt as useless as a birthday balloon with no air. When I prayed, it seemed like my feelings didn’t matter. This wasn’t the only time my prayers felt like they made no difference in my chaotic situation. I remember praying for a lot of things throughout my life. When I was eight, I prayed for Evan to invite me to his birthday party. At age sixteen, I prayed to pass my drivers test on the first try. Halfway through college, I prayed she would marry me.

Every one of these wish-filled prayers felt like it hit the ceiling and never reached the ears of heaven because God didn’t grant a single one.

But what if He had? Would I rather trust and love a God who never heard my prayers, or would it be easier to follow a God who heard them, but said “no”?

I now know God hears every prayer. The Bible is full of stories where God said “yes” to prayers like mine and plenty more where He said “no”. The prayers I’ve prayed when God has given me a “no” almost always have two things in common: they are focused on my own selfish gains or they would hurt me and keep me from something better. I believe God always wants to say “yes” but He will say “no” if it’s for my best.

God said “no” to my friend Evan’s birthday party.

He said “no” to passing my first drivers test.

And the one that hurt the most, He said “no” to her saying “yes” to me.

But I can look back on each of these and see that when God said “no”, He was really saying,“I have something better.”

Here are four prayers God wants to say “yes” to:

1. Use me to make You known
2. Forgive me
3. Give me wisdom
4. Make my faith stronger

“Then Jesus went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if I must do this and it is not possible for me to escape it, then I pray that what you want will be done.” Matthew 26:42