There are three answers to prayer - yes, no, or not now. It's frustrating to be told "not now," but Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church said that Christians should learn to be patient and trust on God's plans.
"God's timing is perfect. We may think He's late, but He's never late. God's delays are not God's denials. 'Not yet' does not mean 'no,'" he wrote on his devotional. But whenever God says "not now," Warren stressed that Christians should never stop praying.
He said that people should keep praying until one of three things happen. The first is to keep on praying until the desired answer manifests itself, and the other is to continuously pray until believers get the assurance that they are going to get what they've been praying for.
"Sometimes God does that! He says, 'I'm going to give you this,' and you're sure of it. You stop asking God for it, and you start thanking God for it and acting on it," said Warren.
Lastly, Warren said people should keep praying until God makes a revelation that the highly-coveted answer "yes" is not His will.
"When you figure that out, you become uncomfortable praying about it and you don't have any peace, so you stop praying for that request," he explained. "In order to receive an answer from God, you've got to be willing to let God answer in his time! But He will answer because He is trustworthy, He hears your prayers, and He will respond."
Earlier, Warren explained that some answers get delayed because God wants to change believers first. Maybe a premature "yes" would turn believers into lazy, self-entitled individuals. But a "yes" that is earned the hard way would make them more appreciative of blessings.
"God is more interested in making you mature than He is in making life easy. After you've learned the right attitude, then God's free to go to work on the problem," assured Warren.