Most of us have heard that all prayers are answered. We are told that God either says "Yes" or "No." What if the answer is "Yes"? What if the answer is "No" - how can we deal with it? How can we tell whether we received an answer, either way?
When God Says "Yes"
When God answers our prayer, we seem to have no trouble at all realizing it has been answered. Sometimes, we just go merrily on our way, serene in the knowledge that we got what we wanted. Often, we forget to even say "Thank you." But we are bathed in the glow of a favor received.
How to Deal with God's "No"
When God says "No," things are different. Depending on what we prayed for, we might be angry. We might be frustrated. We might be terrified, worrying about how to deal with our problem. We might not even be sure that the answer is "No." We might think that perhaps it is just taking a while for God to say "Yes."
No matter. Prayer soothes the soul. When we are praying, we feel we are doing something, anything, to help the situation. It changes our mood from helpless to hopeful. Even if the outcome is not what we prayed for, at least we felt uplifted for a few moments. Sometimes, in those moments, other answers, other insights, come to us.
Even if we are not happy with the answer, looking back, we can usually see the times when it was the right answer. When God says "No," it often has a marvelously unexpected result.
How do we know God has Answered Our Prayer?
Sometimes, we many never know whether our prayer was answered. If we didn't get what we wanted, perhaps we were helped by the grace to move onward and get past the obstacle.
The point, is, then, to just turn our hearts and minds away from the problem for a while, through prayer, so that answers may come. When we are too worried, we often block our minds from seeing the answers that are already there.
Continuing to pray, either way, helps us to go on with our lives. Prayer offers us hope. If there is an absence of hope, despair sets in. It can happen to anyone. But with prayer, we can move on.