Yesterday's "Yes", Today's "No"

Prayer is about trusting the "No" and finding God's "Yes."

How transformative would it be for your prayer life if you could always get a "Yes?"

It seems like there are times when prayer works and times when it doesn't. Prayer can feel so random and hard to figure out that many people give up.

Don't give up on prayer. God always gives a "Yes."

In 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul shares the most significant "Yes" God had ever given him in prayer. But that big "Yes" came after 3 "No's."

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Cor. 12:8-9

When God says, "No," there's always a "Yes." 

One of the reasons you can't get through the "No" may be because you are holding onto yesterday's "Yes."

Yesterday's "Yes"

2 Corinthians 12 begins with Paul recounting an incredible spiritual experience. He received a vision of Heaven that was so amazing he had no words to describe it (2 Cor. 12:1-4). 

But that vision came at great cost. God knows us better than we know ourselves. Despite his inability to put it into words, God wanted to make sure that Paul would not boast about it. So God gave Paul what he described as "a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7)." 

Paul had seen something so powerful that God had to remind him daily that he was weak. Despite having been with God, Paul had to be reminded that he daily needed God.

Paul asked the Lord three times to remove his thorn. Three times the answer was, "No."

But in God's "No," there was a life-changing, "Yes."

God's past answers motivate us to pray in the present. But yesterday's "Yes" may become today's "No." Paul had seen Heaven. That's a huge "Yes." Surely a man who has experienced that grand of a vision could garner another miracle from God. But the answer was, "No."

But God's done it before and he'll do it again, right? That may be a line in a Southern Gospel song, but it isn't Scripture. Just because God's done it before doesn't mean he MUST do it again. 

Yesterday's "Yes" shows you God's ability, not God's obligation. Paul had one great vision of Heaven in the past, but it could not compare to what God wanted to give him daily in the present. God said, "No" to taking away the thorn. God said, "Yes" to perfect power. 

Don't get stuck on yesterday's "Yes." Allow past answers to prayer to motivate you, not disappoint you. God's grace is sufficient for you today. God can answer your present request in a new way.

Trust God's, "No" and keep praying until you get to God's "Yes."  

Bible Study

Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.

  • List the promises in this passage.
  • What does this passage teach us about prayer?
  • How does this passage call for us to praise God?


Recall a recent prayer request that God has not answered. What may be some of the "Yes" possibilities? List them. Ask God to strengthen your faith to help you trust Him with the "Yes."

"We need to know more about the Bible than we do The Bachelor." Get rid of silly stuff.


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