It is clear, biblically, that we are to pray to God. We are to go to Him with all of our hopes and dreams and problems and plans and trust that He will answer. The verse above says that we are to do so without fear or anxiety...and with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for an answer we have not yet received. An answer that may be "No." or "Not now."
Just this morning, I was driving to work thinking. It's what I do. Thinking, I mean. I sometimes wake up in mid-thought...it just never stops. But, this morning, I was thinking about something specific. Something I'd "make known to God" and have been making known to Him for a few months now. Something that hasn't seemed to be progressing in the way I would like. So I am in the car, driving on auto-pilot, thinking about this...about all the Lord has done to encourage me to persevere in prayer...and how much He has done in me through it...and how there doesn't seem to be any real change in this particular circumstance. And the thought came to me. "Well, what if God is saying 'No.'...or at least 'Not now.'? What do you say?"
I thought a minute and then I said, out loud and everything, "I say, 'Hallelujah!' It might make me sad at first. It probably won't be easy and I will likely cry, too. But, still, I say 'Hallelujah!'"
Later that morning, the test came. Would I say 'Hallelujah' though things looked grim? Though they didn't improve or go my way?
And just now in the shower, I did again. I even raised soapy hands as I sang:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Your Love makes me sing!
See, I had been thinking in the shower, too. Because, as you know now, it is what I do. I also sing in there quite a bit...but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, I was thinking about the Hallelujah response and the rightness of it. And it is right, because it affirms our trust in God but also because, knowing what we know about God, it is practical.
Who would really want God to grant each request we make to Him without reservation?
I can think back, just over the past couple of weeks and see reasons to be thankful for God's wisdom in answering the requests I make known to Him. If I look back over a lifetime...well, it's just scary to think where I might be were it not for God's goodness in saying "No." or "Not yet."
So, as I face another possible "No" or at the very least a "Not yet." and that is a little bit sad for me, my heart can still be ready to raise my hands in whatever condition they may be and sing "Hallelujah!" It is what is right and by God's grace, it is what He has put it in my heart to do. For His promise is not "make your requests known to God...and the answer will always be 'Yes'." It is...make your requests known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."(Philippians 4:7)
And because of this, we can and should say "Hallelujah!" No matter what answer He chooses to give!