Many times we pray and God answers our prayers with a yes. When that happens, it's glory, hallelujah, amen! We do the happy dance and all is well with our soul. We sing praises up to him and rejoice!
But God doesn't always sees fit to answers our prayers with a yes.
Often, God will simply say not now.
Sometimes, right now, is not in God's perfect timing. As God, he may foresee something that requires a delay in answering our prayer. He is not saying no to us, he is simply asking us to wait a while, and that sometime in the future, when He knows that the timing is right, then he will answer with a yes. Listening to God say not now requires faith on our part, because as humans, we tend to be impatient. Being still and waiting on God requires patience, which unfortunately, I don't possess much of.
It is not easy being asked to wait, especially by God. We have become a nation of instant gratification, and if we aren't careful, it will begin to infiltrate into our spiritual lives as well. However, I have personally experienced God answering me with a not now and then the following year, he followed up with a yes.
It may take time, but if God says Not now he is faithful in fulfilling in answering your prayer when the time is right, and on his terms.
Finally, God may answer our prayer with a definite no.
I admit its hard praying about something to God and then he doesn't give you the answer that you were wanting. I even admit to have pouted or even cried upon such occasions, (true!) Oh, the disappointment I felt!
Sometimes I would question if I had really heard God's answer right. Maybe if I asked him a different way then he would answer my prayer differently. Boy, I was so desperate for God to answer my prayer the way I wanted him to, (regardless of the ramifications) that I would go ahead and make plans as if he had, and then justify my actions in the process! Oops! I was trying to micromanage God into getting my own way. Who did I think I was anyway?
Oh, I have learned my lesson, but too many times I have learned them the hard way. When God says no, he means no. No questions asked. But it is not easy. Even though I know that he is a sovereign and just God, and a good, good father; just like a child, I feel disappointment when he says no to me.
I have to remind myself of Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God; who are called according to His purpose." And to trust him, completely.