Does God answer our prayers after His heart? You may say yes. Then do our prayers that fail to conform to His will get fulfilled if we insist on asking? You may answer no.
Actually God will promise you if you stick to asking for the matter that doesn't align with His will. But before this, God must have told you the right way through the Bible or preachers' exhortation and you should obey His will. Even if you don't receive any teaching or exhortation, God let your conscience know His will so that you need to learn to wait for Him. Many times God's silence turns out to be better than his permission. God's promise is based on His will and sovereignty in the Bible, which is righteous and good.
People will get perfect results if they follow God's promise, for "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." (James 1:17-18)
The Bible doesn't have the word "permission" while God granted the requests of some obedient people. Let's look at some counterexamples and their end:
Genesis 19 records the ashamed history of Lot and his family. God determined to destroy Sodom for its profound evil, but He who remembered Lot sent two angels to urge Lot to leave the city because he was about to rain down burning sulfur and overthrow it before the daybreak. However, Lot who was accustomed to city life hesitated and was not convinced to leave Sodom after the angels tried to persuade him for a whole night.
"With the coming of dawn... the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and let them safely out of the city... one of them said, 'Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!' But Lot said to them, 'No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I'll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it-it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared.' He said to him, 'Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. ' " (Genesis 19: 15-21)
Resisting the will of God, Lot chose his own way, ending up with a humiliating reputation.
The lesson of Balaam
The history of the prophet Balaam is written in Numbers 22-24: The king of Moab Balak asked him to curse the Israelites with the fee for divination. He asked God and God said, "Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed." (Numbers 22:12)
Upon the invitation from Balak for the second time, Balaam responded with spiritual words, "Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God." However, he continued, "Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me." (Numbers 22:19) Knowing that he was lured by money, God said to him later, "Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you." (Numbers 22:20)
It seems that God's word contradicted itself. Actually God, who doesn't force men to follow His will, gave sinners over to follow the desires and thoughts of their sinful nature (Romans 1:24, Ephesians 2:3). Balaam didn't pass the trial, instead, he did curse the Israelites. Yet he who intended to curse Israel said blessings for God changed his tongue. Finally he came up with an evil plan that made the Israelites who died of sinned to pay the debt of Balak. Soon he was killed for his error (Jude 1:11, 2 Peter 2:15-16).
Israel asks for a king
In around 1050 BC, all the elders of Israel gathered together at Ramah and asked Samuel to appoint a king to lead them, such as all the other nations had.
"And the Lord told him: 'Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.' " (1 Samuel 8:7-9)
Then Samuel anointed Saul, a Benjamite who was tall and robust, ending the theocracy led by the judges and opening the era of monarchical system. It was indeed a spiritual retrogression. Afterwards, their kings oppressed people and took the lead to worship idols, who sinned against God. They had only a few good kings during the next 464 years until the country's division.
The prophet Hosea spoke out the voice of God:
"You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your helper.
Where is your king, that he may save you? Where are your rulers in all your towns, of whom you said, 'Give me a king and princes'?
So in my anger I gave you a king, and in my wrath I took him away." (Hosea 13:9-11)
It can be seen from the above examples: what God says in the beginning is His will or promise and we will be blessed if we obey it; if He changes His will, that is more His giving us over to our desires than his permission. It's God's compromise when people choose to be disobedient, but our end will be a tragedy.
Therefore, we should choose God's promise unconditionally rather His permission because God sees further than us and His foolishness is much wiser than our wisdom, despite it may displease us.
In addition, notice that there is a neutral word called "hearing" between "God's promise" and "His permission", which includes the meaning of "promise" and "permission". Its meaning should depend on the context and whom God answered.
Paul the Apostle points out the peak of Christian spirituality:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. " (Romans 12:1-2)
Translated by Karen Luo