How long should we wait for a response after praying a Novena?


I wondered how long we should wait for a response to a Novena? I know it is different for every situation but maybe others who have had more experiences with Novenas might have some advice.

How do we know if the answer is no or wait when we don’t hear anything?

Also, is it ever possible that we may need to pray the same Novena for the same intention a second time?


There’s no knowing normally, sometimes yes a second time or more, and…

I hear one of the best things to do is to do a novena of thanksgiving, having faith that the seed of whatever you asked for, if it is in God’s plan and good, is planted and done.

Accomplishing good things can take many novenas… the more good and yet difficult something is… the more prayer can be needed.

The holier you are as a person, the more you love God, the more faith you have and sacrifices you make, the more your prayers will help all people.


Today I started a novena to St. Therese of Little Flower as a preparation for the visit to her relics next week. I don’t know what to expect, I just feel like I ought to do it.


Thank you, Shin for your help. I think that I will probably have to say my Novena again.

I have never prayed to St. Therese before. I’m going to read some more about her. She sounds really special.


The two things I always have in mind with any prayer is that God is good, if it is good, He wills to do it, and the second is, that many things are or are not accomplished because we do or do not contribute enough to them.

There’s a certain I believe, not fully understanding, spiritual economy to it all. . sometimes God wills that we have to put in a certain amount of effort, a certain amount of love before something is achieved. Sometimes, things are going to happen only at a particular predetermined time in a person’s life and we have to wait on that…

What we can put into something is sacrifice, mortification, difficult and painful things done for the sake of love of God for others. This brings us closer to God, gives us more merit…

And is why the saints’ prayers are answered magnificently and quickly more often than those of us who have not loved God so greatly and become so holy, they avoided the slightest sin, and embraced the cross with great love.

The proper spirit to do something is always loving the possible outcome for the sake of love of God above all else, not something less… i.e. we love others for God’s sake before the other… we love the outcome for God’s sake before the other… etc. Then we are happy with God’s time, and yet at the same time can put in great efforts because we know that too is His will because it is a truly good goal, and the effort itself, when the intention is pure, is never wasted, whatever the result it brings good in some fashion or another for all. :slight_smile:


As far as I know God always answers our prayer.

Personally, I said novena not just once but many times. Not because I am desperate for an answer but I felt God wants me to continue the novena. I have been praying the novena to the Holy Spirit.As much I remember I did say the novena when I was taking exam for nursing, and I say it again for the strength and guidance. And as I am preparing to give a speech for … and everytime I have to make appeal to the community. My most favorate novena is the novena to the Holy Spirit.


St. Monica waited for 30 years – just to keep things in perspective.


Not specifically related to novina’s, but…

Personally, I prayed a nightly prayer for a couple years and it was answered about 15 years latter.

I did a 3 novina’s of Rosaries earlier this year (one of petition, one of praise, and one of thanksgiving). By then it was habit and it became a daily prayer. Looks like it is being answered now (bit over 100 days - lots less than 15 years).


I have prayed for years for the conversion of my husband.

My mother prayed for 9 days to St Joseph, and sold her house on the 9th day. :shrug:


I have been storming heaven for 15 years now, and the situation is most definitely not getting better.

It is up to God as to how prayers are answered, and when.


I made a Miraculous Medal Novena some 50 years ago and my prayers, or petition, wasn’t answered. It’s funny, but I made this novena asking help to overcome a weakness I was experiencing at the time and because I was told this was a sin. So I just figured since my prayers weren’t answered, either directly or through the novena, that this problem I had wasn’t a sin after all.

As for St. Monica: My wife always brings this up to me in these sorts of discussions and I can’t begin to tell you how much that irritates me. If it worked for St. Monica I’m happy for her, but I’M no Saint and I don’t profess to be, nor do I necessarily think that I am ever going to be one. So I’d just as soon have my answer to my prayer sooner rather than later. What if someone is praying for a friend or loved ones conversion and that friend or loved one is gravely ill? Or maybe this friend or loved one is in the military of some other profession/occupation that puts them continuously in harms was? A 20 or thirty-year wait may be too long. Besides doesn’t the bible say somewhere to ask and you will receive and to seek and you will find. (The operative words here being “will”, not “might” or “may”) Maybe it is nothing more that prayer working for some and not for others. And sad to say, but I’m learning to accept it, I’m one of the “others”.


Maybe God doesn’t grant our requests right away because then we wouldn’t pray as intensely or as long. Maybe it’s not about what we ask for; maybe it’s about US! That’s how I’ve begun looking at it these last few years anyway. And of course, it is human nature (I want that myself) to want an answer…NOW.

Ephesians 3:20: . . . . Now to Him who can do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. Trust God, keep praying (always), and He will do the rest.


Well, I and a bunch of others from CAF prayed a novena to St. Dymphna a while back that I would be healed of my mental disorders but it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know if it will happen or not. I don’t know if it is God’s will that I be healed in this life. But yet I wait patiently anyway. :slight_smile:


I did not mention the details. Ultimately I recognize that my prayer was not answered then because it was not the correct time for it to be answered and that I would have not been able to accept the answer. Likewise I also know that had it been answered, my faith life would have not followed the path it did.

We do not need to understand God’s plans for us, but simply accept them for they are in our best interest.


I think one of the ways prayers are most often answered is by giving us the grace to do a thing if we do it prayerfully.

In other words we can do a thing badly and fail, or do a thing well and prayerfully, and if we pray for the grace for that then we can make a beginning at some of the bigger projects we pray for success in.

Sometimes we don’t know what to do, but at the same time we pray to know what to do without also looking for the answer. Sometimes we pray that something be accomplished, but then don’t put in the work to accomplish it.


First, thank you for taking the time to respond to my post and to offer your insights. I really appreciate it.

My only problem is that there too many “maybes” in what you say. Why should there be so many “maybes” for us when especially when we are following our Catholic teachings and up brings and are making requests of God, through active prayer or through just what is in our hearts, but “hear” or feel nothing.

Look, when talking about prayer the bible says, and more than once, that what you ask for you will receive. Then our Catechism tells to raise our hearts & minds to God and ask for good things. Sure if we ask (pray) to win the lotto, that may be stretching it a bit. But if we ask for, let’s say, a strong and lasting relationship, or a certain career or college choice, or the safety or protection of a loved one, all of which are good things, shouldn’t we, based on our faith, expect some positive response from God?

It’s funny, but in my dealings with this dilemma in my life, I notice a lot of others who seem to have a very positive prayer life, and this makes me wonder…

Thanks again for your thoughts.



What we think is good and what God thinks is good for us are often two different things. So the best prayer is always with complete acceptance of what He chooses to answer it with.

What is good in the Heavenly perspective is often quite different than what is directly good in ours.

And then, if we are not saints, we often lack the merit to receive big answers to big prayers quickly. If you want that, become very holy. The holier you are the more impressive the answers will be.


Athena -
You’ve posed an excellent question. HOW DO we know when the answer might just be “no” - or if we should either continue to wait or keep praying. I know someone mentioned St. Monica getting a reply after many years - but how do we know? I know we are supposed to persevere and not give up. But identifying what answer God is giving us - even if it isn’t what was prayed / hoped for - perhaps, can only be answered with the saying we’ve often heard - “pray without ceasing”. We know God hears and is attentive to all our prayers, so just keep talking to Him. I do - even though not always formal prayer. Somehow, as I type this, in my heart, I think that God must be pleased if we just keep asking / talking to Him.


I am missing something. Why are we waiting for or expecting a response to a Novena? like all prayer this regular practice raises the mind and heart to God and its goal is conformity with God’s will so why are we dictating when, why and how we will expect an answer, in our own terms, from God?


Maybe, because we’re told “ask, and you shall receive”. I had a hard time with that quote for many years, expecting that it meant I’d receive what I wanted. That doesn’t mean we’ll always get what we’re asking for but perhaps, at least receive an answer. Some novenas are known through the ages to be “efficacious”. The Nine-Hour Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague is one of the most efficacious. I’ve seen answers come to those praying that Novena - before the nine hours are completed.

But it’s hard for us, as human beings, to understand what answer is being given, if it doesn’t come right away - the way we hoped for. Yes. No. Or Wait. I roughly quoted something I’d heard years ago in another thread (perhaps said by Robert Louis Stevenson or Longfellow??) that goes like this: ‘God governs the world but prayer governs God.’ We know nothing is above or rules over God but perhaps that quote is an analogy. We’re dependent upon God’s promises, and He tells us to come to Him - to ask and we shall receive - but it’s always in God’s Good Time - not ours. And it may not be the answer we hope for - it’s God’s answer.

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