10 Things to Do When God Seems to Be Saying 'No' in Your Ministry


We've all been there. We pray and pray, and it seems God's answer is "no." When that happens, here's what I encourage you to do:

1. Trust His wisdom. He always knows what's right. He is, in fact, the standard for right.

2. Trust His heart. He loves you more than you can ever know. Lean into that love.

3. Trust His long-term goal. He's conforming you to the image of His Son (see Rom. 8:29). It may be that His saying "no" right now is part of His plan to get you there.

4. Trust His grace. As He did with the apostle Paul's request to remove his thorn (see 2 Cor. 12:7-10), God sometimes tells us "no" because He wants us to see the sufficiency of His grace.

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5. Trust His timing. His "no" may actually be a "wait," but He seldom operates according to our calendar or clock. How long He takes to answer our prayer is up to Him.

6. Trust His record. Read the Bible again, and see God for who He truly is. See the validity of David's words even when God says 'no': "I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor their offspring begging bread" (Ps. 37:25).

7. Check your heart. Where sin reigns (Isa. 59:1-2), when we ask selfishly (James 4:3) or when our marriage relationship is weakened (1 Pet. 3:7), we cannot expect God to give us a "yes" response to our requests.

8. Check your ears. Pay attention to the voices you listen to if God has chosen to say "no" for now. Trust God and His Word—listen to Him, and ignore the enemy who wants you to doubt God today and turn away from Him tomorrow.

9. Check your hands and feet. That is, keep serving God with all your being, even if you don't like God's response to your prayers. Disobedience never leads to more answered prayer.

10. Check your knees. God's present-tense "no" is seldom a call to stop praying for a legitimate request. Stay on your knees, even if they're calloused before God answers your prayer.

For the original article, visit chucklawless.com.

Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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