When God Says "NO"
Topic: Prayer Passage: Acts 12
40 Days of Prayer:
When God Says “No”:
The Bible is filled with powerful and encouraging examples of prayer and admonitions to pray.
But what about when God answers, “No”? Then a host of questions arise.
(To download and print blank sermon notes to complete while you listen, click HERE.)
Is There Something Wrong With My Faith?
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,” (Hebrews 11:36–39)
Sometimes it takes more faith to Endure than to Escape
Two Scriptures To Consider
Acts 12 – The “Surprise” Answer to Prayer
This group of gathered prayers was hardly an example of doubt-free Expectant Faith
Sometimes God says “Yes” even when our faith is less than stellar
Sometimes God says “No” despite our confident expectations
Daniel 3 – The Fiery Furnace
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'” (Daniel 3:16–18)
Faith is Trusting God enough to do what He says no matter how we feel or how certain we are of how things will turn out
Faith is not measured by our feelings or mental imagery, but by our Obedience
“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5–6)
With faith, all things are possible, but only within the sovereign and sometimes mysterious will of God.
What Do I Do When God Says “No”
- Trust that God does everything in goodness and love
“All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10)
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
I don’t have to Understand the answer to know that it’s motivated by goodness and love
When God Says No You Can:
- Resist It
- Resent It
- Rest In Him
- Pray what Jesus prayed facing the cross
“And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.'” (Mark 14:35–36)
- Affirm God’s power
- Ask with passion
- Accept God’s plan
- Expect God to give his grace to handle his answer
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8–10)
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21–23)
Making It Personal
- Am I currently responding to God with a faith that trusts him enough to do what he says no matter how I feel or how certain I am about the outcome?
- Where in my life am I struggling to respond to God with a faith that trusts him enough to do what he says?
- How am I responding to the “No’s” that God has given me in my life right now?
- Who can I share these truths with?