If only when we prayed we could get resolution to it, one way or the other, right away! In our society today, waiting on anything is unheard of. I was in a restaurant recently and we walked up to the desk to see how long the wait would be. The very friendly person behind the counter told me that it would be between 5 to 8 minutes before a table would open up and the people behind us said, “That is absolutely ridiculous! We are not waiting that long for anything!”
Yet this is an all-too-typical reaction to hearing we have to wait for things. Realizing our time is precious is a good thing, but not being willing to wait for anything actually kind of ticks God off. All throughout the Bible, God shows us time and again that being patient is a must if we are to live like Jesus lived.
If we would just stop and think things through, we would realize just how many things God has to work through to make our prayer come to life. For example, let’s say you desperately need a job. Once you fill out the application, God has to work in the lives of the HR people who review them and they have to choose yours above the other hundred laying on their desk. Then when you go to the interview, God makes sure you say what you need to say to impress the interviewer. Then God has to remind the interviewer that you were the best candidate after they have interviewed twenty other people who want the same job. Then the offer letters have to be sent, you have to accept, etc, etc. As you can see, it is not just as simple as God saying ‘Yes’ and you have a new job. Now imagine if you had to work this way in peoples lives FOR EVERY PERSON PRAYING TO YOU!!!! Now you know why God is God and we are not!
Here are some tips the Bible gives us on waiting:
- Wait quietly – Psalm 62 – “I wait quietly before the Lord” The more you fuss, fight, yell, and worry, the more you show God you do not trust Him to get the job done. Like a great golfer, God appreciates silence while He works for us.
- Wait patiently – Psalm 27:7 – “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently” Remember all of the things that have to take place takes a lot of time to get through. Give God the time He needs. Remember that ‘inner calm’ is the ‘intercom’ to God. By reaming calm, you show God you trust and have faith in Him and His ability.
- Wait expectantly – Psalm 105 – “I wait expectantly as God promised He would help” If you wait and wonder whether God will deliver, than most likely He will not because you do not trust Him. When you pray, you should expect that God will either answer “Yes”, “Not right now”, or “I have something better than what you are asking for.” No is never an answer you will receive from God even though sometimes it feels that way.
Garth Brooks has a great song titled “Unanswered Prayer” and in it he says, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayer.” This is because he realized that some of the things he wanted, if he would have gotten them, would have brought pain and sorrow into his life. This is a lesson we can all learn and be better off from.
Many times in my own life I have prayed to God to change a situation for me because I did not like it. Yet it seemed like God was on vacation because not a thing changed. I just assumed God was telling me no. In reality God was waiting for me to be ready to take on the next awesome thing He had in store for me, and that awesome thing was no where near the thing I asked God for. Yet, it was so much better than what I asked for! Unanswered prayer can be just as powerful as answered prayer. Not only does God have to work through others to help us, but often He needs us to work on ourselves to be ready to accept the prayer.
I’ll just end by saying that I hope you always remember that before you ever pray for anything for yourself, always say your prayers for others first. It puts a huge smile on God’s face because He sees you putting others before yourself with a servant heart and attitude.
After all waiting isn’t so bad. It gives you the chance to talk to others about God while God works for you!!!
Pastor Brad Komgenick