Praying...and Waiting

Lea Ann McCombs

It can be very frustrating to pray for something that you know is within the will of God (1 John 5:14-15), and not see it come to pass. Yet, Jesus told us many times that we were to pray and not give up (Luke 18:1; Ephesians 6:18). So why does it take so long? And why does it seem that some prayers go unanswered?

Praying in faith can be tricky, because faith is the confidence that what we desire will in fact become reality (Hebrews 12:1). But if we've tried to pray that way before, and it seemed that nothing happened, doing it again is a challenge. So how do we pray in confidence (James 1:6; Matthew 21:21) when we are not sure that this time will be different?

Faith is a word that has been twisted and misapplied so often that we are almost scared of it. tweet In our modern evangelical world, faith has come to mean a magical force that makes our dreams miraculously appear. We even hear that we should have faith FOR something, but that is where we go wrong. Biblical faith is not faith FOR something; it is faith IN Someone. When we pray, we can have absolute confidence that our loving heavenly Father already knows what we're asking and will grant everything we need in the best possible way.

Consider it this way: The father of a ten-year-old girl is stationed for five years in Iraq. He keeps in good contact with his family, and his daughter knows he loves her. Through letters and emails, she begs her father for a car for her birthday. She lists all the reasons she needs a car and how responsible she would be with it. She is convinced that her daddy loves her and she knows he can afford a car, so she gets very excited as her birthday approaches. But when all gifts are opened, there is no car. From her level of understanding, a car was necessary. She could see no reason why her loving dad had denied her this request.

She could become angry and resentful, assuming that he had not heard her request or did not love her. Instead, she trusts in the character of her father and knows that, whether she understands right now or not, he will always do what is best for her. On her 16th birthday, she walks outside to see the car she had longed for. Now she understands why it had taken so long.

That's a little glimpse of the heart of our Father when we pray. We don't understand why He does not feel the same urgency we feel about our requests. But He sees the bigger picture. He knows what He is also doing in our lives at that time that may make it necessary to withhold our request for a season. It is often when we do not receive what we desire that He does His most powerful work in our hearts. He may also be working in the life of someone else that makes it necessary to delay our answer. But one day we will open our eyes to see that answer come true. And then we may understand His timing.

One command repeated throughout scripture is "Wait on the Lord" (Psalm 20:22; 27:14; 130:5; Isaiah 8:17; 40:31; 1 Corinthians 4:5). We need to be instructed to wait, because waiting goes against our human nature. God is not on our timetable. He sees from the beginning to the end all at once (Revelation 1:8; 22:13). We can trust that the God who sees Creation and Revelation at the same time also knows the best timing for our prayers to be answered.

Image Credit: Counselling; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | God-Father  | Hardships

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Published on 6-28-17