Read: Colossians 4:2 |
How long should we wait patiently for God to answer our prayers? I mean really, what is a reasonable time?
No matter how pressing our burden or fervent our prayer, we lack insight into the mind of God with respect to His timing. As days turn into weeks, while we ponder whether God’s timing will match our expectations, our faith continues to give evidence to what we wait to see. (Hebrews 11:1)
God’s timing is first “God’s”, and not “ours”. God answers our prayers when He determines the time to be ripe. At this point, His plan comes into fruition. If God’s answer is “Yes” or “Wait”, He can answer a prayer within moments or minutes or many moons – “moments in time”. Alternately, at His choosing, he may also answer our prayers outside our lifetime.
Moment in Time
Moses’s mother, Jochebed, was looking for a quick answer to her implicit prayer to keep her son alive. As you may recall the Bible story, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt commanded that all newborn Hebrew boys were to be thrown into the Nile river to drown (Exodus 1:22). He devised this draconian order because he had grown to fear the large number of Hebrews in Egypt. Helpless, the oppressed Hebrew nation prayed earnestly to God for deliverance.
Jochebed hid Moses from Pharaoh for 3 months. Eventually, Jochebed instructed her daughter, Miriam, to place the infant in a basket and hide him among the reeds of the Nile River. God answered her internal prayer in a four-fold fashion.
He answered her immediate prayer for the safety of her son. Secondly, He provided a secure household by sending Pharaoh’s daughter to find him. Thirdly, He provided for him to be raised by his mother. God moved the daughter of Pharaoh’s heart to ask Miriam to find a Hebrew woman to raise and nurture him, with pay. Finally, God began growing and grooming Moses to be the answer for the collective prayers of the Hebrew nation.
Given a choice, we would all opt for God to answer every prayer “right away”. In my life, looking back I can see why He did not answer some prayers right away.
Frankly, I was not ready for the answer. I actually needed time to discover, develop and grow demonstratively to the point that I was ready for God’s answer. Consequently, based on my “waiting” experiences, I have learned to try harder to be content in the state I am in (Philippians 4:10-13). By and by, what God has for me, will surely come to pass.
Sometimes the “Wait” answer can stretch across generations. The Hebrew people under oppression by Pharaoh prayed for generations and generations for deliverance (Exodus 2:23-25). They were asking God to answer His promise to bring them out of Egypt (Genesis 15:15; 46:3,4).
Up until Moses stood before Pharaoh saying, “Let me people Go!”, they were not sure when God would answer their prayers (Exodus 5:1). Our challenge like theirs is to wait patiently on his timing.
Is a lifetime too long to wait on God?
No one wants to experience praying for an issue for a lifetime. Nevertheless, we have the assurance that our prayers never die. E.M. Bounds said, “Prayers are deathless and outlive the lives of those who uttered them.” (Revelations 5:8; 8:3, Genesis 30:22, Psalms 34:15)
In Psalm 90:4, Moses used a simple yet profound analogy in describing the timelessness of God: “For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”
Trust God, even if he uses a lifetime or more to answer our prayers. Who knows, God may be raising a Moses as an answer to our prayer request, even now.
Cotton Mather prayed several hours a day for 20 years for revival. It came (the Great Awakening) the year after his death.
– Source Unknown
A. What prayer(s) did God answer quicker than you imagined?
B. What prayer(s) did God answer slower than you expected? How did the situation turn out?
A. Do you track your prayers and the answers in a Prayer Journal? If not, begin tracking your prayers in a Prayer Journal.
B. Do you let others know that you praying for an issue, or do you keep it to yourself? What type of issues do you share? Do the prayer result vary when you have multiple people praying with you?
A. For your unanswered prayers, how are you preparing yourself for God to answer the prayer? Are you doing anything else besides “praying”?
B. God has an “Always on time guarantee”. Share a testimony with a prayer partner of how God met a big need in your life.
William Wilberforce fought for 55 years to abolish slavery in England and the British Empire. It came as he lay on his deathbed.
– Source Unknown