By Pastor Jason Paul
When you pray, the Lord will answer your prayer in a few different ways. The Lord will answer your prayer with a Yes, No, or Wait. We like when the Lord answers a yes, and we can accept his answer when it is a no. But when he answers with a wait-and-see, that response can sometimes be complicated for us to digest.
I am not very patient when it comes to the answer of wait. In the past, I tried to make things happen independently apart for God when what I was waiting for did not occur promptly. Every single time the result does not match up with my intentions. We live in an instant environment, and we can get instant coffee or watch a movie with one click of a button, instant music and news on our devices, and even instant delivery from Amazon.
When I was younger, I had to wait and save money to purchase a new vehicle or get the latest video game or music CD. I would offer a request to my parents, and they would tell me to save up and wait until I could obtain what I wanted. Once I had enough allowance saved, my parents would answer my request and take me to purchase what I had been waiting for. I did not grow up in a generation that got instant everything like my daughters are today. My girls think they can get instant everything, but just like my parents, we tell them they must wait.
When the Disciples once asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus did just that. It is recorded in Scripture as the Lord’s prayer. After the short prayer, Jesus continued to illustrate to them God’s response to a prayerful need.
Luke 11:5-13 New Living Translation
Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So, if you, sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
This illustration shows a fervent forward progression with prayer. Jesus tells us to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking, and if your prayer is aligned with God’s will for your life, then your prayers will be answered in the affirmative. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results (James 5:16).
After prayer comes waiting for an answer or until God fulfills the response he has already given you. I think of King David from Israel, and the time he waited out God’s answer. When David was a young man, a prophet named Samuel came to David’s family farm on a mission sent by God to anoint a new king of Israel. However, one problem was that Saul was still king, and David would have to wait until his time had come. David waited patiently for 15 years before he became king, and what a long time to wait.
Throughout this waiting period, David would be obedient to God and faced many challenges on the journey. Even at one point, David had the opportunity to remove Saul from his position and take over as king but decided it was the best course of action to wait on the Lord. Ultimately the wait paid off as David waited for the Lord’s timing to come through.
Maybe you are in this place of waiting for the Lord’s timing to come through. I know that I am at this place of waiting on the Lord to fulfill his mission for my life’s work to serve him in more significant measure. The hard part for me is what steps I should take, if any, as I wait.
As we wait, fervent prayer for guidance comes in. As I wait, I am learning that I need to have a more profound dependence on God and trust in his direction. I need to pray more fervently by seeking, asking, and knocking on the Lord’s door, requesting his guidance, and the patience to wait. While David was waiting patiently for the Lord, he wrote Psalm 27. Psalm 27 is where David engages the Lord in prayer where David is praying to help him balance the ups and downs of life. Listen to his words.
The LORD is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. The one thing I ask of the LORD— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music. Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
In David’s prayer from Psalm 27, we get to learn David’s three responses to the Lord as he waits. First, we see that David knows one thing he asks and seeks in verse 4. David said, “The one thing I ask of the LORD— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” David viewed everything else that was going on in his life secondary to seeking daily after God.
The second thing we can see is David’s fervent prayer in verses 7-8. Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” When the Lord answered David’s fervent prayer, David responded in total obedience.
Then finally, we see David’s response to God as he waits for him to work in verses 13-14. Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
As we wait for the Lord to move, let us be like David and respond. Let’s face it, waiting is hard. But when we know that God has better things planned for us, we can place our trust in the one who always fulfills his word and promises. God is faithful to his word, and his timing is perfect. Let us “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”