When we come face to face with our unanswered prayers, wondering why God does not answer our prayers quickly enough, we cannot give up or get into self-pity. Nor can we build a mindset around trying to figure out how to get our prayers answered faster or how we can fulfill our God-given dreams and destiny.
We may be tempted to repent of this or sow money to that, thinking this will bring our desired outcome. Other times we strive and strive to be the perfect Christian, thinking our prayers are not answered because we have done something wrong. These are good things, but God doesn’t want our performance or perfection; He wants our hearts and His perfect will and timing in our lives.
More than an answered prayer, Father God desires to develop a deeper relationship with us. He has our best interests at heart, and wants to grow us in patience and increase our faith. If the Lord always answered instantly, how would we grow in trusting Him?
Especially in Western culture, we tend to have a sort of “microwave mentality” of wanting things now and wanting it our way. As believers, we must renew our minds in God’s Word and fight against the influence of this attitude toward life. Even in the Bible, the Lord provides us with examples of those who waited, and waited, and waited still more:
- Noah waited, building the ark for 120 years before the Flood actually came.
- Abraham waited, for God to enable he and his wife to have a son and heir to the covenant promise.
- Joseph waited, sold into slavery, falsely accused and sent to prison before his rise as a leader.
- Job waited, for deliverance from the devil’s oppressive attacks upon his life and family.
- Moses waited, even moving ahead of God’s timing before the time to come forth as deliverer for God’s people.
- David waited, longing to establish a resting place for God which his son Solomon would actually build.
The people we read about in the Old Testament did not even live long enough to see Jesus’ first coming and all the people of God coming together into the New Covenant made by Jesus’ blood. Nonetheless, they remained faithful to God in the waiting and He counted it as faith. You can read more about these fathers and mothers of our faith in Hebrews 11.
In the waiting, staying in fellowship with God and His Holy Spirit is of the greatest importance. If we focus on Jesus, all His plans for our lives will much more easily come to pass. If we focus too much on the other things, we may miss God’s presence in the details of our lives. If we allow impatience to sway us, we could even step out of God’s timing as we seek to walk out our callings.
Only our personal relationship with God can truly fulfill all the longings of our hearts, even more than the answer to our deepest heart cries or the solution for our neediest prayers. Even the fulfillment of our entire destiny will not satisfy like pursuing intimacy with God.
Continue to pursue intimacy with the Lord above all else as you wait on Him. Remind yourself that it is in the waiting where we grow in closeness with Him. He even promises that those who wait on Him will have their strength increased and not be disappointed (Isaiah 40:31; 49:23).
Even when things do not happen in our timing, we must feed continually on God’s faithfulness. He is never late. He is just doing a work within our hearts and emotions, that we grow in selfless love and the fruit of His Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, self-control, goodness and gentleness). He is creating a testimony of faithfulness through which He wants to display His love and glory.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:8-10 (NKJV)