Prayer is required for us to have a worthwhile relationship with God. It is also one of the most difficult Christian disciplines to incorporate into our lives. Who has or even wants to set aside ten or fifteen minutes in our day to spend time quietly talking to God? We make sure our days are full. When we have downtime, we relax, watch TV, or play with our smart phones/tablets.
I believe one of the problems we humans have with prayer is at times it seems one way. We spend our time talking, but often not getting answers. We feel like we are just putting words or thoughts out into an empty room. Or we feel that God is too important to listen to anything we have to say. I am sure if God would speak to us like one of our friends on the cellphone, we would be more apt to call Him. But prayer is about faith. We must trust God’s timing and believe He will answer, and His answer will be in our best interest.
Another drawback could be that we feel our prayers go unanswered. God does not always answer prayers in the time frame we would like. Often, we wait and wait for an answer. We are required to have patience and faith which is a tall order when we want an answer NOW.
We are not the only ones to struggle with God’s timing when it comes to answered prayer. The Bible is full of people who had to wait for answers to prayer. For instance, after they married, Isaac and Rebekah were not able to have children for a long time. I am sure she prayed and prayed to God to give she and Isaac a child. When it did not happen, Isaac petitioned God for her. Twenty years after their marriage, God answered their prayers and gave them twin boys. God gave them each a son to love and dote on.
There is power in prayer, especially when more than one person prays about the same thing. I know when I’m going through something difficult or have a decision to make, I call on others to pray along with me. There is nothing any one can do for a fellow believer that is more powerful than praying for/with one another.
God honors our prayers and always hears them. Although, His timing may not be what we would like, it is always perfect. After all, He sees the whole picture that is our life. We only see what we have lived so far and the moment we are in. We may be asking for something we think is good, but down the road could do us harm or interfere with His plan for our lives. In these cases, He may say, “no”. Or He may want to bless us, but makes sure it is at the right time, just when we need that blessing the most.
In both Rebekah and Sarah’s case, they prayed for years for children and got them later in life. It is as though God wanted to make sure that each couple knew that those boys they gave birth to had come from God Himself. Those women waited for children for so long, that they probably never took their sons for granted and had a special love for them that they might not have had if God had blessed them with sons when they were young.
God’s timing in answering our prayer will come at a time when we will have no doubt that it is a “God thing”. While, it is hard for us to wait for God to answer. When the answer comes, pieces of the puzzle will fall into place for us, and the wait will make sense – even if the answer is “no”.
I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, LORD, but please be gentle. Jeremiah 10:23-24a