When we pray, most of us are seeking something from God. We want answers to our prayers (and, mostly, we want those answers to be “Yes!”). But God doesn’t always grant our requests. In fact, much of the time, even our “Yes” answers only come after quite a lengthy season of waiting and praying. Why is that?
It has to do with the fact that prayer is tied so closely to faith – and we no longer need faith for something when our prayers are answered.
A quick reading of the “faith chapter” (Hebrews 11) gives us some really important information… God is keenly interested in our faith in Him. More so than in being our great “Genie in the sky” that only exists to grant us our wishes. If God were to grant us an immediate “yes” to all our prayers, then we would end up like most children who get everything they ever want in life… selfish and spoiled.
God is not interested in raising self-centered children… He is seeking to raise children who reflect His character and His heart. But to become what God seeks in us requires one very essential thing… being in God’s Presence… a lot!
That is why we are admonished, in Scripture, to “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17) We actually need to intentionally (and constantly) place ourselves in God’s Presence (We will talk about how to do this, tomorrow!).
The point of prayer is to express our trust in God, in faith. And faith requires a constancy. It requires perseverance. It requires a continual resolve to stay engaged until the assurance of God’s answer comes. It requires us to… wait upon the Lord.
Most of us loathe waiting. Especially in our day and age when we can have just about anything we want at a moment’s notice. Waiting is virtually unnecessary…
Unless we want to grow in our relationship with God.
One of most people’s favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31… where Isaiah talks about renewing our strength, and about soaring like eagles, and about running and not being weary, and about walking and not fainting.
All of these are glorious promises that come from our God. But we so often neglect the qualifier – the one thing required to ensure that all of those promises of God intersect in our lives.
The qualifier? “They who wait upon the Lord..!”
A real faith must be tested – and there is no greater test for faith than patience. Waiting upon God. Trusting in God. Relying on God. Through every circumstance. In every trial. Even in the darkness of our confusion. God is there. God is with us. And our relentless trust in His faithfulness matters more than we can ever know.
In fact, if you really study Hebrews 11, you come to the understanding that nothing is more important to God than our faith in Him. And nothing pleases Him more than when our trust in Him remains undaunted and undeterred.
This is so true that we are reminded that: “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly (unrelentingly) seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Any meaningful talk about prayer must bring us to the understanding that, at the heart of prayer, is God… being God — and understanding the importance of allowing Him to be God at the time He so desires.