When God Says, "Wait" to Your Prayers


Back in 2007, we decided to build an empty nester home. Things were good. Economy was great. Kids were coming off the budget. Instead of updating our home, circumstances seemed right to build. We found some land, a builder, and got a plan. We put our home up for sale in January 2008 and moved ahead with the build. And then..the housing bubble burst. Thus began the “Great Recession”. It took 18 months for our house to sell. You can guess the content of my prayers- “Lord, please sell our house!!!!” 

I am sure many of you can relate to waiting on God’s timing in regards to prayers. Whether it is 2 weeks, 4 months, or years, waiting is hard, especially when we live in a world of instant gratification. We like easy over difficult, deliverance over refinement, and “right now” over endurance. 

But the waiting room God had me in taught me many important lessons. I believe it led me to a more mature prayer life. As I continually brought my request before God, I was forced to think about my priorities, my motives, and even potential consequences of what it would mean for God to answer my prayers. 

I had to wrestle with what was truly important in my life: Why was I in such a panic? Was I worried about my reputation? My family? My finances and my “creature” comforts? Or my relationship with God? This led to conviction and confession on my part as I realized my priorities and motives for wanting our house to sell put my faith and relationship with my Heavenly Father on the back burner. I had to ask for and receive forgiveness for the many ways my choices and responses demonstrated my lack of love and faith and instead showed selfishness. 

I learned a lot about myself during this waiting period. I wasn’t as spiritual as I thought I was. And I had to find ways to trust God when the road ahead was unclear. I spent more time in God’s Word learning about His love for me and how embracing His love was far more important than a million sold homes. I realized I needed to “consider everything a loss compared to the surprising greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:8).

I accepted the fact that this was all going to take awhile to play out. But what are we supposed to be doing while we wait? How should we be praying? Psalm 37 encouraged me, and verse 3 gave me some ideas, namely, keep the faith, do the next thing, do good, and as you wait for future deliverance, live in the present. Finally, keep leaning on God in all humility. 

Another verse that spoke into my life as I prayed and waited was Luke 18:1. Jesus tells us in this verse that He wants us to develop perseverance in prayer. It made me wonder why perseverance in prayer is so important. Is it due to God’s reluctance to bless me? Why does perseverance need to be an essential part of our faith? 

I was reminded of James 1:4 which tells us endurance is necessary for maturity. Romans 5:4 says that without endurance there is no hope. In Matthew 24:13, Jesus emphasizes that endurance is necessary in order to claim victory over evil. 
Eventually, our house did sell, but those 18 months of praying and waiting for God to provide taught me much about myself and about how God works in my life. His answer to my prayers was truly “exceedingly above all that I could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20), and His answers were not what I had expected at all. Praise God! 

What are you waiting on God for? What are you learning about yourself and about God during this time? And finally, what can you thank Him for while you wait?

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