When you were a kid, did you ever ask for something, just one special thing, so desperately every Christmas and birthday?
Practically every year until I left for college, I’d make a list (because “list-maker” may as well be my middle name) of what I wanted for my birthday. At the top of that list, without fail, I always begged for a dog.
The eternal optimist in me wouldn’t give up–someday, my parents would crack, I just knew it.
That’s how I imagine God wants us to be with our prayers. He wants us, His children, to ask fervently of Him with childlike hope.
He longs to be the Father we come to with every want and need, not so that He’ll grant each request and spoil us rotten, mind you. But so that we learn to rely on Him–expecting wonderful things from Him.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:3-4 (ESV) “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Like children, newbies in Christ have zealous, innocent faith.
Somehow, though, somewhere down the line, the enemy, or the cares of life, or whatever, often diminishes that hopeful glow and undying belief in many of us.
Sometimes, worn-out Christian pilgrims become discouraged because answers aren’t always forthcoming and trials and setbacks of the mortal kind dampen the delight of waiting on the Lord.
This desire slowly turns into a mere, weak wish–a faint whisper or dull ache of the heart–instead of a boldly spoken petition.
Of course, our omniscient Lord hears even the slightest sigh of a soul and knows its cause. Still, He wants us to keep asking, knocking on His door at all hours of the day and night.
Luke 11:9 (KJV) leaves no room for doubt, no maybes or conditions: “…Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Answers to requests may not seem immediate because often He, Himself, is the answer, not what we think is supposed to satisfy our situations.
Sometimes God just wants us to learn that character is built in the expecting stage of prayer. Sometimes He wants us to discover how badly we really want something.
How serious are we? How desperately do we want what we ask for and how long are we willing to wait for it?
The answer should be “indefinitely”–as long as it takes.
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord,” Psalm 27:14 (KJV).
Whatever the lesson, the equation is the same: Keep trusting and never stop asking.
Consistency is key.
Even if you’ve prayed about it before, there’s never a limit on how many times you can talk to God about a specific request.
Maybe I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I’ll say it again anyway: He doesn’t get tired of hearing from us, ever.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise,” Hebrews 10:36 (KJV).
This scripture states there is an action that goes with having patience: doing the will of God in the meantime.
We’ve all heard the phrase “patience is a virtue.”
But many of us confuse the term of waiting on God with twiddling our thumbs and literally waiting for an answer to come before we do anything at all. When really, we simply need to set our inquiries constantly (daily) at His feet, with neutral, humble hearts, and continue on with life.
That’s when faith steps in and holds to the promise that He will follow through, some day, some way or another.
There’s no need then to try to get ahead of God’s plan.
Abraham can speak for that last part. God promised him a son, but after growing impatient for it to happen with Sarah, his wife, he decided God must have meant this child was to come from Haggai, the maid.
As most of us know, that son, Ishmael, was not the one God had promised would make Abraham the Father of Many Nations, and this mistake definitely threw a wrench into the Israelites’ future.
Moral of the story: It’s OK to be pushy and persistent with God when it comes to our prayers, but not when it comes to our agendas.
When we grow impatient and jump ahead of schedule, trying to make things happen our own way, plans are pretty much bound to go haywire.
So, whatever you’ve had on your heart; whatever you’ve already spoken to the Lord about; whatever you have been desperately searching for answers to, no matter how long it’s been since you first asked, just remember to hold on to His promise that He answers all of our requests and provides for all of our needs as He knows best.
“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:25-26, KJV).