How long, O Lord, how long?
I've heard it said that I shouldn't pray for patience. "Why?" you ask. Some might think that if we ask for patience we are asking for a trial through which we will need patience to endure.
I don't think the Lord works that way:
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him." (Lamentations 3:25)
I do hope in the Lord, but lately I've been finding myself praying, just like David did, "How long, O Lord?" You too?
God desperately wants us to call on His holy name. He will not force himself into our lives and circumstances. He is at the ready. All we have to do is ASK. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that God often doesn't answer in our time frame or in the way we might expect. He's got the bigger picture in mind.
I prayed for many years for a husband who would love me and cherish me in the way that Jesus loved His bride, the church. I guess you could say that's a high standard, but that is the model we are given for marriage. I will not kid you and say that I was blameless in the dream not becoming a reality. I'm not. I just knew that I wanted the tender, undivided love of a good man and I couldn't make it happen.
We can pray for years - seeking and knocking at God's door, days on end, and the door still stays shut and locked. We get duped, by the enemy, into thinking that God doesn't hear or care and that He's not working behind the scenes.
I have learned a few key lessons about God's answer to our query of, "How Long, O Lord?"
1. Too often our prayer is outcome or result focused instead of being God focused. I prayed for a particular outcome instead of praying for my relationship with the Lord to be enhanced and HIS will be done. Seek HIM first and all the rest will be added unto you.
2. Instead of trying to help God along in answering my prayer, I need to get out of His way. My job is to abide in the Lord. It's not a work that I will do, but one that God will orchestrate. My job is to abide and wait patiently for what HE is about to perform.
3. Waiting patiently on the Lord is not a passive or easy process. When I thought of waiting patiently, I envisioned sitting with no angst, gazing out the window. Waiting patiently, however, is about actively seeking the Lord while we wait on His answer. I need to be in His Word, seeking His presence, and turning to Him in prayer. That's active waiting.
4. Remember that perseverance through trials produces character, character produces hope, and hope never disappoints. I can look back on the trials through which I've persevered and I can see just how God came through for me and with me. Now, looking back on my persevering journey gives me courage and trust that I can face whatever comes my way as long as God and I are in it together.
5. I need to thank God, in advance, for what He is going to do. I've gotten better at this new way, for me, of praying. I KNOW God will answer when I call on Him, therefore, I need to thank Him in advance for the good way in which He will answer. Meanwhile, I lean on His grace which will be sufficient.
God DID answer my prayer, that I mentioned above, and He did so in a time and way that I could have never imagined. His timing is perfect. Great is His faithfulness!
I don't know how long it will be until God answers my prayers for today. I have personal prayers and prayers for my country and world. I know that I need others praying for me and others praying with me. God answers when His people pray and He gives us Biblical examples of what can happen when His people are persistent in their prayers. Let's pray together and watch God show up in a big way!
Dear Heavenly Father, the prayers of my heart are so many. I wonder how long it will be until they are answered? Give me a heart that seeks your precepts and your presence. Let my focus be on you before it seeks outcomes. Let me get out of your way so that you can work and let me wait patiently - actively leaning into you. I know you are building my character in the persevering and in good time your sovereign plan will be made known. I thank you in advance as I abide in you, knowing full well that your answer will be filled with your lovingkindness. May I be a vessel that encourages others to call on your name. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
What about you? Are you asking, "How long, O Lord?" If so, what enables you to keep hanging on? Would you share YOUR struggle and your hope so that we may be encouraged together? Do you believe God will answer even if He is silent? I'd love to hear your insights...
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