“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” I John 5:14 (NIV)
Yesterday we talked about how everyone’s spiritual journey is on its own timetable. Today I want to talk about another area of timing when it comes to spiritual issues. Answered prayers.
In my own life, I’ve had prayers that have seemingly been answered overnight while others have taken years before I’ve seen God say “yes” or “no”. Others…I’m still waiting for the answer to occur while walking in faith that God hears and is working behind the scenes.
Sometimes I get discouraged when I pray for days, months, or years about a request that is heavy on my heart. It could be friends and family who haven’t made a decision to have a personal relationship with Christ, sickness that has worn down those I love, or fear, addictions, or financial problems that have held others in bondage.
However, then I remember just because I don’t see the answer right away, it doesn’t mean there isn’t progress. All the above requests I prayed for line up with God’s Word. He is a loving Father who doesn’t want any of His children to go to hell. God isn’t a God of sickness, disease, addiction, fear, or financial hardships. He is the God of freedom from disease, the God of peace, faith, and provisions. However, God knows people have to reach a certain point before they are ready to hear and receive the help He offers – either for their eternal salvation or problems they will face here on earth.
So, when prayers seem to take much longer being answered, I can be assured that God is working behind the scenes, orchestrating events in the lives of those I love, myself included, to draw us closer to Him and the best answer to that heart-felt prayer. Most of the time, I see that my prayer, while full of only the best intentions, isn’t the best solution. What God ends up answering is far better than anything I could have envisioned or asked for myself. Other times, He does answer my prayer but it took longer than expected because God was doing much more than answering what I asked – He wanted complete healing for my loved one, not just a quick fix.
Next time you get discouraged and think your prayers aren’t being answered, remember that God works behind the scenes. He has far more patience, and love, than we do for our family and friends and wants the best for them, on a much bigger scale. They are His children just as we are. However, God does allow free will so He isn’t going to force someone to choose the answer He wants. He will patiently guide, bring others into our lives (or the lives of those we’re praying for) and allow situations that will help draw each of us toward the best answer, but He will never force Himself on us or others. He is forever the gentleman.
I want to encourage you to never stop praying and bringing your burdens before God, in faith, knowing that He hears and answers. And, take it from me. Whether you’ve prayed for an answer for six months or six years, when the answer finally comes, you quickly forget about the time in between and just praise God for the answered prayer. Because in reality, it didn’t take that long after all.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014