“But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” - James 1:6 paraphrased.
There are many reasons why we pray.
We pray for our children, for our spouses, for our families, and for our churches. We pray for our workplaces, for our cities, for our nations, and we pray for ourselves.
We pray because we desire to see a change.
Sometimes trials and tragedies force us to our knees to pray. We pray when we are harassed by adversities and afflictions. Our righteousness does not shield us from the trials of life.
When we pray, often we do not get immediate answers to our prayers: there seems to be no instant change in the situation. God does not always give the response we expect or the answer on our timetable. God answers our prayers in His own time and His timing is different from ours. He does His things with due process.
The answer to our prayers may appear to take a longtime in coming but we must live each day in anticipation of the answers to our prayers.
When we pray, do we really prepare for the answer to come?
Do we have an expectation of God’s power to move on our behalf?
How is this reflected in what we say and do?
Waiting in Faith (Believing)
Faith demands that we wait for God's time. Waiting is an essential part of faith. Waiting for God is an authentic reality of faith. When you’ve had to pray for the same thing year after year you know the quiet resignation that can creep into your faith.
Do we pray because we believe God will fulfill His promises or do we just mindlessly make petitions before God without an expectation?
We must believe, and behave as if we believe, that God is able to use our prayers to bring about a transformation in that situation and that He is already working behind the scenes in ways beyond our imaginations to bring His purpose to pass.
It takes faith to live in anticipation of a change but your faith can not go beyond the knowledge of the word of God concerning what you are praying about.
Waiting with Praise
Complaining, grumbling and whining delays the answer to our prayers. We must be grateful that God is able and willing to answer prayers. We can deliberately hunt for blessings in that situation to give praise to God for while we are waiting.
Guard Your Tongue
What are you saying about the situation you are praying about at personal, family and national level?
Does your comment reflect hope, expectation and anticipation of a change in the life of person or people you are praying for? Or does it reflect a bleak future?
Do your words connote hopelessness or are you inspiring hope with your comments?
Are you laying a heavy cloak of despair on those who listen to you or lifting up their hearts with words of encouragement?
Sometimes our posture, words and actions after praying often implies that we do not understand the power of prayer and the might of the One Who answers prayers. It may be necessary to keep silent at times so that we do not say things that will negate our prayers or find something positive to hook our hope on instead of sinking in the quagmire of hopelessness and negativity. We can make a conscious effort to speak with hope while waiting for a change.
The changes we desire to see in our nations will not come with the depth of our analysis of the problems in the country. It will come only when we pray in faith, believing that God has the power to make a change starting with each of us and when each individual, in the sphere of influence God has given us, live a righteous life in integrity, pursuing excellence and serving as unto God—doing what is right by God’s standard.
Though we do not understand the reason why God makes us wait for answers to prayers we do know that He is working out His purpose during our waiting period. We grow in faith and become stronger in our time of waiting if we wait well. Waiting well requires us to be cautious, mindful and watchful over what we say, what pronouncement we make even in the name of analyzing or calling attention to the gravity of the problem.
There is only One Who can bring about a change. He is the only One Who can touch hardened hearts and make it responsive and sensitive to His touch and malleable to His will.
What do I know about waiting?
At a personal level, I wait in hope to see the physical manifestation of my healing – It has been over 10 years of waiting but I have many testimonies of God acting on my behalf in this situation.
Beyond me, I wait to see changes in the lives and circumstances of families and friends I am praying for, and I wait to see my country become a praise among nations.
I have also learnt to consciously seek to see something to give praise to God for everyday and most times I don’t have to try hard, they are right there staring at me.
God delights in our prayers. He hears every prayer we utter in faith and He answers them in His own way and in His own time. When we pray, we must believe that God will answer. Our words and actions should reflect this expectation.
What are you doing to keep hope alive while waiting for answers to your prayers?
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I share with you Lifeline by Mandisa