Delays Are Not Always God's Denials

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Often we pray for things in our work and see God answer our petitions right away. Other times we might wait for years without seeing answers. Our challenge is to learn to wait on God for His answer. It is natural to want to see our prayers answered quickly but we need to allow God time to do His work. Isaiah 5: 18-19 warns, "Woe to those...who say, 'Let God hurry, let Him hasten to do His work so we may see it.'"

Delays are as much a part of the answer to prayer as the final outcome. God is not only interested in the end result but in the process also. When we experience a delay, it is not always that God is denying our request, it is just that His timetable is different from ours. He sees the big picture and knows how others will be affected by our asking. He sees where circumstances need to change. He waits also for the prayers of others. Another reason God often allows us to wait is so He can teach us deeper lessons that we might not learn in any other way.

While the purposes of God sometimes seem delayed, they are never abandoned. As Bible commentator Matthew Henry once wrote: "That which is conceived of the Holy Ghost never proves abortive, but will certainly be brought forth in its season." He also wrote: "Delays of promised mercies, though they exercise our patience, do not weaken God's promise."

The Bible speaks much about persisting in prayer, about praying and not fainting. I sometimes wonder how much Christian work has fallen by the wayside because we did not wait for the accomplishment of what we asked in prayer. Maybe we gave up prematurely and therefore did not receive the reward of our waiting.

Are we waiting right now for God to answer some specific need? If so, then don't lose heart. Keep on praying even without seeing visible results. Thank God for this trial of waiting. This delay is just what is needed to develop the priceless qualities of steadfastness and perseverance...and a disposition that trusts God's heart no matter what.

And the more we know His heart, the less we will question His timing.

Colin Stott
Global Prayer Coordinator

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