The gap between a prayer and an answer

The gap between a prayer and an answer

WAITING…

It’s a skill not many of us of have mastered.  Whether we are standing in line at the grocery store, sitting at a red light, or expecting a phone call, it is easy to become impatient.  From fast food to fast-speed Internet, the marketplace is flooded with products that promise quick solutions to our needs and wants.  While there is nothing wrong with finding efficient methods for accomplishing tasks, we need to be mindful that not everything in life will happen within an automatic time frame.

I have found some of the hardest things to wait for in life are answers to prayers.  It could be a prayer for a job, a relationship, healing, or financial provision.   In that time of waiting we may think that God has forgotten us.  We may feel discouraged, defeated, and unsure of what the future holds.  However, as we live in that gap between the prayer and the answer, God does an amazing work within our heart.

One of the areas of faith He grows and stretches in us as we wait is trust.  Proverbs 3:5 encourages us to trust in the LORD with all our heart.   A key word in this scripture is ALL.  It is easy to trust with some of our heart in selected areas of life where we have seen breakthrough and answered prayer.  It is much harder to trust when we see no immediate answer and we are doing all we know how to do in order to get results.

In those times of waiting and learning to trust, we have an important choice.  It’s a decision that will make the difference between living in freedom and joy every day or living in defeat and discouragement.  We can either…

A) Fix our eyes on the problem and the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

OR

B) Fix our eyes on the LORD and the victory that is surely to come.

The first choice leads down a path of frustration, confusion, and discontentment.  The second choice leads down a path of joy, peace, and appreciation for who God is and what He has done.

So how do we practically make this second choice when we are filled with frustration as we wait?  The answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks to God in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1. Be joyful always. It’s easy to let our circumstances dictate our emotions.  If things are going well, we feel good.  If things are going poorly, we feel bad.  However, God’s will for us is to live out of a place of joy no matter what circumstances we are facing.  We serve a God who is joyful and we can access His joy every single day.  While it’s admittedly not always easy to make the choice to be joyful, it is possible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

2. Pray continually. It is also easy in the time of waiting to become discouraged and stop praying.  However, in James 5:16 we are reminded that our prayers are “powerful and effective”.  Despite our circumstances, God is listening and He desires us to seek after Him.  Constant prayer keeps the lines of communication open with the LORD and helps our hearts remain expectant.

3. Give thanks. Giving thanks to the LORD is absolutely vital to the health of our hearts as believers.  We need to remember to give thanks to the God for what he has done in the past, what He is doing right now in our lives, and what He is going to do.   Thankfulness is a powerful tool that helps us remember the goodness of God.

If you find yourself today in that space between the prayer and the answer, remember we serve a victorious God.  Just because you can’t see the victory now doesn’t mean it’s not on the way.  Truly our God is a loving Father working on our behalf to bring about the best possible outcome.  He knows what we need even more than we do.  Today, as we wait, let’s commit to putting our trust in Him with ALL our heart.

– Laura Montgomery

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