For Patience When Answers to Prayer Are Delayed
When God Says No: Reasons for Unanswered Prayer
Article contributed by Probe Ministries
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1. Sin in our lives.Confess and repent!
The psalmist wrote, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened” (Ps. 66:18). Not that God is unable to hear, for He is omniscient, but that He maintains His distance when we allow sin to be a wall between us.
Major disobedience sets us up for long-term unanswered prayer: When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (l Sam. 8:18)
A loving God is in control!
2. To say yes would bring us harm we don't foresee.
B.M. Palmer in Theology of Prayer, tells of a woman who had spent the summer away from her children, and was quite anxious to get back to them. When she learned that all the rooms on a certain steamer were taken, she wept bitterly.
Because she couldn't get a passage on any other ship, she was detained two weeks in NYC. But the sorrow of being delayed was turned into thanksgiving when, within a few days, she learned that the vessel that denied her passage was buried at the bottom of the Atlantic.
She didn't see the “no” as a wonderful answer to prayer until the whole story unfolded.
A Prayer for Patience While You Wait on the Lord
“Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” – James 5:8 (ESV)
What is Patience?
Patience is the capacity for us to tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. And the Bible has a LOT to say about learning how to be patience – it is a fruit of the Spirit that God strongly desires his children to grow in.
Patience requires endurance. When we are severely pressed, this gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is a product of our cooperative submission to His authority.
Hearts established in God’s Truth grant us the grace it takes to be patient. James 5:8 connects the idea of an established heart and patience when it says, “Be patient.
Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
How to Strengthen Your Heart and Build Patience in the Process
The NASB version of James 5:8 says to “strengthen your hearts.” The Greek word for strengthen is sterizo, meaning to make stable or place firmly. The heart is the center of our being.
God’s Word should be the firm foundation of the heart of our souls. When it is, are prone perspective allows us to be patient.
A habitual commitment to read Scripture is the highest priority to achieve healthy spiritual functionality.We cannot expect to readily flex the spiritual gift of patience when we’ve not worked out our mind in God’s Word. I can’t run a marathon after sitting on the couch and eating ice cream for two years. Nor can I expect to experience the peace and perspective that comes from getting to know God without actively seeking Him.
Though my husband and I have been married for over a decade, we are still learning new things about each other. Every attempt we make to grow closer to God and to each other helps our marriage grow stronger.
My parents have been a part of my entire life, yet I still continue to learn their whole story, and share in a different level of perspective wisdom.
wise, getting to know God’s character strengthens our standards of operation.
Look Up, Not Around, as You Work to Build Patience
When waiting in patience is required, our immediate reaction may be to strive for what we can see or become caught up in actively seeking a solution beyond our scope of vision.
We may find ourselves attempting to pinpoint the cause, or assign blame, for a period of silence that God has assigned.
James 5:9 (ESV) states, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers,” instructing us to instead “resist resentment and retaliation” (NIV Study Bible Notes).
The word “grumble” in Greek isstenazo, meaning a sigh, or to groan. Aiming our angst at other people, or even ourselves, isn’t going to speed up God’s timing or change His purpose for our days… or lives.
On the contrary, it could keep us from enjoying pockets of blessing along the way. Sometimes, we are simply called to sit still in His presence. Instead, we mute God’s answers and turn up the volume of the surrounding crowd.
Even wise voices occasionally yield inaccurate applications and affirmations. But in our rush to keep moving and striving forward, we sometimes fail to check their words with God’s. Instead of sitting in silence with Him long enough for Him lead us, we run towards tangible solutions.
The danger in impatience is the high probability that we will find ourselves in a quick tailspin of bad decisions or sticky situations that could have been avoided. God, in His mercy and compassion for us, will never turn His back and label our life “too late.”Psalm 56:3-4 reminds us, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” When our patience is tested, we can let fear interfere with our attempts to forgive first.
It can tempt us to grab control of something that rightfully belongs to God. “What can measly men do to me?” the Voice paraphrase reads. We, too, are measly men and women.
Our free will doesn’t trump God’s omnipotent hand on the universe and it’s definitive direction.
James 1:3 says that “the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” When we’ve experienced enough life to look back on the ways God has pulled us through, we can rest – even experience – joy in trials.
The endurance we build by spending time with God allows us to obediently submit to the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit in us, including patience.
The Voice paraphrase of James 1:3-4 says, “true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line- mature, complete and wanting nothing.”
A Prayer for Patience
We praise You for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Your alive and active Word, continually sewing our heart together to mirror Your Son, Jesus. Patience isn’t easy, but it also isn’t ours to create in ourselves. Thank You for working in us what we do not have the ability to otherwise.
When injustice smacks into our reality, it’s hard to let You make the first move. When the people in our lives press our aggravation, it’s difficult to submit to the power of the Holy Spirit in us. We want to take control and strive for solutions.
Forgive us for allowing our temperaments to speak first.
Father, You love us perfectly, and promise to defend us. You hear us and are concerned about us. Help us to trust You with our daily skirmishes, and waging wars. Daily, remind us to sit with You and soak in the powerful wisdom available to us in Your Word.Help us to remember Psalm 56 when we are afraid. Periods of waiting often lead us to fear, and fear can chip away at our trust and faith.
Yet, “what can mere mortals do to us?” We can go through nothing that You do not have the ability to pull us through!
Help us to understand the gravity and weight of the words, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.
” (Psalm 56:3) May the Holy Spirit move through us and remove our fear in testing moments of trial, and usher in a renewed faith and trust, just as the reminder of Your Word.
For, “In God, whose Word I praise …I will not be afraid.” Your Word has power when faithfully proclaimed over our situations and fears.
Bless our hearts to be established in Christ, for “the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:8) May we ever be reminded of His sacrifice for us, and the love for us that drove Him there. That same love promises never to leave us, and to provide the patient endurance we need to stand up under trials of patience. None of them will last forever, but eternity with our Savior will.
Praise You, Father!
In Jesus’ Name,
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
A Daily Morning Prayer
A Prayer for a Broken Heart
A Prayer for Worry
A Prayer for First Thing in the Morning
A Prayer for When You Don't Know What to Do
Megs writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org. Her passion is to encourage others to seek Him first.
A stay-at-home mom, freelance writer and blogger, Bible study teacher, and children’s worship team leader, faith in action is an important priority.
She resides in Ohio with her husband of ten years, two dancing daughters, and their Golden-doodle.
Image Credit: ©Thinkstock
Top 7 Bible Verses About Answered Prayer
Here are my top seven Bible verses about prayer or praying.
John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
What does Jesus mean by saying we must abide in Him and only then may we ask whatever we wish? We know enough of the Bible to understand that we must pray according to the will of God. The Greek word used for “abide” is “menō” and this means “to remain” or stay with.
The Apostle John wrote that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) or “tabernacled with us” (Greek “skēnoō”) which reminds me of the tent in the wilderness where God dwelt among His people in the tabernacle.It’s where we get the word “adobe” or “home” or “dwelling” from and the word adobe means “a brick of mud and stray.” These materials closely resemble those used by the Israelites under their Egyptian bondage where they made bricks, but later without straw provided.
The major point is if we abide in Jesus’ words, and that means in the gospels where His words are recorded, but no less than the whole Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, we can ask whatever we wish that is also according to God’s will.
First John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
The Apostle John seemed confident that God would answer our prayers but he added that “if we ask anything according to his will he hears us,” meaning that we can pray for things but if they’re not a part of God’s will, He won’t answer that. In the strictest sense, He will answer it with a “No” or “not yet” or “that’s not my will” so finding out God’s will can help us to receive answered prayer and God’s will is revealed in the Bible. To know God’s will we must know God’s Word.
Psalm 66:19 “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”
The psalmist was completely sure that not only did God listen to his prayer but that He attended to the voice of his prayer, meaning that God answered it. How can we be the psalmist and believe that “truly God has listened?” Again, we must know the will of God in order to pray for His will to be done and to find the will of God you must find a Bible.
1st Samuel 1:27 “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.”
Hannah was so desperate for a child that she would often go to “the doorpost of the temple of the Lord” (1st Sam 1:9b) for she “was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.
And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head” (1st Sam 1:10-11).
Hannah was childless and that was a sign of shame in Israel so imagine Hannah’s joy when she could finally say “prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him” (1st Sam 1:27).
Psalm 118:21 “I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.”
I heard of a man several years ago who was giving thanks for his prayers being answered but the interesting thing was, he gave thanks to God for the answered prayer for the ones that he had just prayed! I thought, how could he know that God had answered them already? Didn’t he have to wait to see how it turned out first? No, because even though this man’s answer was answered immediately received, even with no evidence of it, he understood it could be “No,” “Not yet,” or “I’ve got something better for you.” He trusted the Lord enough to know that God’s “No” is always best for us and it usually so we won’t hurt ourselves or others. No good father would give their child whatever they wanted; a knife for example.
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Jesus taught us to be the man I just wrote about, as far as having believed that he received an answer already.
Jesus doesn’t tell us how long it will take to receive whatever we were praying for but that you simply have to believe it’s been answered.
This is assuming, as we have written before, that this prayer is according to the perfect will of God. Prayer must be for the will of God which means it must for the glory of God.
Psalm 116:1 “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.”
Whether you are in great need or in great suffering, cry out to Him. The psalmist would have believed what Jesus taught in Mark 11. He must have had the confidence of the Apostle John (1st John 4:5).
And the psalmist must have believed my friend did (in the second paragraph above). They all knew that God heard them.
They all knew that God had already answered them, so that kind of attentiveness and benevolence that the Father displayed caused them “love the Lord” a child his father and so it should make us do the same.
Jesus tells all of us to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7). A lot of Christians are not that different from the psalmist because they can both say, “The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer” (Psalm 6:9).
The Apostle John was completely confident about answered prayer (1st John 5:14-15) so do “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6).
Today, many nations are in trouble but God’s promise to Solomon is the same to any nation or people that “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2nd Chron 7:1) however if you aren’t abiding in Jesus’ words on a daily basis, His Word is not abiding in you every day (John 15:1-11).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.
Four possible God´s answers to the right prayer said by the right person II
Peace on you, my dear readers of “Daily word for spiritual strength”!
We have clarified what prayers God answers. Even more, there are four possible answers to our prayers.
Answer N.1 – Immediate answer. Answer Nr.2 – Delayed answer.
Answer Nr.3 – God says «No!» In this case you should be glad with this answer as much as glad you are when God says es”. “No” is the most difficult thing to hear and to pronounce. Some people never accept answer “No” at all. Those who dare say “No” to them become enemies of such people. Sometimes we are not able to accept negative answer from God too.
Apostle Paul wrote in his letter about a thorn in his flesh used by the angel of satan to inflict pain on him.
Paul prayed for three times for removal of it, but God said “No!” Didn´t Paul remain in God and the word of God in him? We know it was so, the word of God abundantly remained in Paul´s life, while Paul was seeking how to fulfil God´s will in everything. In other words, Paul prayed the right way and he was the right person either, although, God rejected his request.
«By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted excessively. Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong..» (2 Cor.12:7-10)
Let me bring this important truth to you: each time God says “No!”, He is trying to create something in your life – something necessary and useful to you. Each time saying “No!” God pours His mercy and peace on you, enabling you to go forward and enjoy your life.
God didn´t remove the thorn from Paul´s life, but granted His mercy to Paul, so God´s power can be revealed in Paul´s weaknesses. That´s why Paul could be happy having received negative answer from God.
God gives us peace, which is higher than any wisdom, peace this world cannot understand. Being persecuted more than any other apostle, Paul was able to rejoice in his weakness, needs, insults, persecutions and repressions for Christ because the mercy of God remained on him all the time. Paul could feel strong in his weaknesses by virtue of the grace of God poured out in his life.
Answer Nr.4 – God´s answer comes in a way, different to what we expected it to be.
God knows better what we need and what is really better for us. Who ever prayed to God for patience? Surely, many of us did.
When we ask God for such thing, we expect patience to come over us from heaven in a blink of an eye without any efforts from our side. In reality God can implement into our life a different way.
When we ask God for patience He often sends sufferings to us. Which one of us expects sufferings when asking God for patience.
The answer is – nobody! Meanwhile, God knows suffering makes us patient. It´s also mentioned in the word of God:
«Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering works perseverance;» (Romans 5:3)
Exactly sufferings are followed by patience or perseverance.
We often ask God to multiply our faith and He s such prayers. Nevertheless, His answer doesn´t meet our quite often. We are asking Him to multiply our faith and He sends a Goliath wehave to fight on our way.
God often sends a huge problem into our life to multiply our faith and to teach us to learn on the God Almighty not our own strength instead. However, we expect a totally different answer from God.
That´s why, received an answer different to one you expected from God, calm down and start praising Him for answering your prayers.Summing up all above, does God answer all our prayers? Sure, He does, He answers all prayers said by the right person according to His will. Rejoice when receive an immediate answer to your prayer.
Do the same when the answer comes with delay, since God wants to make His will complete in your life. Be glad when God says “No” to your request, in this case He fills you with His grace and peace.
Finally, rejoice when His answer differs from one you expected from Him, because everything God does, works for good for you.
«We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.» (Romans 8:28)
Rufus Adjiboye, pastor
Why Does God Wait to Answer Prayer?
Why would God wait to answer our prayers? Wouldn’t we expect that since God is all-powerful that He would answer immediately? What is the purpose for God’s delaying our prayer requests?
Outside of God’s Will
One reason that God may not answer our prayers or that He waits is that we are asking for the wrong thing. We may be asking for something that is not in God’s will for our lives and we might be asking for selfish reasons.
James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”(James 4:3).
For example, if we ask for money and we are not already giving to our local church or we have not been helping the poor, why should God give us more money so that we might spend it on ourselves? Also, we might have the wrong motives in asking for something.
If we ask for a better job, the job that we think would be better may actually be worse than the job we have now. God is sovereign and He knows what is best, and holds our best interests in mind for our future (Jer. 29:11).
In the Lord’s Prayer, we are to ask that His will be done on earth just as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). We know that God’s will for believers is to grow in grace and knowledge, so we can ask for spiritual understanding of His Word just before we read the Bible.
There is confidence in praying when we know His will for out lives as it says in I John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
We must remember to pray with faith.
When we pray, we may have serious doubts about God’s ability or willingness to answer our prayer.
James 12:6-7 indicates that if we pray in doubt, God will not honor our requests saying, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” God may be waiting for us to pray in real faith, in expectation of receiving an answer, or to see if we are serious enough to continue to pray for it.
Sin Stops Prayer From Being Answered
God will not answer the prayer of a believer if they are in a state of perpetual, unrepentant sin (I Pet. 3:12). Psalm 66:18 is clear that “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
“ If we are obedient, He will hear our prayers (John 15:7) but if we are unforgiving, He will refuse our petitions before His altar (Matt. 18:35).
Matthew 5:24 is says that when we fail to forgive others, this is cause for a failed request for His help, “leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
Prayer is Answered in God’s Timing
God also expects us to wait patiently on His perfect timing (Psalm 66:18). In Hebrews 10:36, “For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.
” The minor prophet, Habakkuk speaks for all of us when he grew impatient in waiting for God to answer his request in 1:2, “How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” I can most certainly identify with Habakkuk in his sentiments.
Psalm 37 is a great Psalm to read when you are seeking the desires of your heart with the realization that it may take some time. Read these key verses from Psalm 37 on waiting:
7 “Rest before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not worry when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.“25 “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”
34 “Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.”
Sometimes the desires of our heart take time. They do not happen overnight. God is most often at work when He appears to be the most silent.
Even though Daniel had to wait three weeks before his prayer was answered, God had actually answered his prayer that very day that he prayed.
Don’t think that since God does not immediately reveal to you His answer, that He has not answered it and has not answered it right away.
Daniel had his prayer answered the very same day of his request but it took three weeks for God’s sovereign timing for it to reach him – and it did at exactly the right time, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them”(10:12).
Stories of Waiting For Prayer To Be Answered
Don’t ever give up on praying. God shows us that persistence pays off in Luke 18:1-8, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.
And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused.
But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.
However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” The point of this parable is that if we continue steadfastly in prayer God will honor that persistence. Never give up on praying because God may be waiting to see if it is important enough to us to continue in prayer, day and night, day after day.
I heard the story of a faithful mother who had been praying for 28 years for her son to come to faith in Christ. Year after year her son was rebellious. He abused drugs, was in and jail, and showed no signs of ever knowing Christ.
The days and years dragged on with absolutely no indication that there was anything different in the man‘s life. Then one day, 28 years after his mother first prayed for him, this man came to a saving faith in Christ.
Today this man, Terry Williams, uses his testimony to help other prison inmates find their way to a relationship with the only One Who can save: Jesus Christ.
What if this mother had given up? What if she decided it was not important enough to keep praying each and every day? What a difference this mother made in her steadfast prayers due to her undying love for her son. Today her son is making an eternal difference for others in prison. This was all due to prayer. Even though she had to wait
Another article you might be interested in:
Does God Answer The Prayers of Unbelievers?
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