I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word, I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. — Psalm 130:5–6
How many times have we prayed for an answer to prayer only to get silence? Nothing. Not even a peep from the Lord. Did he hear us? Did we pray wrong?
What do we do? Do we proceed anyway with the action or decision we were praying about? Or do we continue to wait until we hear from God?
That is the ultimate question we have. And like The Clash, we are asking, “Should I stay, or should I go?” The debate makes us anxious, acting in haste, or it can lead to fear and inaction, labeling us as lacking faith. So, which is the right path to take?
There are two keywords above that give us clues to the correct course. I am sure you see them. Yep. ‘Anxious’ and ‘Fear.’ These two emotions should have no place near our decision-making process. Philippians 4:6-7 says,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
These verses address both our keywords. Don’t be anxious. And the peace that will overcome fear. It also addresses how we continue to overcome that anxiety and fear. But, yes, that puts us back at square one; Prayer.
So, what is the answer to unanswered prayer? Heh. Yeah. More prayer. The key to it is persistence. It means do not give up on God. Really listen to our opening verse. In fact, let’s dissect it a bit.
I waited for the Lord. – When we pray, we are going to wait. It’s usually a given. Unless you are Moses and slapping your staff on the Nile, prayer is not answered immediately.
My whole being waits. – Not just part of you. This is important. It’s not just your mind. But your heart. Your actions. Your thoughts. Your plans. Your words. Everything. It also means that you don’t do anything to try and force your prayer to happen. You do nothing to try and manipulate the answer to go your way. UH-OH. I am way too guilty of this. I have far too many times tried to force God’s hand to get the answer to prayer in the way I wanted instead of waiting for the answer He wanted. This usually happens the longer I had to wait for the answer. Are you guilty too? Am I alone?
And in His Word, I put my hope. – We will trust that God has led us in the past, and His silence now is only temporary. It is more than that, though. It is about where He leads us will be best for us. We won’t second guess his direction. Once we get the answer to our prayer, will we follow where He leads us?
Finally, waiting does not mean he does not love us. Waiting does not mean we are in sin, and we have to shape up to get our answers. True, sometimes it does, and we have to pray for God to reveal if there is unconfessed sin blocking our communication. If this is the case, confess that sin and get back on track. But sometimes, it could be a timing issue. Just look at Abraham. He waited decades before his prayers were answered.
You may say, Abraham??? That was so long ago, C’mon, Jeff. Give me a real world example. Well, take me. I prayed for years for the chance to use my gift of writing. It seemed to me that God was silent. Now here I am using that gift. There is no telling how long God will take when he places something in your lap to pray about. When he does, continue to pray fervently. Never give up on it. Even through the silence. Your answer will come.
Prayer doesn’t just have to be about gifts or promises God gives. It could be about other answers you are seeking, perhaps direction or healing. The point is God answers prayer. So, continue to pray, pray without ceasing, because:
“the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16