Have you ever prayed and prayed for God to resolve an issue, only to have to wait and wait and wait?  I wonder what it was like for Sarah who prayed for a child, not a nation; just one child and she had to wait twenty five years. Even though she was forced to wait, it was hard. Remember, she took the lead and told her husband to try and have a child by Hagar; when God came and renewed the promise she laughed because by this time it was impossible for her to conceive based on human terms (Genesis 17:12). Not only did Sarah laugh, but her husband laughed also when God renewed His promise (Genesis 17:17). God teaches us that answered prayer is a direct correlation to a plan for our lives.

Waiting on God when we pray is not what we want, but it seems like this is what He believes we need. For instance, when talking about our needs in Luke 12:22-32 He states, “But seek His kingdom and these things will be added to you as well.” When God states “He would grant us according to His riches” in John 15:7, it is after He first says “abide in Me.” Even when God directs us to pray with boldness He says “….ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you.” (Luke 11:9) It does not say when He plans to do any of this. Even when it comes to anxiety He says He provides to us peace but He does not say it comes immediately.  (Philippians 4:4-7)

Just as in the case of Sarah, God challenges us to come to Him since He loves us and has the power and desire to help us. Coming to Him with our request means that we acknowledge that He is the only one who has the power and love to resolve the issues we face. When this process is accepted it becomes a constant reminder of the very nature of what the word “prayer” means. It means that we recognized His supremacy and our dependence on Him for everything. This is clearly seen with everyone in the Bible. No matter how powerful, rich, or how strong they were, “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Praying is an act of faith.

The purpose of praying and waiting is learning to trust God so that an unanswered prayer is growing to know God and His plans for our lives. “…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6). “The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)  Waiting and trusting is the answer to unanswered prayer. (Proverbs 30:5-6)