When we pray we are usually asking God to provide for some material, emotional, spiritual, or physical need. It is natural and easy to become anxious and not wait in quietness for the fulfillment of our prayer request. At such times we can become impatient. However, we must learn to wait on God in prayer.
True waiting on God in prayer is not limited to persevering in prayer in order to get what we desire or what God has promised. The element of waiting on God in restful faith is certainly an important part of persevering prayer. However, true waiting in prayer is something much deeper. It is something related to deepening one’s relationship with God, not simply waiting for Him to give us the things we are praying for.
New Christians mainly set their hearts on seeking the blessings and gifts God promises to give if they pray for them. God uses the basic needs we long for and pray about to draw us closer to Him. His desire is to give Himself to us so we can experience Him and His goodness. Often He withholds giving us what we ask for in order to draw us closer to Him.
When this happens, our waiting in prayer becomes a worship experience with God. We begin focusing more and more on His goodness, and we grow in trusting His faithfulness. When we begin experiencing such deep encounters with God Himself during our waiting times in prayer, we will begin to desire more time in waiting day by day. Our prayer times will become less and less motivated by our needs, and more and more motivated to wait with God in prayer in order to experience Him. Then we begin to experience the idea of praying without ceasing, which Paul referred to in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Thus, we will also develop within us the ability to “rejoice always” (1 Thess. 5:16).
In this process of waiting with God in prayer, we will develop the attitude of waiting on God as we go about our daily activities. We will grow in our utter dependence on Him in everything, and we will seek to be intimately connected with God on a daily basis. With this continual dependence comes deep peace of heart and mind. All worry and anxiety are dissolved and the present or future do not concern us or cause us stress.
This kind of waiting on God in prayer takes time to develop. Many things can get in the way of our waiting time with God. We can study and read the teachings of Christian authors to the neglect of true waiting on God. We can allow our work or our ministry to separate us from the intimate relationship with Him such waiting brings.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him” (Lam. 3:25).
When we wait on God in this manner, we experience His goodness—we experience God Himself. This kind of experience with God comes only by waiting on Him in prayer. It is also an essential element of coming to know God intimately, which is at the heart of our salvation relationship with Him.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
The more we develop this kind of relationship with God, the more unshakeable we will become in our faith and faithfulness to God. Also, we will experience more quietness and deep peace in our soul. Anxiety, worry, and fear will be gone. This experience will bring us great strength in the Lord, which is necessary for all to have who are ready to meet Jesus when He returns.
Personal Reflection and Discussion
1. What does it mean to wait on God in prayer?
2. What is God’s purpose in delaying an answer to our prayer?
3. What does waiting on God in prayer do for our relationship with God?
4. Why must those who are ready to meet Jesus learn to wait on God in prayer?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. Pray for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. Pray for God to revive you and His church.
3. Pray for God to teach you how to wait on Him in prayer.
4. Pray for the individuals on your prayer list.
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”