I think we have all had those times when we feel like we are praying and asking God for something and it feels like radio silence on the other end. Some prayers are things I can afford to wait on, but some prayers feel more desperately urgent and waiting on an answer for longer than a day or a week feels like torture.
I figure I’m not alone in this, so I thought it might be helpful to share with you what I’ve learned in the waiting about how to keep moving forward when I feel like I’m in limbo waiting for God to answer.
What To Do When You Feel Like Prayer Isn’t Working
Even typing this out makes me nervous because this truly is such a heavy and yet incredibly important topic.
Obviously, I’m not a pastor nor am I an expert, but I can still point you to truth and share what I’ve learned along the way. I’m typing this because I’m also reminding myself! I know what it feels like to wonder if God’s even listening and then get frustrated with what to do while I’m waiting for an answer. But I’ve also found the waiting to be some of the most fruitful times in my personal walk with the Lord. Don’t lose hope – there is purpose in your waiting.
Trust God’s Timing
Sounds simple, but it’s not. It can be really hard sometimes.
I know with my brain I can trust God, but when the rubber meets the road and I have to put faith and trust into action it can feel pretty challenging to trust that God knows what he’s doing. Mostly because I usually think I know what I’m doing so my plans and His plans don’t seem to match I get really antsy.
The truth is though, that God knows what is best for me eternally. He knows what is coming down the pipeline and quite honestly I don’t, even though I like to think I kind of do.
Trusting Him is a daily action and I have to lay my plans down again and again.
My behavior will follow what I believe. The more I grow to trust him, the more my actions and behaviors reflect that in my daily life.
Tim Keller says, “God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything He knows.”
The answers to our prayers may not always be a “Yes”, but He will always answer with what is best for us at the exact time it is best for us.
Consider Changing What Your Are Praying For
We only have one perspective, and that’s our own.
Yet from where we are standing, we can’t see all angles of the situation like God can. With this limited point of view, we tend to have a desired outcome that makes the most sense to us based on the information we have to reason with at the time and that is usually what the outcome we pray for.
But what if we changed what we pray for? What if we prayed past our preferred outcomes and prayed for God to accomplish whatever purpose he had for us in it.
Waiting can often produce some level of suffering and often we only know how to pray for suffering to be removed. We feel like we will know the prayer has been answered when the outcome we hope for is accomplished…otherwise we can often be left with disappointment.
But, what if God intends to answer our prayers in a different way for a different purpose? What if his answer and his purpose will put his glory on display? Teach us to live out genuine faith? Reveal hidden sin? Make us more spiritually mature? Shape us into Christ’s likeness? Or even…share in the suffering of Christ?
What would it look like for us to change the way we pray by allowing scripture to shape the outcomes we pray for? When we start changing what we pray for, the glory of God’s character gets to be displayed in our lives more fully and we begin to live out true faith. Not just faith in an outcome, but faith in a trustworthy God who has our greater good in mind.
Surround yourself with the truth of who God is. It’s in times of waiting that we feel vulnerable, sometimes even hurt and confused about why God isn’t responding. It’s important to stay connected to the truth and to people that will remind you of the truth.
Press into Him when you most feel like running away.
He can handle your hurt, confusion, and frustration. He is not afraid of your honesty so tell him how you feel, but also continue to orient your heart towards the truth about who He is and how He acts towards His children.
So call up a friend that will remind you of truth. Practice praising him out loud – there is power in PRAISE! Write his truths on sticky notes and put them everywhere. Whatever you do, stay near to Him and your heart will be prepared for what He has for you when the answer to your prayers come.
I hope one or all of these thoughts encouraged you. If you are in a season of waiting – your prayers matter- so keep praying! If you have just come out of a season of waiting, celebrate what God has done and use it to encourage those still in the season of waiting.
William Gurnall said, “Never was a faithful prayer lost. Some prayers have a longer voyage than others, but then they return with their richer lading at last, so that the praying soul is a gainer by waiting for an answer.”
The waiting will change you, but only for the better so lean into Him with hope that He is always working in the waiting.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
Okay that’s all I’ve got for y’all today! What did you think? I hope you found this encouraging and that it lifted your spirits in some way. I know how discouraging and frustrating it can feel. But remember you’re not alone! And remember that God is always working – especially in the waiting.
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