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What Does God Want While You Wait for an Answer?

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Whenever you try to answer your own prayer, you’re asking for trouble. Instead, wait patiently, and watch God act.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:7 NLT, second edition)

What does God want you to do while you’re waiting on an answer to your prayer?

Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act” (NLT, second edition). God wants you to wait patiently for him to answer your prayer.

Have you noticed that we don’t mind waiting as long as we can grumble while we wait? We don’t mind waiting in the DMV line as long as we can gripe and complain about how lousy and unorganized the government is. But God says, “Be still.”

Like little 2 year olds, we get the spiritual wiggles while we’re waiting for God to answer a prayer. We get nervous and restless. We want to jump up and do something. But God says, “Wait patiently. Be still. Watch me act. Don’t get restless, don’t get nervous, and don’t try to take matters into your own hands.”

And, don’t ever make Abraham’s mistake in the Old Testament of trying to be the answer to your own prayer. It will cause all kinds of problems! One day God told Abraham that he was going to make him the father of a great nation. There were only two problems: Abraham was 99 years old, and he was childless. Abraham looked at his own body and said, “No way, Jose!” And he looked at his wife Sarah, who was infertile, and said, “Double no way! It ain’t gonna happen.”

So Abraham took matters into his own hands and had a baby with his wife’s maid, Hagar. Abraham said, “Here’s my answer to prayer! I’ve got a son at 99. His name is Ishmael.” God said, “No, no. You missed the point. That’s not my answer to prayer. That’s your own answer to prayer. I’ve got a miracle boy who’s coming, and Sarah’s going to be the mom. You’re going to name him Isaac.” Isaac means “laughter.” When Sarah was told that she was going to be pregnant, the Bible says she laughed because she didn’t believe God.

But God had the last laugh. Isaac was born, and it started an intense rivalry between him and Ishmael that we’re still paying for today. The tense relationship between Jews and Arabs all began because Abraham tried to answer his own prayer request.

Whenever you try to answer your own prayer, you’re asking for trouble. Instead, wait patiently, and watch God act.

Talk It Over

  • What can you do to help you focus on God while you’re patiently waiting?
  • What are your tendencies when you are waiting on God to act? What do you do after you request something of him in prayer?
  • How have you grown spiritually during a time when you had to wait on God?

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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


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