What do we do, when we’re asking God for something He would agree with, but we can’t see it happening?
Why do we keep on asking God for the same thing?
Persistence in prayer is something the Lord taught clearly: asking, seeking, knocking in Luke 11:9-10. And the story of the unjust judge and the widow at the beginning of Luke 18. But these examples also teach being confident, and even assertive in faith.
There is a way of remaining active and persistent without continuing to ask.
Actively waiting on God in silence is a different form of persistence
“The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.” (Lam. 3:25-26)
The person who knows their need is being met, does not need to keep asking. Silence in waiting on God expresses hope and faith together, thankful for what God WILL HAVE done.
There’s a lot of difference between Prime Minister’s Questions in the UK Parliament, and approaching the throne of God.
One is political theatre, being played out for the benefit of MPs’ constituents. The other is… entering the place of total truthfulness and light, where everything is laid bare
We do well not to confuse the two!
God will never dismiss us, make fun of us, put us down or give a misleading response.
So we can approach Him confidently but humbly. Prayer should agree with God’s intentions, not seek to change them. It may change us more!
We need time to adjust to His way of thinking. We need some quietness and space to adjust our perspective and gain His.
What if a legitimate, kingdom centred, unselfish prayer request made in faith over a period of time is just not coming to pass? Or — as often happens — seems to have lurched in the other direction? It just got worse…
Here are three possibilities that might come into focus through remaining silently attentive:
FIRSTLY, we don’t always get what we want — and neither does God, strange though it may seem.
Those deciding on the ground have free will, to decide for God, or for themselves. To discern His will or to be humanly pragmatic. To trust Him or to bring a different solution.
Out of our rest and quietness, we may hear God’s encouragement to pray for others to gain a sense of oneness with God’s purpose, and to want what He wants.
That’s the first thing that is happening in waiting in quietness. We are allowing our trust to develop and our perspective to align with His.
SECONDLY, there may be something in the picture which we are not seeing yet. What is He pointing out?
What is holding back a transition that is needed? Rather than keeping on asking (with God saying “I get it”, not that we are listening), we may need to shift our prayer focus and address the obstacle He is revealing.
THIRDLY, we need to ask what is being played out spiritually, and why does it seems frustratingly slow to us? What we experience in the here-and-now is by no means unconnected with what is taking place in the spiritual realm. It might be a delaying action, as described in Daniel 10:12–13, or a protracted battle.
Above all, the ‘silent approach’ helps us learn to trust God. Bringing His best sometimes takes longer than we would like!