Do you trust God to answer your prayers? Confidence in prayer is belief in the trustworthiness of God. We must trust that He will provide for our needs. To illustrate this point, Jesus referred to a typical relationship between a father and son. A parent would never give a child a stone if the boy asked for bread, nor would he give a snake when asked for a fish (Matt. 7:9-11). In a similar way, our heavenly Father can be trusted to give us gifts that are beneficial in every way.
Sometimes we pray for something and are determined to get it—whether or not God gives it to us. We become impatient, run ahead of Him, and make a big mistake by trying to get what we want on our own. However, when God has us wait, He always has a purpose for it.
Think about how Mary and Martha waited while Lazarus was dying (John 11:1-44). Jesus had spent a great deal of time with this family, including eating with them in their home. The sisters expected Him to come quickly when He heard that Lazarus was at the point of death. Instead, He waited until their brother had died. At first, Jesus’ delay did not seem good to Mary and Martha, but what was the end result? The Savior did something better than heal Lazarus; He raised him from the dead. To this day, we are talking about this miracle that proved Jesus’ power over death. It’s always best to wait on God’s perfect timing.
There have been a number of occasions when the Lord asked me to wait for no apparent reason. One time, when my car was destroyed by a collision, He asked me to postpone buying a replacement. Eventually, a church member gave me a check for a far nicer automobile than I would have bought on my own. Another time, God told me to wait on buying a home. Feeling pressure to settle on a property, I entered into a contract anyway. In His mercy, the basement of the house flooded that very night, giving me a legitimate reason for canceling the contract. He provided an easy way for me to return to His perfect will for my life.
Of course, the Lord doesn’t always provide a second chance for us to obey Him. That’s why we are wise to submit to His will the first time around. If we are willing to pray with confidence, waiting on the Father’s timing, we will find that He was preparing the very best for us all along.
Perhaps you have been asking God to meet a pressing need or grant a particular desire, yet nothing seems to be happening. In circumstances like these, you and I often rationalize that He isn’t listening or doesn’t care. As a result, we often stop praying too soon. But Scripture teaches that the Father delights in giving His children good things. So don’t give up praying to your heavenly Father and trusting Him to provide the right answer.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “The Key to Answered Prayer” which airs this weekend on TV.