“Say Ding!” Part 2 (What to do when God hasn’t answered your prayer yet)

We’re continuing a discussion from yesterday about long-standing prayers that are seemingly slow in coming.  We want God to say “ding”!  Yet, in the midst of my impatience, I am struck by this story from 1 Kings.  The Bible records the story of Solomon building the magnificent temple.  After all the beautiful, intricate details are chronicled, there’s a short statement:

The foundation of the temple of the Lord was laid in the fourth year…In the eleventh year…the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications.  He had spent seven years building it.  (1 Kings 6: 37-38)

That’s a long time to be committed to a project!  But that’s not all.  Check out the next verse:

It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete construction of his palace.  (1 Kings 7:1)

Anything worth having is going to require dedication, commitment and consistency. Like Joshua leading the army to march seven times around the wall of Jericho.  How tedious is that?  I’m certain that, had I been among Joshua’s soldiers, I would’ve been asking questions:

 “Are you sure you heard the number seven, Joshua?  ‘Cause I’m thinking three is a really great number.”

“Hey, Josh, I feel like we’re just going around in circles.

Um, literally.

Surely it’s time to do something different.”

What if Joshua had listened to someone like me and stopped just before the seventh time around? The nation of Israel would’ve missed one of the greatest miracles of all time.

For what in your life are you asking God to say “ding”?

And what can you do in the meantime?

  1. Do your part to pray, plan and work.  Do what you know to do. (“Work like it depends on you, but pray like it depends on God.”)
  2. Guard yourself against being offended with God if the wait is getting long. Consider his long-suffering for you on the cross. You can get frustrated with God or choose to live un-offended.
  3. Live surrendered to His sovereignty, His mystery, His love.
  4. Remember His goodness and faithfulness to you in the past.
  5. Praise Him even if it doesn’t turn out the way you want.  (That’s difficult!  But that’s when our praise is most pleasing to God.)

Is there some long standing prayer for which you’ve stopped asking God?  A  God-honoring dream for which you’ve lost heart and hope?

Pray. Work. Praise. Repeat.

“Walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the desire of our hearts.” Isaiah 26: 8

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