by Rick Warren — May 9, 2018
Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act” (NLT). God wants you to wait patiently for him to answer your prayer.
Have you noticed that we can endure waiting as long as we can grumble while we wait? We tolerate waiting in the DMV line as long as we can gripe and complain about how lousy and ineffective 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 promised to make Abraham 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, José!” 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 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 become 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.