by Rick Warren — February 3, 2023
From Living in the Goodness of God
“I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them.”
Zechariah 13:9 (NLT)
Some prayers are answered immediately, but others take weeks, months, or even years. You probably know this all too well! But there’s good news: While you’re praying for God’s answer, you’re going to learn some things that you can’t learn any other way.
In the waiting, there is blessing. One of the blessings is that you learn more about yourself when you don’t instantly get everything you want.
For two of the most important prayers I’ve ever prayed, God took 13 years to answer one of them and 25 years for the other. But he answered! They were the most important prayers in my life at that time. Why did it take so long? Because while I was working on the prayer, God was working on me.
When you’re going through fire, do you ever wonder why you have to go through it? It’s for testing and purification. As you pray about something over and over again, you face tests that reveal more about you.
God says in Zechariah 13:9, “I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold” (NLT).
You test gold by putting it in a big vat and heating it until it gets so hot that all the impurities are burned off. How do metalsmiths know when gold and silver are pure? When they can see their reflection in them.
God can see his reflection in you when the impurities have burned out of your life—after you’ve been through the fire. He says that, after he’s done the testing and purification, “They will call on my name, and I will answer them” (Zechariah 13:9 NLT).
Answered prayer comes after the test. Before every blessing, there is a testing. God tests you with stress before he trusts you with success. These are the principles of persistent prayer.
God is going to test you before he blesses you. And in that test, you’re going to learn a lot about yourself. If you give up praying, you’re never going to learn the lessons that help you become more like Jesus.
Keep praying with persistence each day. And remember that after the testing, the blessing will come.