Some things take time. On more than one occasion I’ve found myself salivating in front of our kitchen oven anxiously anticipating a slice of cake my wife was baking. My question to her usually is, “How much longer before it’s done?”, sometimes followed by, “Can I have a piece now?” She refuses to be moved by my impatience! She reminds me that I can’t have cake until the cake’s done.
A cake is at its best when it’s done. And it’s not done until it’s done! No matter how good it smells or how much we want it now, a cake takes time to bake. Our impatience doesn’t speed up the process.
We need to be reminded of this principle when it comes to prayer. As much as we want our prayers to be answered immediately, they’re not always answered immediately. Sometimes our prayers take time to work. Why? It’s not because of a lack of God’s power.
Sometimes answers to prayer take time because of the resistance of someone or something to the will of God. God never forces His plans and desires on people or into situations. He works gently and consistently to persuade people to follow Him and to shape circumstances in ways that please Him. When we keep on praying for those who are outside of God’s will and for situations that are contrary to God’s will, it’s an invitation for the Holy Spirit to continue exercising His wooing and shaping grace and influence on people and circumstances.
At times our prayers require patience and persistence because of the spiritual resistance of our enemy; the devil. When we pray we’re engaging in spiritual battle. Battles are not generally won overnight. When going up against stubborn spiritual strongholds, we should expect to invest time in the prayer process, praying until victory comes.
There’re also times when God’s silence and seeming unresponsiveness to our prayers is specifically designed by Him as a faith-testing, faith-growing experience for us. In these seasons, God helps us develop greater spiritual grit and stronger faith muscles. Delayed answers to prayer should drive us deeper in our relationship with God, challenging and encouraging us to trust Him more.
The Bible teaches us to keep on praying, even when answers aren’t apparent or forthcoming. Take a look at a couple of encouraging Scripture verses:
One day Jesus told His disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. — Luke 18:1 (NLT)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. — Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
Some things take time. They’re not done until they’re done. Prayer is one of those things. Don’t give up. Keep on praying!