Answers to prayer are good news, even the ones that don’t quite match what we asked for. They are signs of the Father’s wise, loving involvement in our lives. Answers call for celebration (John 16:24), but that doesn’t mean we put a lid on prayer joy until they arrive.
While waiting for answers, we celebrate that God CAN do what we’re asking. It’s a celebration of trust in the Father, and it makes a big difference to our waiting time.
The previous post, WHY keep asking gave reason for persevering in prayer. One reason given is: it’s an opportunity to increase our admiration of the Lord.
Here’s a truth about the Lord we can admire anytime, but especially in the space between ASK and ANSWER: his power to do what we ask, no matter how difficult or impossible it seems (Eph 3:20).
The waiting time can be a fertile soil for doubt and discouragement. Unless dealt with, these fast-growing weeds can choke our prayer life. There’s a type of praying that eradicates them and fits perfectly in the ask-answer waiting room: admiration of the Lord’s power. By celebrating that God CAN do what we’re asking, we keep inner unrest out of the waiting room, and fill it with an expectation of his answer.
There are several ways to admire the power of God. Thanking him that he can do what we’re asking is one of them. When we blend our asking with thanks (before seeing the answer), we draw his peace into the waiting time (Phil 4:6-7).
The Lord distinguishes himself from the idols worshipped by humankind, declaring that he is the living God who does what no other god can (Isaiah 44). In Psalm 115, the singer picks that up and answers the nations who ask of Israel: Where is their God? (2-3). First, he points out that the Lord is not a man-made image on a shelf or in a shrine, but is above all, enthroned in heaven. Second, the Lord does whatever pleases him, because he can.
The idols shaped by hands from earthly materials cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, or walk. People fear, worship and petition them (or the deities they represent), but they are gods defined by CANNOT. The Lord’s covenant people, however, lean on the living One who CAN. And he does everything in love and faithfulness (4-9, 1).
Jesus spoke about persevering with a prayer request, and not giving up through inner weariness (Luke 18:1). A delayed answer prompts us to examine our asking point (review the what and why of our request). But it also tests our trust in him for the answer. A heart full of admiration of God’s power keeps our trust resilient and less likely to give up through weariness.
We can express admiration of the Lord’s power through prayers of wonder, praise, celebration, thanks, adoration and hunger for God.
- Choose a scripture passage about the power of God, agree with its truth, apply it to the answer you are waiting for and admire him as the God who CAN. Examples: Psalm 147: 4-5, Eph 3:20-21.
- Read a Bible narrative that shows the power of God on behalf of his people, admire his work of power in that story and connect it to your prayer request. Examples: 2 Chron 20:10-23, 1 Kings 18:25-39. If you have a copy of Shaped for Prayer Enjoyment, you can follow the guide on the latter passage at the end of Chap 10 (p.151).
- Focus on the truth of the Lord’s power that works in love and faithfulness. Speak to him of the greatness of his power, using a few simple metaphors or comparisons to express your awe at the size of his power working in love. Examples: as high as the heavens, right hand of power, God of the impossible, scepter of highest power, mighty beyond measure or comprehension. Draw supporting scriptures into your prayer of admiration.