Have you ever grown impatient with a prayer request to the Lord?
In the course of our daily lives we place numerous requests before the Lord, seeking his blessing and response. We pray for a new job if we have been laid off; the conversion of a loved one or friend; the reconciliation of an alienated relative; the admission to the right college for ourselves or family member; or the healing of an illness or physical injury for ourselves or others. The examples are endless.
Psalm 33 says, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” Jesus, of course, encouraged us to pray constantly for our needs and gave us a model in the Lord’s Prayer which contains several requests. He also encouraged us to be patient and persevere in prayer and never give up as illustrated in the parable of the persistent widow. (Luke 18:1-8)
Our experience suggests that there is often a time of waiting between when we offer up our prayer and when it appears to get answered. I had this experience last week when my sixteen year old grandson, Mark, and I went on a two day boating and fishing trip down the Potomac River south of Washington, DC.
Our plan was to travel down the Potomac about thirty-five miles, stop at various locations to fish on the way down, eat the fish we caught for dinner, stay overnight on the boat, and head back the next day, doing the same thing.
At the beginning of the first day I prayed fervently that the Lord would bless Mark with being able to catch many fish. So we proceeded to our first spot on Mattawoman Creek that is usually a sure bet for at least a catfish. We fished for over an hour, but were not even getting a bite. We then proceeded to a nice area just north of the Quantico Marine Base. Again, nothing!
I prayed, “Lord, what’s going on? We should have been able to catch something by now.” So we made a couple of sandwiches, had lunch, and then proceeded further south. I could tell Mark was getting discouraged because he decided to take a nap. We headed down to Fairview Beach where the Potomac turns east for a few miles before it turns south again just north of the 301 Bridge.
It was now later in the afternoon, so we only had about an hour before we had to arrive at a marina where we had a slip reserved for the evening. We stopped at an area where there is an underwater ledge which drops from fifteen to sixty feet. We started fishing. I’m praying, “Lord, we’re running out of time. We made no other provision for dinner.” Then Mark yelled, “I got one!” And indeed he did, a nice size catfish that ended up being more than two hungry fishermen could eat for dinner.
The Lord’s timing was perfect. It made Mark’s catch all the more memorable. Later that night and the next day we caught several more fish.
Isaiah says, “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. Blessed are all wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18)