Category Archives: Answered Prayer

Waiting on the Lord

IMG_0886Have 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)

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“Your Prayer Has Been Heard”

zechariahImagine praying for something for many years and then being visited by an angel telling you that God has heard your prayer!   

That is what happened to a Jewish priest by the name of Zechariah, as he went into the temple sanctuary to burn incense.  Why did God send an angel to tell Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, that they were going to have a son in their old age?  Why not just let events unfold?

Perhaps to prepare their hearts and minds for something extraordinary – that a woman, long past child bearing age would give birth to a son, and that this son would be John the Baptist, destined to prepare the way for the coming of God’s son on earth.

I have always related to this story in a small way ever since the birth of our son following an eleven year gap from the birth of three daughters earlier on in our marriage.  It was by no means a miracle birth since we were still in our early 40’s, but it was a huge blessing to my wife and me, along with our three daughters.

We took on Gabriel’s words to Zechariah as our own, “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice in his birth.” (Luke 1:14)  This was certainly true for our family and close friends.  We named him Stephen after Stephen in Acts 7.  Our joy in Stephen’s birth did not diminish our joy and love for our three daughters, but in fact enhanced our overall joy for our family as a whole and what God was doing in our lives – even adding a fourth daughter a couple of years later with special needs but lots of blessings.

For Zechariah and Elizabeth, God was indeed answering a long term prayer request for a son, but it was also to accomplish a purpose much larger than their initial request may have intended.  

Who can know the mind of God?  He often has a purpose in response to our prayers that reaches far beyond our intended request.  Today, our first three daughters and son are all raising families of their own – bringing life to thirteen children created in the image and likeness of God, being raised in Christian traditions and ways.  Who can imagine how God will use these parents and their children to further his will and purpose in the years to come?  

“For it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose.”  (Phil. 2:13)

Oh, the wonder of falling into the will of the living God!