Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Well What Did You Expect?

In the morning I lay my request before you and wait in expectation.
Psalm 5:3

Do you pray expecting specific results? Are your words purposeful and focused or are they spouted out as scattershot. Maybe you’ll hit something. Prayer is more than crossing your fingers, making a wish and hoping it comes true. The psalmist considered prayer a serious undertaking. When he made his request he anticipated a response. He positioned himself to recognize the answer when it arrived.

It’s difficult to feel confident that our prayers will be answered if we’re not sure God listens, especially to us. Some people believe they’re in a select group whom God ignores. Firmly convinced they’re disqualified, this mindset prohibits them from hearing and receiving from God.

Everyone experiences disappointments, sometimes with God. Prayers appear to go unanswered. Things get worse; life gets harder. Why bother going to God for help if He’ll only leave you hanging? Disappointment makes trusting our next call will be answered a challenge. The psalmist provides valuable insight into handling these situations.

First, be organized. The psalmist didn’t speak off the cuff but prepared his case. A well thought out petition bolstered his confidence that God would respond.

Second, be prepared to wait. The answer might not come immediately. Often things must change before results occur. Our solution sometimes take us through personal growth and development. Other people or situations may need to come into alignment before a response comes. This usually takes time.

Finally, be in a state of expectation. Because he believed that God heard his prayer, the psalmist expected help. His attention was focused on recognizing the answer he knew would come. His belief system worked for and not against him.

Life would be easier if every prayer received an immediate reply. In a way they all do. God says: “Yes”, “No” and “Keep knocking.” Keep knocking? What’s that all about?"  “Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” Matthew 7:7 NLT.  James 4:3 tells us that some prayers aren’t answered because we have the wrong motive. Hebrews 7:25 reminds us that Jesus, as our High Priest, is always interceding on our behalf. Is it possible that our prayer isn’t answered right away because we’re not in agreement with Jesus? Graham Cooke, in his series about the favor of God suggests this may be the case. In addition, we usually think too small compared to God’s dreams, designs and purposes.

I prefer God to spell everything out in detail upfront. I don’t want any nasty surprises. This, however, requires zero faith and that’s not how God operates. As hard as I’ve tried, I’ve not succeeded in convincing Him to change His methods of answering my or anyone else’s prayers. Soooooo...just like the psalmist, I’ll present my petitions and anticipate an answer. I’ll get exactly what I expect, a response.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kygp/2374438139/">kygp</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>


  1. Mary: You made some good points here.I confess I get somewhat impatient with God and with other people. This gives me something to think about.

  2. Great thoughts and insight, Mary!

  3. What wonderful words of wisdom and a refreshing reminder. Really enjoyed this, Mary.