When we want God to answer our prayers, we must be willing to not only let God answer whenever he thinks is best but also however he thinks is best. God’s ways are always better and bigger and higher.
What would have happened in the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth if God had answered their request for a baby immediately? They would have gotten a sweet little baby that they would have loved and cherished. But God delayed the request for a number of years, and then when he answered, he gave them John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus Christ, the only prophet to see the prophecies of Jesus fulfilled, and the forerunner of the Messiah.
Our problem is twofold: We ask too little, and we want it too soon. Ephesians 3:20 says, “God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine” (NCV). Think of the greatest thing in your imagination, and God can do even bigger than that.
Sometimes I believe that verse, and I try to claim it. I imagine the biggest thing I can pray for and think, “This is really going to impress God.” I pray for it and wait for the “Wow!” from God. Instead I get, “Son, can’t you do any better than that? Where’s your creativity? Where’s your imagination? I can do that with no problem! Why don’t you try believing me for something above what you can imagine?”
If God had answered some of my prayers exactly as I’d asked them, I would have gotten shortchanged. His answers were much greater than my requests. I’m thankful that God hasn’t answered all my prayers. Some of them would have been a disaster!
When Kay and I got married, we received a wedding card that said, “God always gives his best to those who leave the choice to him.” Let’s learn to let God answer in his time and in his way.
Talk It Over
- Think of something you have been praying for lately. How would you pray for it differently when you consider that God’s ways are always better and bigger and higher?
- Describe a time when God provided an answer to your prayer that was beyond anything you asked for or imagined.
- How can you demonstrate that you want God’s best and not your own will?