Paul in his letter to the Colossians admonished them to:
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Colossians 4:2 NIV
As we continue with this year’s Lenten Season, I’ll be sharing about certain things that can be of tremendous gain, as a Christian is waiting on the Lord for answered prayers. There are certain things that many are supposed to be doing, but are not doing while they are waiting before the Father to answer their prayers.
Some are not even waiting anymore for the answer from the Lord to their prayers, because they have gotten tired and wary of waiting. They see the waiting moments before the Lord as being burdensome and monotonous.
They have therefore turned away from God’s promises in His written word, to start doing whatever they see those in the world doing. To them there is nothing to be gained from waiting on the Lord. But they are wrong. There are great benefits to be derived from waiting on the Lord.
The scriptures teaches us to be watchful while waiting on the Lord, instead of relying on our own understanding. However we are not to be watchful while waiting without doing anything with our faith.
This actually is the critical moment when we are to be keeping up untiringly with our confession of faith. However there are a lot of Christians who are not doing that. They are waiting before the Lord with a wavering faith.
We also do know that the devil will do everything possible while any child of God is watching and waiting, to prevent that Christian from standing on God’s promises for his life.
He will do everything possible to prevent you from inheriting God’s promises, if you will allow him to do so. The moment you are no more holding on to those promises with your confession of faith, you are no more being watchful while waiting for an answered prayer.
This is where the enemy has held many Christians captives in their prayer lives. Whenever you let down your guard with your confession of faith, bigger troubles to complicate things for you will be thrown into that situation by the enemy.
That’s what he specializes in while making people more entrenched with their troubles, so that their situations will become more complex for them to come out of.
Others by this time will stop to pray, and just give in to the lies of the devil. They will start doing anything on their own so as to get out of their problems like the ungodly, without any focus on God’s promises. This is what the enemy uses to get them deeper into complicated situations.
The moment you take your eyes and your mouth off God’s promises, you have just given the devil a free ticket to come after what you had prayed about.
This is when things will become more unbearable for them. Some people at this moment will often give up on God, even while in the midst of their complications. The devil uses such moments to cause them to backslide from following Jesus.
Whereas God never gives up on anyone, but they will give up on Him. You will often hear them say that faith is an illusion. But in actual fact their faith tried them, and they have failed the test.
God is ever faithful. He sees what you are going through right now, but He can’t do anything to help you, until you will begin to remind Him of those promises that you do have from His written word.
Be watchful while waiting
That’s why Jesus said it so clearly and affirmatively:
“And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
Mark 13:37 NKJV
There is no way we can be watchful without knowing how to wait, until we have received the answer to a prayer. And Jesus made it very clear here to everyone who believes in His name, that we must be watchful while waiting.
The Bible gave us an example of Daniel who was waiting for an answered prayer before the Lord, after a period of fasting and prayer. Eventually the angel of the Lord came to him with an explanation for the delay in getting the answer to him.
Daniel described his personal encounter with the angel in this way:
“Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.””
Daniel 10:12-14 NKJV
For twenty one days there was an intense spiritual warfare going on as Daniel was waiting on the Lord. The satanic prince of Persia had been assigned by the devil to prevent him from getting the answer to his prayer. The prince of Persia was the principality over the region where the angel had to pass through before getting to Daniel in Babylon.
This incident highlights the intensity and seriousness of what the enemy sees, when he sees you being watchful and waiting. He does not underestimate your abilities with the answer from the Lord to your prayer. He knows how powerful you will become against him with the answered prayer. This is why, if you are indeed waiting on the Lord, to keep waiting until He answers your prayer.
In the case of Daniel the angel who brought the answer to him (most likely Gabriel); had to ask for the help of the archangel Michael, who eventually got the prince of Persia out of the way. You may not know what is causing the delay to your prayer right now, until you’ve stood in the Lord and on His promises to the very end.
An unobservant Christian of spiritual matters is not being watchful. He can’t grasp a lot of things that are going on around him. And in many instances this is why people often cave in to the pressures of the world around them.
In other words, if you are waiting on the Lord for anything that you had prayed for, you will need to have a lot of patience while you are waiting.
You will need to keep your eyes focused on the precious promises that you do have. You will need to keep those promises in your heart and on your mouth, without giving any room to the devil with your faith confession (Ephesians 4:27).
Be purposed at heart with patience
Oftentimes patience in this way is referred to as “long suffering” (see Galatians 5:22 NKJV). This is an old English word that best describes what we go through when we are patiently waiting on the Lord.
It highlights the forbearance of your faith in the face of the opposition from the enemy. And those who can’t wait on the Lord in this way, are relying on the hand of the flesh for their answers.
Paul advised Timothy while waiting patiently for his last trial in Rome:
“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible],”
2 Timothy 1:8 AMP
The share of Paul’s suffering for the gospel while waiting in jail for his trial, was to continue preaching the gospel regardless of the circumstances of being bond in chains. Paul was determined to preach to the very end of his life. What was going on with him at that moment, would not be allowed to stop him from preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus during His suffering also on the cross was still preaching. He won one of the two criminals with Him into the Kingdom of God. Jesus never allowed the pain and agony of suffering to prevent the salvation of this one soul.
“And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.””
Luke 23:43 NKJV
What a glorious way to go to Heaven. The scriptures advised us to follow the example of Jesus in suffering:
“So consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave in under life’s pressures. After all, you have not yet reached the point of sweating blood in your opposition to sin. And have you forgotten his encouraging words spoken to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when he has to correct you.”
Hebrews 12:3-5 TPT
We have not endured suffering to the point of sweating blood, as Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane. Why then do you have to give up on God’s promises?
These scripture texts points clearly to us some of the gains of watching while waiting on the Lord for answered prayers. We are encouraged not to underestimate the value of our Christian discipline and training, through those situations in our lives.
The Lord uses the waiting time in His presence to spiritually train us and get us prepared, for the next assignment that is ahead of us. We are being spiritually disciplined in His presence, until we become matured to confront the enemy.
That’s why it’s important to go through your waiting time before the Lord with patience (long suffering). The Lord has a prize waiting for those who are watchful to the very end.
Prayer and fasting itself alone may not necessarily bring the answer to your request before the Lord. The written word of God has the answers that we need to all our prayers.
That’s why we study the Bible daily. And as long as we are living on the earth problems will always come. But by daily relying on His written word for the answers, we are guaranteed the solutions that will last for all seasons and in all situations.
Prayer and fasting has a way of affecting us, in repositioning us for the answer to our prayer. We are the ones who will have to change in our ways for the Lord to be able to help us. God does not change (Hebrews 13:8).
The answers that He has provided for us in the scriptures can’t ever be changed either. That’s why it’s a surprise to me when Christians are trying to manipulate God’s word, to fit into the solutions for their problems.
And when it doesn’t work out for them as they expected, they are the ones who will turn around to start blaming God for their troubles.
As an example they will blame the Lord for their sicknesses. Whereas we do know from the scriptures that, God is not going about making people sick. He is not using sickness to teach anyone something either.
The devil is the one doing what he normally does. He is also the one who is making it seem to people that God is to blame for their ailments. God’s promises can’t be twisted or manipulated for our selfish desires.
The Bible says:
“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.”
Psalms 119:89 NKJV
God’s word as it is settled in heaven has to become settled in our personal lives, so as to manifest His power and glory in the body, or for anything else that we had prayed for.
When we are obedient to His written word by accepting and living in accordance with the standard of the conditions, that are set in those promises for us, then it will become so easy for the Lord to move on our behalf.
You can’t be disobedient to the Lord by setting up your own personal standard for living the Christian life, while ignoring God’s standard in the holy scriptures concerning His promises to you. You can’t be living in contradiction to His word, and still expect Him to respond to your attitude of rebellion in good faith.
That’s just as good as making a mockery of the Lord God. And there are many who are doing this these days. Then they will start wondering why their Christian faith for healing is not producing their expected results for them.
Prayer and fasting will transform our attitude towards the problems of our lives, in a way that it will get us ready for what the Lord is doing to answer our prayers. But we can’t be living in rebellion to His word, and still expect to be favored by Him.
Prayer has to be a lifestyle pattern for anyone who calls himself a Christian. A person who is devoted to anything in life takes it seriously. A heart that is full of devotion is focused with complete attention on what is being done; so that when you are praying you are also being watchful.
Get ready for your surprises from the Lord
Jesus said again to the three disciples with Him in the garden of Gethsemane:
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:41 NKJV
What was said here in the garden of Gethsemane is very applicable to us today also, because many are spiritually sleeping instead of being watchful. The flesh in them is indeed weak to the temptation of the devil, so that they are just caving in to every scheme of the evil one against them.
Being spiritually alert is important while we are praying. This is especially so if you are indeed waiting on the Lord to answer your prayer. A person who is not spiritually on the alert can’t wait on the Lord. That person should not expect the Lord to answer his prayer.
And just like Peter, James and John did with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, a lot of Christians had also missed out on several opportunities to be doing exploits, as they are waiting on the Lord. They’ve not been on the alert enough spiritually so as to get to know and understand, what the Lord is doing on their behalf.
Their lack of patience while waiting has denied them of opportunities to be matured in the presence of the Lord. They are not paying attention to many things that the Lord is doing, and getting ready to do. They are taking their cues from the world around them, instead of listening to the voice of the Lord within them for instructions, guidance and directions.
And the Lord God alone is the One who sets the time for how long we are to be waiting. We don’t have the prerogative of setting our waiting time for the Lord. In many instances when we do think that we are waiting on the Lord, He in fact is the One who is waiting on us to get ready.
Be watchful while waiting with thanksgiving
To be devoted to prayer therefore demands that, we should be watchful and thankful while praying. The giving of thanks with our lips is what opens the door for us into God’s presence (Psalms 100:4).
Being watchful while waiting with thanksgiving to the Lord are important spiritual exercises, which prepares us for the answered prayer.
This is why it’s important for every child of God who is waiting on the Lord for answered prayers, to have a solid foundation from the Bible for standing and waiting on Him.
It has to be from the Bible and not necessarily based on the word of the Preacher of the gospel. The Bible is the word of God to you personally and to the Body of Christ collectively.
Don’t ever believe in the words of any Preacher who has no scriptures to back up what he or she is preaching.
As Paul once advised Timothy:
“O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.”
I Timothy 6:20-21 NKJV
Don’t follow them if there is no scriptural basis for what they are preaching and professing. The Bible is God’s voice personally to you. Don’t fall into their errors and mistakes. Hold on to what the Bible says, that you may be found worthy of the prize which is ahead of you.
We are therefore enjoined to search the scriptures for every promises of God, that fits into our particular situations. This is where our walk of faith before the Lord begins as we are waiting.
If you are waiting for Him to heal you, find the scriptures for healing that you can believe and stand on, with daily confession of your faith for healing. Start confessing the scriptures as you are waiting for your healing to manifest.
Don’t just be waiting before the Lord without doing anything. Put your faith to work with your daily confession from your mouth. The Lord will do what He has promised to do for you in His word.
The same thing goes for your finances as well. Stop looking up to men or your personal connections. Look up to the Lord by daily confessing your financial freedom and prosperity before Him as you are waiting.
Don’t try to figure things out as you are waiting. This is where the ability to give thanks while waiting will help you a lot, to stop figuring things out.
Remember that David said in one of his Psalms:
“Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalms 103:5 NKJV
The good things that flows from your mouth are His promises. We are to be confessing His promises until they manifest in renewing our “youth like the eagle’s”.
This may be in reference to a new beginning in the area of your physical and financial healings. Your good health, good life and prosperity are also included. This same principle goes for everything that we are waiting on the Lord for.
A Christian who can’t do these things is not really interested in allowing the Lord to minister to him. Such a believer in Christ should not expect anything from the Lord.
So keep up with your confession of faith as you are waiting.
Next week we shall continue to take a look at some other benefits of waiting on the Lord.