Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more.
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom’s shore.
Just a closer walk with Thee.
From “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” author unknown
Precious song! If you have a problem today, a great need in your life, maybe your problem is like this dear woman’s problem who has just written in to us. She said, “I have done all the things you have suggested and read all the books, but everything is just the same. And I have talked and talked to God for hours about my need, just poured out my heart, but I’ve had no answer. What do I do now?” Shall I tell you what I told her?
I could tell from the rest of her letter that she had done all the talking, but she hadn’t done any listening to God. So I answered and said, “Stop talking and listen for a while. Listen to God’s Word. Be still and let Him speak to you. When you get quiet and wait on Him, there will come a prompting from Him in a still, small voice.” Someone has also called it a “divine oughtness”; that is, an impression that you ought to do a certain thing. He’ll answer! The answer’s there for you, and God will speak.
When we’ve been talking to you about keeping on seeking and keeping on knocking, we didn’t mean to keep on talking and talking and asking God with a multitude of words, and an insistence in talking it out with Him.
A little word by Martha Snell Nicholson:
Sometimes I do not even pray in words.
I take my heart in my two hands,
And hold it up before the Lord.
I’m so glad He understands.
Sometimes I do not even pray in words.
My spirit bows before His feet,
And with His hand upon my head,
We just hold communion, silent, sweet.
Sometimes I do not pray in words,
For I am tired and long for rest.
And my heart finds all it needs,
Just resting on the Savior’s gentle breast.
So we didn’t mean for you to keep on asking, with so much talking and insistence on expressing yourself in words, but to keep on believing and keep on expecting and waiting—waiting for God to answer. Oh, the answer’s there; God will answer! You know, prayer in its highest meaning is not pleading with God or demanding things, but it is communion with God, throwing your whole being open heavenward, Godward, and waiting for the divine response.
If you have prayed and had no answers yet, no answer’s come and it seems as if when you pray, the heavens are brass and He’s been deaf to your pleading cries, remember this: No earnest, sincere prayer to the heavenly Father has ever gone unanswered or been unnoticed. But this is also true that God has His time for all things in working out His purposes. God has strange ways of disciplining His intercessors and prayer warriors, and that takes time.
Give God time. Time is a great clarifier: it reveals, after continued prayer, things that are wrong, that we didn’t see at first at all. If God had answered prayer when he first prayed, what a blessing and mighty miracle would have been denied to some in God’s Word, especially to Daniel.
If God had answered the prayers of the three Hebrew children before they went into the fiery furnace, what a lesson to us all would have been lost! (Daniel 3) If God had immediately answered the cry from Christ’s lips to “let this cup pass” from Him (Matthew 26:39)—but I don’t even dare suggest that. I just continue with this thought: There are many instances in the Word of God where it took time for God to work out His own purposes before He answered prayer. But answer He did, and with greater blessing and victory for the supplicant than would have been had He sent the answer immediately.
God’s Word in Matthew tells a story in the fifteenth chapter, of this woman of Canaan. You remember she came for her daughter. Her daughter was grievously vexed with a devil, and she sought Christ’s healing power. And God’s Word says that “He answered her not a word.” I repeat it, “He answered her not a word.” (Matthew 15:22–23)
“Then his disciples came out and besought him, saying, send her away, for she crieth after us. And he said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then she came and worshipped him, saying, Lord help me. And he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.
“And she said, Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the master’s table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour!” (Matthew 15:23–28) Yet at first He answered her not a word.
You know, the words “God hath appointed a day” often come to my mind, and while that does have to do with the Judgment Day, yet it is significant that He does appoint a day for certain things.
God has an appointment with you for that answered prayer, and He’ll not miss that appointment either. Andrew Murray once wrote: “Our great danger in this school of the ‘answer delayed’ is a temptation to think that after all it may not be God’s will to give us what we ask. If our prayer be according to His Word, and under the leading of the Holy Spirit, let’s not give way to any fear that it isn’t His will.” Let’s learn to give God time. God needs time with us.
“Let no delay shake our faith. Of faith it holds good: first comes the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. Each believing prayer brings a step nearer the final victory. Each believing prayer helps to ripen the fruit and bring us nearer to it. It fills up the measure of prayer and faith known to God alone. It conquers the hindrances of the unseen world and it hastens the end. Child of God, give the Father time. He’s long-suffering over you, and He wants the blessing rich and full and sure. Give Him time while you cry day and night.” (From “The Power of Persevering Prayer,” by Andrew Murray (1828-1917))
Someone has truly said, “Some prayers have a longer voyage than others, but they come with a richer lading at last!” Men and women of old held on to the promises with a tenacity that said, “I will not let thee go except thou dost bless me.” (Genesis 32:26)
Hold on, dearly beloved, hold on! Trust God, keep seeking. Don’t give up. The answer is there, and His promise is for you. He’s still on the throne. Prayer will change things for you like it has for others.