Scripture makes it clear that our heavenly Father hears and answers prayer. Yet we all experience times when, though we pray for God to act right away, He does not. What are some reasons for the delay?
At times the Lord sees that our attention is misdirected. Our relationship with Him should have priority over any earthly matter (Mark 12:30). Yet minds and prayers can become so fixed upon a need that our gaze shifts away from Him. The Father may delay His answer until we refocus on Him. In other situations, God waits because the timing is not right for granting our request. Perhaps certain events must happen first, or people’s thinking needs to be changed.
There are also seasons when the Lord wants to stretch and grow our faith. One of the ways He accomplishes that is by having us watch for His response. The Holy Spirit will work in these times of waiting to mature us and bring forth righteous fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Other reasons are a wrong motive for our request (James 4:3) and the practice of habitual sin. We all fall short when it comes to God’s standard of holiness, but some of us persist in a lifestyle of disobedience. The Lord may delay His answer so He can prompt us to confess our sin and turn back to Him.
Waiting on the Lord isn’t easy—faith and trust are needed (Hebrews 11:1). If His answer is delayed, check that 1) your focus is on Him, 2) your motive for asking is God-honoring, and 3) you aren’t practicing habitual sin. Then believe that His response will be for your good and His glory.
Taken from “Waiting for Answers to Prayer” by In Touch Ministries (used by permission).