Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.
You’ve heard it a million times—God answers prayer. It’s true of course. But I think every Sunday School teacher, pastor, and parent should be required to qualify that statement. God does answer prayer. But no one bothers telling you that it can take a long time for him to answer.
I’ve been praying for five years for a friend to be healed. And still no healing. I’ve been praying for ten years for a friend to know Jesus. And still no sign of it.
In his book The Circlemaker, Mark Batterson describes prayer like climbing a mountain. “The dream or promise or miracle may seem impossible,” he says, “but if you keep circling, anything is possible. With each prayer, there is a small change in elevation.”
The problem comes, of course, when you’re at the bottom of that mountain and the answer to that prayer seems so very far away. And you want to ask, “God, are you there? Is there any way to speed this answer up?”
That’s one reason reading about the coming of Jesus is so powerful. The people of Israel waited hundreds of years for the Messiah to come.
When the city of Jerusalem was destroyed,
when the country was in ruins,
when the people had been taken to Babylon as slaves,
they were praying and crying out to God for the Messiah. It took over seven hundred years, but God did answer. He did keep his promise.
Sometimes God takes awhile to answer. Not because he’s not listening and not because he doesn’t care but because there are other things going on that we’re not aware of.
I don’t know what you’re praying for or what’s got you on our knees crying out to God but…keep faith. Keep circling. Keep praying. God will answer.
For your kids…
Use the first chapter of my new book, When Will It Be Christmas? You’ll just need a can of Sprite or any kind of soda for this devotional and simple activity. When you’re ending the devotional, reinforce the idea that the people of Israel waited hundreds of years for the Messiah, King Jesus, to come. When we pray, it can take a long time to get an answer. But what God promises, he delivers. When we pray, he does answer.
Jesus’s coming is a reminder that God DOES answer prayers and he DOES keep his promises.