“There are many facets of prayer that we could speak about today: Intercessions, petitions, how to seek God, praises, worship are all aspects of prayer that are worthy of study. Today I want to talk about waiting on God in prayer.”
Psalm 68:35 Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 46:10; Psalm 23:2; Psalm 4:4
There are many facets of prayer that we could speak about today: Intercessions, petitions, how to seek God, praises, worship are all aspects of prayer that are worthy of study. Today I want to talk about waiting on God in prayer.
We may not realize it but our spirit is constantly resisting evil. In a restaurant or at our jobs we are inwardly resisting wicked spirits. All of this striving is a drain on our spirits. Through daily prayer waiting in the presence of God we are strengthened to resist evil. Prayer renews our strength through the spirit of God by transference of power. If you are not satisfied with your prayer life or you find it difficult to pray consistently, I think this lesson will be of benefit to you.
What are some hindrances to waiting on God?
1. Flesh—Often, when I get ready to go into prayer, I feel resistance rise up in me, I want to clean out closets, drawers, iron, or clean out my desk, file papers, and arrange books on my shelves. Anything but get quiet and pray. I think of things to do that I had forgotten weeks ago.
This particular hindrance agitates our spirit. Our human nature is at enmity with God. Some call our flesh the enemy within. This is what you feel when you get down to pray. Your flesh is resisting coming into the presence of the Lord. Jesus said we had to deny our flesh, and die daily to it. Waiting on God in prayer is one of the best ways to deny the flesh.
2. Stress or worries—our minds may be preoccupied with current events—national events that concern our welfare may cause us to worry.
3. Busy or hurry—I have so much to do today…not time to wait on God. Out attitude is “God you’d better jump on board, this train is leaving.”
Quote: Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do today, I must pray three hours.”
If you find it difficult to pray because you are worried, stressed, in a hurry or simply agitated in your spirit, waiting on the Lord as you pray is the key to a good time of prayer. This agitation of spirit whether it be flesh, stress, or hurry is a hindrance in prayer that we need to overcome to touch God.
What does waiting on the Lord mean?
I have from time to time studied Isaiah 40:31. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” Just the other day as I thought on this text I understood something about it I had not seen before. Usually we think of waiting like sitting at a train station waiting for the train to come, and then we think of waiting like serving someone. Both of these are valid definitions of waiting and we think of these definitions in terms of time.
Definition: But what I understood as I looked at it again was that to wait on the Lord is not only a matter of length of time, but how I waited.
To wait on God is a matter of having a willing spirit and a quiet mind—a spirit and mind that is patient and willing to wait for God to speak. To rush into prayer and tell God He has 5 minutes to speak usually doesn’t work. The spiritual world of God lies outside of time, and if we commune with Him we need to focus our minds outside of time and you can’t do this in a hurry. We have to go beyond the limits or our mind to have fellowship with God. You may not have to pray hours, but you must be willing to pray for whatever period of time God leads you to pray. However in defense of time spent in prayer, I would like to add that often it takes an hour to settle down so you can enter into serious prayer. If we set an hour for prayer, and stop praying exactly when an hour is up, we have just prepared ourselves to pray and to have quality time with God when we jump up and leave him sitting there. If you’re a cook, it is like spending hours preparing a mean and set down to the table and decide you are going to go do something else and not eat.
How do we quiet our minds to get into prayer?
1. Laying aside all that is on your mind. Speak out loud the worries or stress that is troubling you filling your mind until there is not room for faith to work. Lay aside financial worries, home problems, national or world problems. Lay them down one by one. You will feel a measure of peace come to you and you will be ready to pray.
2. Read Scripture and begin to pray what you read. Psalm 23 is a good place to start or other of David’s psalms. The Lord’s Prayer may be a starting place for you.
3. Go into your place of prayer and just listen to the quiet. Don’t think about the hum of the computer, or the traffic going by or noises in the house. Hear them but don’t think about them. Very soon you will feel the quiet begin to calm you and you are ready to pray. Sense God’s presence near you and by faith begin to pray.
4. A song or music may bring you into the presence of the Lord. All of the above may help you to quiet your mind. We want a quiet mind so we can hear from God. Mark 4:34 reads “And when they were alone, He (Jesus) expounded all things to his disciples.”
Learn to wait until you know He is near. You can sense in your spirit that you are connected and you have His ear.
What are the results of learning to wait on God?
Quote: Whenever we touch God’s almighty arm some of his power streams in on us and into our souls and bodies and through us.” O. Hallesby in “Prayer”
1. God imparts strength and power to us. Psalm 68:35 Acts 1:4
-Pentecostal power–I get tired of seeing manufactured power that calls itself the power of God but it is nothing more than flesh pretending to be God. I want to see a sovereign move of God in the way that only God can move and we couldn’t duplicate it even if we wanted to do so. In Acts 1:4 Jesus told his followers to go to Jerusalem and wait for the power to come. Now if he told us that today, we would all check our calendars and say we didn’t really have the time. How long will this take we would ask. Jesus said tarry until….what happened was an outpouring of the HG that saw thousands saved and many miracles. This is revival power that only comes from waiting on God.
Quote: Ben Patterson says in his book “Deepening Your Conversation with God” that “What happens to us while we pray is at least as important as the things we pray for.”
-One of the things that happens to us is that He imparts to us all we need to serve Him. We gain spiritual power to live for God, to handle problems and to die out to flesh. Whether you feel it or not you receive from God by spending time in His presence in prayer. You don’t always feel anything, but strength, faith, and power is transferred to you as you pray. God meets needs in your life that you may not ever realize you have. The palsied man wanted healing, but Jesus said, “You’re sins are forgiven.” Whether or not you are interceding for others or personal needs, there is an interaction that takes place in the Spirit—a transfer of power.
Ex: Elijah stood in the opening of the cave talking to God. He was discouraged, but when he got though talking to God he had strength to get back into the fight and to finish his work.
In prayer, Jesus was strengthened to complete his earthly mission at Calvary.
God also give us authority over sicknesses and the authority we need to deliver people. Remember Jesus said, “You have not because you ask not.” We only need to ask Him.
– Another power is the power to enable us to walk with God.
Power to Keep Law Given
Ludwig Nommensen, a pioneer missionary to the Batak tribesmen, was told that he could stay for two years, during which time he studied the customs and traditions that ruled the people. At the end of that time the chief asked him if there was anything in the Christian religion that differed from the traditions of the Batak. “We, too, have laws that say we must not steal, nor take our neighbor’s wife, nor bear false witness,” the chief said.
The missionary answered quietly, “My Master gives the power to keep His laws.” The chief was startled. “Can you teach my people that?” he asked. “No, I cannot, but God can give them that power if they ask for it and listen to His Word.”
The missionary was permitted to stay another six months, during which time he taught just one thing—the power of God. At the end of that time, the chief said, “Stay; your law is better than ours. Ours tells us what we ought to do. Your God says. “Come, I will walk with you and give you strength to do the good thing.” “
There are now about 450,000 Batak Christians, with their own independent church organizations.
2. We partake of God’s nature and we learn to know God in our waiting time. Spending time in the presence of the Lord smoothes out the rough edges of our personalities. The Bible tells us that Moses was the meekest man of his time. He certainly didn’t start out that way. I believe it is because he spent so much time in the presence of the Lord. The love we show others is the love we ourselves receive in prayer.
3. Emotional healing takes place in your waiting time in prayer. Wounds and abuse of the past are healed in the presence of the Lord. The song says: In the presence of Jehovah…troubles vanish, hearts are mended in the presence of the King.
Because God rules over time, He is able to reach back into the past and heal what was broken. There are no boundaries with God, even those of time. We only have to ask.
4. Gaining a sensitive spirit to God and those around us is also what we gain through much time in prayer and waiting of God. We become aware of the needs of those around us and are able to speak a word of encouragement or wisdom to them. I suppose most importantly we become more attuned to God and what he’s doing and his manifest presence. I recall in Hungary in a worship service where the place was filled with angels and I saw the Lord sitting enthroned in the middle of all our praise. Becoming sensitive to the movements of God is the greatest reward of prayer. I think one of the sadder scriptures is in Genesis where Jacob said that God was in this place and I knew it not. I never want to miss God when He shows up.
The best prize we gain, because we seek the Lord, is God Himself. He is the pearl of great price. He is the treasure in the field and worth selling all to gain. All of us need to learn to wait on the Lord in prayer and to listen for His voice. We must wait with a humble and submissive heart and listen with an expectant attitude. The more we wait on the Lord, the more we will learn of Him and His ways. We gain strength and power as we learn to wait on the Lord.