Before leaving our study on obstacles to answered prayer, let’s be clear about one thing: some of our unanswered prayers have been answered. The answer is ‘wait’. But because we don’t like the answer, we keep hoping God will have a change of heart. The truth is God won’t change His mind to accommodate us. So we have two options:
(1) Keep complaining to Him.
(2) Start cooperating with Him.
When the prophet Habakkuk needed an answer to his prayers in order to give direction to Israel, what did God tell him? Wait! ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it… Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.’ (Habakkuk 2:2–3 NIV)
God works according to His own plan and schedule, and He won’t be rushed. When you try to get ahead of Him you always end up in trouble. Abraham did that, and the end result was Ishmael. That’s when Abraham’s troubles began in earnest! Other times God answers our prayers and says, ‘No.’ He knows what you can handle and when you’ll be ready to handle it, and He won’t give it to you before then.
Paul said, ‘Three times I pleaded with the Lord… But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”’ (2 Corinthians 12:8–9 NIV) Instead of delivering Paul from his problem, God used it to develop him. Without his thorn in the flesh to counterbalance his great talent and potential pride, Paul wouldn’t have been nearly so effective in the service of God. Think about it!