Luke 11:5-10 (NIV)
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Just after giving the model of prayer, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus uses a story to press home another dimension of prayer. He describes a man who goes to a friend late at night to borrow some bread. The friend doesn’t want to help, but ends up giving him the bread because the man continues to ask. The point, according to Jesus, is that we should keep asking, keep searching, and keep knocking because only then will we get all that we need. But God already knows our needs, so why make us go through the continual asking, searching, and knocking?
Maybe Jesus knows that we need something that can only come through persistent waiting. Just as we can’t display love without first having someone to love, we can’t develop perseverance without first having something through which we persevere. God wants to develop patience and perseverance in us, and He has chosen to do so through moments and even seasons of waiting. So when we intentionally and habitually avoid waiting, we rob ourselves of becoming the person God created us to be.
Jesus isn’t asking us to always choose the longest checkout line at the store. But following Him sometimes means that we are asked to do things that are contrary to our impatient nature. What if we spent time praying in those traffic jams rather than fuming? What if a confusing time of indecision about the future is God’s call on us to wait on Him in prayer? His lack of answering prayer may be His best way of drawing us to Him to keep asking. We will only know if we start waiting.
J.I. Packer, a Canadian Christian theologian once said, “When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.” Sometimes we do something just to do something. Maybe we would be better served by doing nothing and just waiting. We need to trust that God will work out all things for our own good.
What makes you so annoyed at waiting?
Where do you think God may be calling you to wait and persevere in prayer?
May we approach our times of waiting as a chance to draw closer to God. We will be rewarded for our waiting many times over. By not waiting, it usually leads to us settling for something less than what God intended for us and I don’t think that is the kind of treasure that any of us wants.