Prayer - how does God answer it? As you read that question, you might be thinking to yourself that you would love to know how God is going to answer the prayer request you have just sent to Him. Or perhaps you aer thinking about the problem that you have been dealing with for the last week, month or year. Maybe you are asking yourself how the Lord answers the prayer that you offer, the prayer that comes from the deepest recesses of your heart, as you are filled with great anguish over the situation that has developed in your life. And you are thinking, "He is going to give me the answer to my prayer!"
I thought about those very things as I read a Psalm this morning. One verse in particular struck me. "But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness." (Psalm 69:13 ESV) I found this verse by David so amazing. David is struggling with so many different situations in his life. He is offering prayers to God for deliverance from those struggles. He could say at that moment, "Answer me now! You have promised to answer when I call. Well, Lord, I am calling. Now answer me!" (Isn't that how we approach God at times? Not always. But there are those times when we are under great distress or great stress and we feel like we need to "force" God's hand. "Act now!" we say.)
But just when you thing that David is going to try to force God to act, He says, "At an acceptable time..." Not in "my" time, but at an "acceptable" time. The question you might ask (or that I ask) is "What is the 'acceptable' time?" Is it my time or God's time?
David says, "At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness." It is in God's time. It is when He sees that it is time to answer the prayer that I have offered up. To pray this verse (which is a good thing for us to do) calls for us to trust God. To trust God means to accept that He knows what is best for me and my situation and that He will answer the request of my heart in His time and in His way.
Trust - that is a powerful word. "I am trusting Thee Lord, Jesus, trusting only Thee," we sing. To trust in Jesus is wonderful, powerful and difficult. Why so difficult? Because my heart, my life, my situation is before me and is demanding action. "At an acceptable time" answer my prayer, dear Lord. When the time is right (and I beg that this is the acceptable time), answer my prayer. In You and You alone I trust. I think I know what the right answer is, but in reality, You alone know the right answer. I think I know the right time. You alone know when it is truly the right time to answer this prayer.
As you offer up your prayers today, contemplate this verse. "At an acceptable time, O god, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness." Trust in the Lord. Wait for His time. And as you wait, rejoice that you have a God who has not turned His back upon you, even as you wait. Know that He cares for you in His steadfast love. He watches over you day and night, at work or play, at school or home, wherever you find yourself. He is with you, hearing you, caring for you, answering you, in an acceptable time - His time.