I could hear her talking to herself as she played quietly in the crib with her favorite stuffed animals. I was in the guest bedroom directly beneath hers, so every sound that my granddaughter Riley made, I could hear. Soon I turned back to my morning Bible reading. Within 10 minutes, her talking to herself changed to yelling for mommy to come into her room. Apparently Riley thought it was time for them to get up.
“mommy…mommy…Mommy…MOMMY….MOMMY!! Each time she said ‘mommy’, it was louder, and she spoke it with determination, frustration, and with a pleading in her voice. My daughter was in the adjacent Jack-n-Jill room, so it took her a minute to wake up and respond, but those footsteps definitely made their way to Riley’s crib, and the hollering quickly ended. Her immediate needs had been met.
This familiar interaction that we all as parents have dealt with, made me consider how closely this relates to prayer time with our Heavenly Father. When we want something, we know to ask Him. We are earnest, honest, and hopeful. But when we don’t think He has answered, we ask again, this time more fervently and passionately. Now by this time, if in your opinion He hasn’t answered, it could be for a variety of reasons: He already has answered, you just can’t see it yet; He is currently answering and it takes a minute to get back to you; or His timing hasn’t come to answer you yet. Oh, and there’s the possibility that you just don’t like the answer He gave, so you’re trying again.
“‘and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me’, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:18
The funny thing about ‘time’ as we know it, it isn’t the same as God’s timing. There may be a hundred factors involved in how He answers and when, so for us to keep crying out won’t necessarily change His mind, but will show Him how determined we are to know His answer.
So, we continue to ask. For some of us, it has been 20-30 years that we’ve been praying about something or for someone, and with no visible results. Is it time to stop? Surely by now God knows what we are asking for and is tired of hearing it repeatedly, right? I tell you, PRESS ON! Don’t give up! Until you either see or know His answer, I’d say, get even bolder. The time to stop asking is when you have received His reply, whether you like what it is or not.
“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
My granddaughter knew that eventually her mom would respond, but was determined to make it happen sooner than later by getting louder; and if she had added the tears (she has learned they produce desired results), then Mommy would’ve come even faster. With God, that same approach probably won’t work, but persistence will yield fruit, and it will be the best answer for that situation – for multiple reasons that will likely remain unknown to you, but known to your Heavenly Father.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
God does not sleep. He does not go on vacation and mute his phone. Our Heavenly Father is always ready and waiting for us to humbly bring our heart’s needs and desires to Him, so that He can then work on supplying us the answer. I would go so far as to say that since He already knows our requests before we even think about them, His answer is in the wings: He often holds back that reply to teach us patience, faith, or to trust in His timing; OR, He is waiting on someone’s else’s part of the story to become entwined with ours.
“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.”
While you are waiting, remember that you are His child, and He will never forsake you, nor leave you, nor ignore you. Keep playing out this life, loving those who are put on your path, and sharing with others what God has blessed you with. But also watch, listen, and be ready. Soon, my friend, you will know His reply, and it will be perfect.
Food for thought: FATHERS: “No man stands taller than when he stoops to help a child.” – Abraham Lincoln
MOTHERS: ““There will be so many times you feel like you failed. But in the eyes, heart, and mind of your child – you are super mom.” – Stephanie Precourt
Fun facts: Toddlers watch and will mimic what their parents say and do. Therefore, be very aware what you say and do!
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Child at play and in prayer