Psalm 80:4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
Can God be angry with our prayers? Perhaps His silence is mistaken for anger. Do you have a prayer you have been earnestly praying but have yet to receive an answer about? I do – several. Perhaps yours is for a loved one to come to Christ, a child to turn over a new leaf, your boss to be more fair and recognize your hard work, that woman who gossips about you to stop. You pray, and nothing seems to change. Whatever yours are, be assured that God does hear them.
I watched a mother in the grocery store with her two young children. They were in front of me as we were waiting in the line to check out where ,of course, all the sugary snacks are lined up within easy reach. It was that or the aisle with all the tabloid magazines – I don’t think so. As she was placing her items on the conveyor belt, the kids were grabbing stuff off the shelves, pulling at her blouse, trying to get her attention. At first she’d say “No.”, then after a few more minutes she said, “What did I already say?” The lady in front of her was taking forever as the clerk called for the third price check. The kids were less zealous, but still eyeing the goodies and grabbing one to show her with pleading looks. After a while she set her jaw and just began to ignore them. I asked myself, is that how God reacts to me?
At times it can seem that way. Perhaps it is because I keep asking for the wrong things – things I think I want but He knows I do not need. Perhaps I asked with the wrong motives. But more than likely, I have just refused to hear the answer He has already given me. God does answer “No.” And I have experienced Him telling me, “What did I just say?” Is it wrong to keep pleading?
Our Lord is patient and loving, but He wants us to grow in our relationship with Him. Perhaps He is telling me I need to change my attitude or my perspective. Maybe it is not so much praying that someone or something will change as it is that my reaction to them will change so I can see them or the situation as He does. Yielding to Him and being willing to be molded should be my focus. He can handle the rest. Not that it is wrong to pray for others, but when we keep picking our old problems, hurts and disappointments up off the shelf, why do we expect the answer to be different? Lord, help me lay them at Your feet and not reach for them again, knowing in Your perfect timing, You will provide. You always do and always will.