When I am waiting on God, I want to do anything but pray. Prayer seems unproductive. Yet in truth, it is one of our most powerful tools for when we are asked to wait. When you don’t hear God right away regarding your requests, do you pray? If so, what do you pray? When you struggle with what to pray, here are some prayers to get you started:
1. Lord, help me to wait.
Waiting is hard, isn’t it? Out of all the fruits of the spirit, patience comes in last for me every time. It can be discouraging when you feel like God is ignoring you, but Scripture tells us He is working on your behalf for that request. I believe that part of the joy in heaven will be recognizing all the ways God answered our requests in ways that we didn’t see on earth. Be patient. It’s hard, but in the end it will change your character into someone more like Christ.
Lord, help me to wait with hope and eager expectation, knowing that you are always with me and working my situation out for good.
2. Lord, help me to trust.
This is an equally difficult thing for me to do. Perhaps it is because the Christian life has been far from easy for me, or perhaps it is out of my need to be in control. Trusting is easier said than done. When I put my trust in God, I take my hands off of the situation, believing God’s hands remain steady. When I cannot hear or see those hands, my tendency is to want to reach out and resuming control. In His silence, God still speaks, but I have to stop what I am doing to hear it. Praying for an increase in trust allows me to slow down enough to hear what God says in His silence.
Lord, help me to trust in your plan and let go of the urge to control my own life. Because you are all good, all wise and all loving, I can put my trust fully in you.
3. Lord, help me to see.
When I am waiting on God, it can feel like He doesn’t see me. I feel invisible, going through the motions without a Savior to guide my way. Yet God is around us working in our lives as well as in others’ all the time. I need to be in tune with the Spirit to see where He is at work. At a young age, I needed eyeglasses since my eyes had difficulty seeing what was right in front of me. In the same way, I need a new pair of “spiritual eyeglasses” that help me to refine and sharpen my eyes to see the finer details of life. The more I mature in my faith, the more I train my eyes to look past my immediate reality and see what the world doesn’t want me to see—the work of a holy God who stands in control of our lives and of the world.
Father, give me eyes to see what you are already doing in my life. I pray for a heavenly perspective on my situation, not an earthly one.
4. Lord, help me to serve.
Often when I find myself waiting on God, I want to quit everything. Like a spoiled child who didn’t win a ball game, I kick the ground and cross my arms over my chest, pitching a fit in rebellion against His silence. In church, I want to quit other activities, punishing other volunteers because I feel like I’m not valued or useful. But that is the opposite of what I want to be. I want to live in pursuit of excellence, doing everything God has given me to the best of my ability. When I am waiting for God to answer, my best response is one of humble obedience, so God can trust me with my unanswered requests, for “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
Lord, help me not to be so consumed with this season of waiting that I neglect the very good work you have for me.
5. Lord, help me continue to read your Word.
Reading the word should be my lifeline when I don’t feel like God is listening to me. Yet it’s at times like these when I want to stop my normal devotional time. I start to believe the lie that God’s work in the past has ceased in the present. Reading the Word is a reminder to me that God does work, even in the most unlikely circumstances and impossible situations.
Lord, give me a hunger and thirst for your Word especially in this season of waiting, and draw me to Scripture that reminds me that you are here in the waiting with me.
6. Lord, help me to not grow bitter.
Anger, when gone unchecked, takes root in our hearts, causing us to grow bitter. It is not easy to detect bitterness, but if you ever recall the potentially painful events where God did not answer your prayers, consider what emotions arise when you think about it. At whom is your anger directed? God? Someone else? Yourself? Once you have identified the source of your anger, you can begin to uproot the bitterness that has taken hold, and with God’s help be rid of it.
Lord, forgive my bitter heart. I repent of the bitterness I feel toward _________. Will you release me from the burden of my bitterness? And please shield my heart from further bitterness.
7. Lord, help me not to compare.
When God doesn’t answer me the way I would like, my eyes fall away from Jesus and land on everyone else. I start to compare myself to others. I often wonder whether God loves others more than me because their prayers were answered while mine were not (or so I thought). Everyone on occasion falls into the trap of comparison. Even the apostle Peter fell into this trap when talking with Jesus: “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. He was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper to ask, “Lord, who is going to betray You?”
When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” We don’t always understand why God chooses to answer some prayers and not others. But it is not for us to know. As Jesus replied, “what is that to you?” He says the same to me when I grow impatient. God is God. He will answer prayers according to His will, not mine, as much as I’d like it to be otherwise.
Lord, help me keep my eyes on you. Help me see in the moment when I compare my life to others and repent.
8. Lord, help me hold onto hope.
When I don’t receive a response to my request with what I think is a reasonable timeframe, my first instinct is to jump ahead of God, trying to put my plans into motion without him. When I hear silence, it’s not a yes, but it isn’t a no either. Yet I normally jump to a ‘no’ conclusion. I need to ask God to help me hope that He will answer on my behalf, but I have to keep holding onto hope, instead of despair.
Lord, thank you for the hope you give me. Help me cling to it in the hard moments of waiting.
9. Lord, help me not to revert to the familiar.
I can only imagine what the disciples felt once Jesus died and didn’t come back to life right away. During those three days when he laid in the tomb, the disciples probably doubted all that Jesus had told them. Their circumstances outweighed holding onto God’s promises. Where does Jesus find them: fishing. He found them back where they began, because it was familiar. When I am waiting on God, I don’t want to go back to what is comfortable. This lessens my opportunity to trust God. Let me wait in expectant faith to see what God is doing, whether it is in my timing or not.
Lord, give me the patience I need to wait with hope and joy. Help me stay on the path you have set for me.
10. Lord, help me to cling to you.
When all else fails and my anger gets the best of me, I need an emotional reset, a way to shift my perspective from myself onto God. Even if my requests don’t get answered the way I would like, when I get into the habit of running to God instead of running to other temporal pleasures, God will honor my choices and our relationship will be strengthened, which is the best result of all.
Lord, above all, I know that one good thing about waiting is it gives me an opportunity to cling to you. Help me do that today, trusting you and seeing your goodness.
Waiting on God is difficult. No matter how many times I’m asked to wait on Him, it never gets easier. But the best I can do is train myself to wait in faith that God is at work, and to wait actively on His behalf, storming the gates of heaven with my requests and trusting him for the results.
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