It happens to everyone. You are trying to get a hold of someone on the phone but they are unavailable. Then when you are unavailable, they call you. A rigorous game of phone tag ensues for days on end.
You can’t seem to get a hold of one another at the same time. It could be days, maybe even weeks before you finally connect. It’s a pain to delete all of those messages in your voicemail. But eventually you connect with one another.
Thankfully, it’s not that way with God. He is readily available to every believer at all times. He’s never too busy for us. So why does the Bible talk about waiting for the Lord so often, especially in the Psalms?
There are reasons in our Christian walk that we must learn to wait upon the Lord. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons we must wait upon the Lord until he answers us in our prayers.
Too Busy for God
One of the biggest problems when we call upon the Lord is not him. It’s us. Let’s face it. Most of us are too busy to connect with God every day. We do rushed prayers in the morning for of requests. But that’s not really connecting with God.
Of course he hears our prayers. But giving him a laundry list of things we need is not two-wait communication. Our morning monologues to God don’t connect for conversation. Our schedules keep us from experiencing intimacy with God on a whole new level.
But God wants to meet with us, and not be something in the background. He wants to be our main focus. He wants to commune with us, to have a conversation. When’s the last time you listen for God’s voice?
There’s also those “emergency prayers.” Sometimes we rarely talk to God unless we need him for something. Perhaps you’re in a plane and you get worried when turbulence hits we feel like the plane is going down. Maybe you are driving your car to work and have to swerve to avoid an accident with an eighteen wheeler.
Whatever the case, many times we overfill our schedules and we don’t leave any time to connect with God on a deep level. We are left with nonchalant devotions and quick prayers. But that doesn’t deepen our relationship with him.
We need an intervention. We need to reach God. We must become desperate for him in his presence. But that doesn’t happen in five minutes. It’s time to clear your schedule for an hour and dig in, to wait on the Lord.
It’s for Us
Many Christians don’t think waiting on the Lord is a waste of time. But in practice they don’t have time for God. It’s a lost practice. Waiting on the Lord takes time and effort, and not everyone is willing to spend the time to meet with the Lord on a deeper level.
But waiting on the Lord is more for us. David talks about the benefits of waiting on the Lord. God teaches us as we wait on him (Psalm 25 15). God is never late when we wait on him (Psalm 40:1). From a human perspective we think that waiting on the Lord means we are there but he is not.
But waiting on the Lord has nothing to do with God being late. It has to do with us focusing on him and waiting for his timing in our lives. It builds patience in us (Romans 8:25). It’s a faith building experience that builds confidence in us that God will come through at just the right time (Psalm 27:14).
Waiting on the Lord quiets our mind and brings peace and solitude (Psalm 37:7; 62:5). God gives guidance as we wait on him (Psalm 25:5). It’s not always easy to wait on the Lord. Waiting can be a long, drawn out process (Psalm 69:3).
It’s often a road not traveled because people don’t realize the benefits right away. It takes time out of our busy lives and schedules. Many are not willing to put in the time for all of these benefits. But it’s more than worth the wait.
Learning to Wait
God gives us ways to connect with him. Communion is an untapped moment for many Christians. I know of churches that boast they can get through the entire communion portion of the service in five minutes or less. But that’s not the goal of communion.
When I prepare for the Lord’s Supper I think of a subject related to it. My time spent with the Lord is on that theme. For instance, in my personal experience being a quadriplegic and believing in God’s promise to heal my body, I often think of the bread which represents Christ’s broken body.
Isaiah tells us that the wounds he suffered are for the healing of the nations (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24). So I often think of the bread and my healing. I think of the promises of healing throughout the Scriptures and connect them to partaking of the bread, my healing promised and fulfilled.
Another way to wait on the Lord is through prayer in the Spirit. Instead of using your prayer time to ask for your requests, take some time to wait on the Lord in silence. Pray in the Holy Spirit and seek him, casting aside everything else for these moments.
Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated or eloquent. In fact, it’s better to be like David and come genuinely before the Lord. He already knows how you feel and what you are thinking. So spend this time glorifying him and seeking his presence as you wait on him.
Sometimes the only way to really wait on the Lord is to combine prayer with fasting. Fasting allows us to empty ourselves of all of our needs and desires and focus on God’s needs and desires. We give up food in order to receive from the Lord and be filled with his presence.
These are just a few of the activities you can do to wait on the Lord in his presence. God wants to spend time with you. He wants to enjoy your presence in his presence. But you can’t be somewhere else while you are trying to seek him. You must be there completely. Try not to let your mind wander or fall asleep during this devoted and dedicated time.
Hearing His Voice
Sometimes we wait to hear God’s audible voice before we think we have waited in his presence long enough. But God speaks to us in many different ways. Each of us needs to learn how to listen to his Spirit and hear his prompting.
The Most Common Way, Christians hear from God is through the Bible, his Word. We call it his Word because he spoke it to the 40 writers of the Bible and they wrote down his words. As we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit explains and illuminates what we are reading to us.
The Spirit applies God’s Word to our hearts. Often times when I am reading the Holy Spirit will grab my attention in a verse or two. What I am reading lines up with wisdom for my current situation. I find God speaking to that situation through what I have just read.
Another way God speaks to us is through meditation on God’s Word. I’m not talking about Eastern meditation where you empty yourself completely and listen to whatever speaks to you. Biblical meditation is muttering the words of Scripture, slowly repeating what God is teaching you.
Find a verse or short passage in Scripture that applies to your circumstances in life. Slowly repeat what the Bible says to you. Repeat the promises of God. As you are continuing to mutter them and repeat them, apply them to yourself by replacing the person in Scripture with you.
Biblical meditation helps us to solidify God’s promises for our situations in life. We hear from the Spirit as we continue to apply it directly to us. The Holy Spirit administers God’s promises to our lives. We can speak these promises and memorize these verses by breathing out Scripture through the words we speak in our meditations.
Still another way the Holy Spirit speaks to us is through mature Christians who know God’s Word through and through. They speak God’s wisdom to us and words of knowledge. The Spirit uses them in powerful ways to minister to our need. We must be open to hearing from these trusted sources of God’s voice.
For some people, just like the Old Testament prophets, God speaks in an audible voice. I don’t know why this is rare in our day. All of the prophets were writing down God’s audible words to them throughout their ministries. There’s no reason why we cannot hear his voice audibly today.
God wants to speak with us, to commune with us every day. So we must be ready to hear his voice. We must wait on the Lord and seek him. Often times we are too distracted to truly press and and meet with the Lord.
Spend some time in God’s presence each day. Soak in his Spirit’s words and guidance. When you schedule time to meet with the Lord avoid distractions. Find a quiet place to meet with him. Leave a comment and describe how you wait on the Lord. Do you have any tips or helps to keep distractions away?