Today’s Reading: Luke 1:1-25
Key Verse: “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. ” Luke 1:6-7
Jeanne Olsen, a mother of five from Illinois, took her daughter Kirsten, age 9, out for a mother-daughter breakfast. During their meal, Jeanne courageously asked her daughter, “How do you think I could be a better mom?” Kirsten thought for a moment. “Well, you do yell a lot. I know you’ve been praying about that, but it isn’t really working yet.” (Mother’s Unanswered Prayer for Self-Improvement, Citation: Kevin A. Miller, Wheaton, Illinois)
Why doesn’t prayer seem to “really work” sometimes? How is it we can sincerely ask God to help us and still our prayers seem to go unanswered? I want answers to my prayers right away, don’t you? After all, I think that what I’m praying about it is important and God should answer it right away. But it’s not always in our best interest for God to answer our prayers right away.
It’s not always in our best interest for God to give us what we want right when we want it. Sometimes he delays answering our prayers for our own good. Imagine your five-year-old son says, ”Dad, can I use the chainsaw?” I’m sure you would tell him, “When you get a little older, son.” God often delays answering our prayers because we are not mature enough yet to get what we are asking for.
Being willing to wait for something you want or even need, is a sign of maturity. Not being willing to wait is a sign of immaturity. Might this be why there has been a delay in answering your prayers? Yet, this wasn’t the reason Zechariah and Elizabeth’s answer was delayed. In verses 6 and 9 we see that they were upright and blameless and kept faithfully serving God despite their disgrace and disappointment in not having a child.
I can imagine you are thinking, “You mean if I am right with God and faithfully serving Him that this could cause a delay in my prayer being answered?” As strange as it may seem, yes! God’s delays are not God’s denials! He wanted someone He could trust to not deny Him when there prayers weren’t being answered right away. He wanted to answer Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers in a miraculous way instead. This meant that their answer would not arrive right away.