Prayer Is Not A Traffic Light

I often think of this old children’s song I learned in Sunday school when I think about prayer. Strange perhaps, but it equated our prayers with a traffic light. Green meant God said yes, yellow meant we must wait and red of course meant no. The song went something like this:

Sometimes God answers yes when we pray.

Sometimes God answers wait when we pray.

Sometimes God answer no, just because He loves us so.

Sometimes God answers no when we pray.

The idea of immediate and clear answers to our prayers is an appealing thought but often not reality. Do not get me wrong, I believe there are many, many times in our lives when prayers are answered immediately and clearly. We often can point to a situation or concern and speak to how God worked in to make Himself and his will known.

But what of unanswered prayers? What of confusing situations where you thought the answer was a “yes” but then turned to a “wait” and then a “no?” What if the point of prayer is just so we lay down our requests to Him and surrender our will to ever know what God has in mind? Do we not trust that God has a good and perfect plan for us (Jer. 29:11-13)?

Beth Moore wrote about prayer in a study I did this past summer that made me think about our finite minds and God’s infinite wisdom:

“…He’s answered you above and beyond what you asked on some of the very requests you assumed He answered negatively. If time and opportunity have passed, we assume God said no. Sometimes we are right. Sometimes we’re wrong. Our finite minds simply cannot grasp God’s infinite ways of answering prayer. You have no idea how many times you’ve prayed and God’s answered affirmatively but is awaiting the proper time for its revelation.” Beth Moore, Stepping Up: A Journey Through The Psalms of Ascent

Our job in prayer is to be faithful to take our concerns, requests, and honest cries to Him. This is sweet surrender. It is difficult to relinquish control over situations that pain us or the desire for God to clue us in on His plans. Yet, I’ve come to understand that my job is just to pray. His job is to take care of the rest. Deuteronomy 29:29 confirms this in my heart.

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of the law.”

It is thrilling to think God has secrets. There is something about this that excites me. It’s a great mystery for Him to unfold in my life. While the secret things belong to Him alone, my responsibility is to continue to pray. Isaiah 62:6-7 says to “give the Lord no rest until he completes his work.”

Isaiah 62:6-7 “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your wall; they will pray day and night continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD. Give the LORD no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.” (NLT)

If we are to fervently pray in a way that gives the Lord no rest until His work is done, this can only mean our task is to continue to pray and seek Him with every breath we take. I encourage you to join with me in surrendering our need to understand God’s will for us by providing clear answers to our prayers when we do not seem to find one.  Take no rest; continue praying to the One who has secrets to unveil in your life. May God take you on an amazing adventure where he will one day reveal secrets and shape your life in ways that you cannot even imagine because our minds are too finite to understand his infinite wisdom in how he responds to our prayers.


One Comment to “Prayer Is Not A Traffic Light”

  1. Enjoyed this post. Reminded of someone who asked, ‘How small is your prayer?’

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