As we are told in the Gospel of Luke, Zechariah was serving as the priest to burn incense in the sanctuary of the Lord. The angel then appeared to him and told him that “because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son.” Zechariah responded in disbelief and was struck mute because of his disbelief. [Luke 1:5]
What recently stood out to me was the angel saying that Zechariah’s prayer had been heard and him and Elizabeth would have a son. Zechariah, though, responds in disbelief citing their age. It would seem to me that Zechariah has stopped praying for a child, yet those past prayers are what the angel cites have been heard.
We all want God to do things according to our time. We are impatient and think that we know best. Indeed, we cannot know better than the all-knowing God. He knows what is best. Is giving us what we ask for always the best thing for us? I know that giving my children everything they ask for would not be good for them. Sometimes, they need to wait for the proper time.
As I have heard it said, God’s answers to prayers are: Yes, No, or Not Yet. We need to realize that God is being a loving Father. He knows what is best for us and wants what is best for us. Jesus does teach us to be persistent in prayer. In the Parable of the Persistent Widow [Luke 18:1-8], Jesus tells us how a dishonest judge will give a just decision with persistent requests and how God will do even better than the dishonest judge.
It seems that Jesus tells us how persistent prayer speeds up God’s answer to our prayer. Perhaps, it is because our prayer helps to prepare us to receive the gift that we are asking for. God is able to groom our hearts to receive the gift. And the wait for the gift will make us that much more appreciate of it.
God’s timing is best, but let’s pray that He prepares us to receive His gifts ASAP!