Even those who "pray without ceasing" sometimes may wonder if God actually hears them.
"When will my father beat cancer?"
"Will my son ever be free from addiction?"
"How much longer will I be without a job?"
"Why hasn't my sister accepted Christ yet?"
Times Square Church pastor and author Carter Conlon says when God delays in answering prayer, we can be sure He is working in the hearts of all the people affected by the situation. Conlon writes about this concept in his new book, It's Time to Pray, released by GPC Books, an imprint of Times Square Church's partnership with Charisma House.
"Patiently waiting for God's answer is not always something we like to do," Conlon writes in It's Time to Pray. "I'm afraid that many believers, especially American Christians, want instant answers. Our flesh, like the culture around us, wants instant gratification. However, God often works in our lives through the process of delay. Let's put it this way: if it is better for us to receive an instant or quick answer to our prayer, God will certainly give it. Yet we need to understand that 'better for us' does not necessarily mean physically beneficial to us as much as spiritually beneficial."
As a biblical reference, Conlon points to 2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
"The Lord is always interested in maturing us in our faith—bringing about things in our lives that groom us to be more like Jesus," he says. "So if an answer to prayer is immediate, it is for our benefit. In the same way, we need to understand that God often delays the answer to our prayers to benefit us spiritually and physically, and for the Lord's greater glory. Faith does not develop overnight, nor does it grow by a life of ease. In my own life, the Lord has taught me about trust and faith in all the delays!"
For those experiencing delays in their prayer requests, Conlon has a piece of truth-filled advice.
"Don't be discouraged," he says. "And whatever you do, don't give up! In order for faith to grow, it has to be tried and tested before you see God deliver and bring about His salvation. God uses delays to bring us to the point where our trust is solely in Him. He also uses delays so others can observe your walk with the Lord over time. One of the greatest witnesses for Christ is when people see how a believer responds to a difficulty in his or her life! If they see you patiently waiting on God—filled with peace as you endure a trial—it helps them see that what you have in Christ is real!"
Times Square Church in Manhattan is an interdenominational congregation with more than 10,000 people in attendance who represent over 100 different nationalities. Conlon continues to be a voice for God far beyond the pulpit of Times Square Church by speaking at numerous conferences across the country and around the world.
Conlon's weekly radio spots air on 1010 WINS, the nation's longest-running all-news station, and his one-minute devotionals, "It's Time to Pray," and 30-minute program, "A Call to the Nation," are currently syndicated on over 350 Christian radio stations worldwide. He is the author of several books, including The 180 Degree Christian, Fear Not and Unshakable.
For more information on "It's Time to Pray," visit itstimetopraybook.com.
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