How to Pray in Active Waiting by Karen Bates
I am horrible at waiting. I don’t always hate waiting itself, but I have expectations. When something is not done in the timeframe I expect, I get an attitude — and keep waiting.
Right now, we are all waiting for the pandemic to pass. Social distancing, quarantining, and staying home are taking a toll on many of us. How do we endure the wait?
One of my best lessons about waiting came from learning how to grill a steak properly. For me, a perfect steak is medium well — just a hint of pink.
The first time I grilled steak, it was a disaster. It appeared to be just right — the juices were bubbling, the grill marks were there, and it smelled divine. Then I cut into it — it was blood-red and cold to the touch. Not one who is easily defeated, I talked to some seasoned grillers. They all suspected the same thing: the heat was too high.
“You have to wait for a steak to come to perfection. The high heat cooks it deceptively,” one of the grillers told me.
“It looks ready on the outside but is still raw on the inside. High heat cuts down the wait time, but it does not thoroughly cook the meat.”
I didn’t like hearing I was impatient.
Waiting isn’t bad; it can be a time of renewal. In Isaiah 40:31, Scripture tells us, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Being renewed gives you strength for the journey. But sometimes, I find myself getting tired, because I am working to do what God said he would do, instead of waiting on God.
Earlier this year, I ran my first 5k race. I trained for the race, but halfway through, I found myself a little tired. However, when I saw the finish line, something happened to my weary body — I got a second wind. I didn’t even stop to take pictures with the signs of famous women along the route. I just kept running, going around people, staying focused on finishing. When I get tired of waiting, I imagine God renews my strength, just like my strength was renewed when I saw the finish line. Waiting is always part of the process.
Waiting is about preparing for what is to come. Get ready for what you request! Instead of watching my steak, pressing it down, or flipping it too soon, I left it alone. Instead, I set the table and put out the side dishes for the meal.
Invest in your waiting. I have petitions before God. While waiting, I fast and pray not just for my requests but also for others’ requests. On Fast for Your Future Tuesday, I fast and pray with people, believing God for answers.
Wait well. Learn how to praise God for what you are waiting for. Offering gratitude for what you cannot see may be a challenge. But praising God can change your attitude and perspective.
Are you praying for something? Do you have a request before God? Don’t get discouraged if you are tired of waiting. Just wait —the answer is on the way. Sometimes, waiting is easier said than done, but I am always encouraged by what David says about waiting in Psalms 27:13-14: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Don’t be impatient, like I was with the steak. Wait on the Lord. Because just like I waited for the steak to cook properly, you will be glad you waited for God to give you or send you the perfect answer.
Featured image: “Waiting” by Nicholas Roerich, 1927