I try to be extremely cautious about making one person’s experience with God a prescription for someone else. It’s true that Joshua marched around Jericho seven times and the walls fell down—but that doesn’t mean the same thing will happen if I muster an army for a week-long march. Similarly, while I celebrate how God brought healing to another person, I also know He might not heal me in exactly the same way.
With that said up front, I want to share from personal prayer experience. God may not choose to work this way in your life—but it’s how He’s worked recently in mine. Twice.
Exhibit A: After months of praying … and praying … and praying about something very dear to me—someone I love—I had seen no change. If anything, the situation seemed to get worse. I was beyond discouraged. I knew from Scripture that what I was asking God to do was His will. Nevertheless, there came a point in time when I sensed Him asking me to surrender it to Him. To put my Isaac, as it were, on the altar.
My prayer that evening wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fun. Actually, it was gut-wrenching. It felt sort of like a death.
But, while my heart was twisted in knots and the tears showed no signs of letting up, my phone rang. I didn’t plan to answer it—but out of habit, I looked at caller ID. To my astonishment, it was the person I’d been praying about! As we talked, I heard news that proved beyond any doubt that God was at work.
Not everything changed that night, but a lot did—most of all my hope in God. He had heard my prayers. He was at work in the situation. And He couldn’t have chosen a better time to let me know that. There’s still lots to pray about in this situation—but my confidence is restored.
Exhibit B: As if that weren’t cool enough, however, God did it again, just last night. I was feeling a heavy sense of failure in a certain area of personal ministry. All my efforts in this area seemed to accomplish nothing. Aware that the enemy was trying to take me out, I decided to spend the evening praying, asking God specifically to give me His perspective on the situation.
I don’t always pray this way, but on this occasion, I sat at my laptop and typed out my conversation with God. He led me into areas of confession and repentance. And, wouldn’t you know, just as I was dealing with God about these things, my computer beeped. I had a new Facebook message.
Yeah, I know, I probably shouldn’t be looking at Facebook while I’m praying. Especially about things as serious as I was praying about. But I did look. And what I found shocked me. Once again, the message contained news that proved to me that God was hearing me, and He was working in the situation. And at just the perfect time, He chose to encourage me, in real time, to keep praying and keep trusting.
As I said earlier, I do not mean to suggest that God will work in your life the same way He did in mine. He might. Or He may choose to meet you in an entirely different way. What I do want to suggest, however, is that you don’t give up. That you take your discouragement and defeat to Him. Whatever you’ve got, take it to Him. He hears you. He’s working in response to your prayers. And at just the right time, in just the right way, He will meet you.