Why does the answer to our prayers sometimes arrive late?

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Many of us feel discouraged whenever the answer to our prayers seem to arrive late. We feel desperate for an answer to our questions and come to God in prayer to inquire of Him, but we don't receive a swift reply. Have you ever felt like God is slow to respond?

If you have, I have something to share to you.

When the answers come late

Many, if not all, of us have experienced praying for something only to see the answer to our prayer arrive seemingly late. Some pray for provision to pay for hospital bills, only to see the money come after the loved one is pronounced dead. Some pray for urgent help in crisis, only to see the crisis pass and properties or lives damaged before the response comes.

I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about: you're praying but the answer arrives way past the time or moment of your need. Or perhaps, you're praying but the answer is delayed and you can't move on to the next step because God doesn't seem to reply fast enough for you.

Friends, I understand you. Things like this happen. But since our God has His purpose in mind for everything that happens, you can be sure there are reasons why delays happen and prayer answers sometimes arrive late according to our timeline.

Reasons to hope

Friends, the truth is that God is never delayed, nor is He too early. The Bible says God does what He wants, and since He is good, righteous and just, we can be sure that what He wants will always be the best for us. What we perceive as "delays" are actually God's ways to bring about His desired end.

To help you find hope and purpose for the delays that are happening to you, here are some things you need to know.

1) Delays can be caused by the devil

Daniel, a man of God during Babylon's reign, experienced a tremendous delay. Early in the book of Daniel, we find him quickly receiving God's revelation for the king's dream (see Daniel 2). Later, however, we find him praying but not receiving the reply as quickly as that.

Daniel 10 tells us that he prayed and fasted for 21 days before the answer arrived. God actually sent His reply to Daniel's prayer as soon as the latter prayed, but the devil prevented the answer from arriving (see Daniel 10:13).

2) Delays should cause us to pursue God harder

Daniel, seeing no reply for quite some time after he prayed, didn't get discouraged. He didn't stop praying; rather he kept praying harder. Remember that he fasted 21 days or until the answer arrived. He grew all the more persistent to receive God's answer.

3) Delays should cause us to check our hearts

While Daniel showed us that we should be persistent in prayer until the answer arrives, James tells us we should also check our hearts before we expect to receive any reply from God:

"You ask, and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your passions." (James 4:3)

Maybe we aren't receiving what we are praying for because we don't have the right heart. God won't give us something that will be dangerous to our relationship with Him. As such, we must ask according to His desires, which are good for us.

A final word

Friends, don't be discouraged when the answers to your prayers seem delayed. God loves you and wants what is best for you. I pray that the delays you experience cause you to press into Him harder.

"This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. So if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have whatever we asked of Him." (1 John 5:14-15)

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