Those who know God pray. We pray short prayers, prayers of urgency, thankful prayers, long prayers in waiting rooms.
And we love getting answers to those prayers? Especially when the answers line up with our expectations.
Does God always answer?
Sometimes God grants our petitions. But sometimes he says, “no.”
And there are other times when we pray, we hear no response. For days, weeks, and sometimes years. But he has answered, the answer is,“Wait.”
Often this third response is the hardest. Because although we don’t like getting a “no” answer, at least we’re not in limbo. And while you’re waiting, there’s always hope God will answer your prayer.
May I share one of my prayers from 1982? I had just found out my sister was missing.
What do you pray when someone you love drops out of your life? And what if she is the mother of three small children?
We pray specific prayers
I prayed that we would know what happened to Peggy. Of course I prayed for her safety, but that prayer morphed as time moved on.
We never believed she walked out on her children, as her husband claimed. You don’t try to get full custody and then turn around and leave.
Going through my life with unanswered questions necessitated drawing close to God. So close I can hear his heart beating. And I have to say it’s in the painful times, I’ve seen him more clearly.
God prepared us
In 2004, we went to court for my sister’s murder trial. The year leading up to it was a year of preparation. God alone knew how difficult it would be, almost impossible.
Feeling helpless for so long, I wanted to feel more in control and I thought information would do that for me. I was wrong. So wrong. With each piece of information I learned, I felt worse.
We still don’t have answers to our many questions. Often we’re asking the wrong questions.
In 2004, we stood over an empty grave to memorialize someone we missed for over 22 years.
It’s hard enough grieving for a loved one. When you don’t get to say goodbye, that makes it harder. But when your loved one is killed?
Only God can help me through that. His son was murdered.
And how did God help me? By being in it with me, by not standing back.
I remember the day I testified. The attorney assured me it would not be difficult. But at that time, doing the smallest thing was difficult. She was my sister.
“You just need to identify your nephews in the pictures she sent you. And we’ll need you to point to your brother-in-law and tell us who he is.”
I had to identify him? I didn’t want to even look at him.
I had asked scores of people to lift me up in prayer. God answered those prayers.
God was there
The officer led me to the waiting room. Left alone, I began to quietly pray and before I even realized it, I started singing hymns I had known for years. I felt God in that room with me. In fact I felt like I was in his throne room sitting on his lap.
Lord, can I sit on your lap?
for I am very scared
Fears are looming large to me
and I am unprepared.
Just let me sit there safely
and feel your arms around
And when I’m feeling stronger
I promise I’ll get down.
I hear Him answer tenderly,
while opening His arms to me
And on His face I see a smile
as He says, Come and sit a while.
When the officer came back to escort me in, I was ready. I didn’t go into that courtroom alone, God was with me.
He steadied my hand when I pointed. He calmed me as I talked about those photographs.
Later my brother, George remarked, “I don’t know what it was, but when you came into the courtroom, you glowed.”
God gives peace
All I know is God gave me a peace that passed all understanding.
I don’t know what you may be facing today or what you prayers are. But let me assure you, God will answer. He may answer your prayers as you’d like.
He may say “no” to your heartfelt request.
But he may also say “wait.” Please know if it is the latter, you will not wait alone.
How do I know? He promised.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and published author. Some of her books include her memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, Real Love: Guaranteed to Last, and children’s books, including: Emma’s Wish, The Crooked House. She recently published Droplets, a poetry book for those in grief. Anne has also authored 42 published Bible Studies and over 30 articles with christianbiblestudies.com/Today’s Christian Woman. Anne is also a regular contributor to www.crosswalk.com. Her poetry is available in gift stores throughout the U.S. as well as in 23 countries. While Anne enjoys being a poet, speaker and published author, her favorite title is still, “Grandma.”
To find out more about Anne you can visit her at: