Who likes the silent treatment? I certainly don’t. Of course lately, as I have been spending these long summer days with my 2 active little boys…silence is actually quite nice! If I get a moment of silence…I will take it!
But many times in life, silence can make us feel a bit awkward…and can make us feel quite impatient. Especially when we are waiting for a response.
This is very evident in our ever increasing world of modern technology…when we send a friend a text or email a coworker…and we wait and wait and wait for their response.
So what about when God is silent? What about when you have prayed and prayed to God…and nothing?
No answers…no direction…no guidance…no “yes’s”…no “no’s”….no nothing! Just silence! It certainly can be discouraging!
The dictionary defines the word silence as…“a situation or state in which someone does not talk about or answer questions about something; absence of any sound or noise; stillness; the state of being forgotten; oblivion.”
Wow…Did you catch the latter part of the definition? The state of being forgotten…
Isn’t that what we begin to think when the clock keeps ticking…hours turn into days…days turn into months…and even months turn into years…and we are still waiting for God to answer?
When God is silent…we may think that He has forgotten us.
When God is silent…we may want to give up.
When God is silent…we may stop praying.
There are times that I have certainly struggled with this because I just want an answer… don’t you? Because even if the answer is “no”…then I can process that answer and move forward.
So why does God remain silent?
Well…we can sit here and spit out endless reasons why God is silent like…
His timing is perfect…
His unlimited mind knows what our limited minds do not…
He knows what is on the other side of His answer…
He doesn’t think we are ready for His answer…again timing!
He wants to develop our patience…
He wants to build our faith…
And this is just to name a few as the list can go on!
I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Isaiah 55:8-9 MSG
So what then should we do when God is silent? Keep praying.
I know…easier said than done! Not the answer you probably wanted to hear.
But this is God’s desire…His heart is that we come to Him and pray to Him often…and persistently.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1 NIV
Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 1Thessalonians 5:17 AMP
O LORD, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You. Psalm 88:1 NASB
Why are we persistent in anything that we do in life? Because we have an expectancy…right? We are expecting an answer…a result…an outcome.
And so it should be with our prayers…Why should we pray with persistency? …because we have an expectancy. We expect a response from God…we expect an answer from God!
And one thing that I can tell you that we can certainly expect is that…He hears us…He hears every prayer…He hears every petition…He hears every cry…even when He is silent.
I love the Lord, because he has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications.” Psalm 116:1 AMP
How persistent are your prayers…especially when God is silent? How often do you pray?
The Bible is full of men and women who prayed persistently to God. And one such individual who should really capture our attention is James…Jesus’ half-brother.
James was a man of prayer and his letter…the Book of James…clearly emphasizes prayer.
Because James prayed so much…he was actually nicknamed “Old Camel Knees”!
What does praying and camel’s knees have anything to do with each other?
Have you ever seen a camel’s knees up close?
They have thick hard calluses. When camels lower themselves to allow a rider to climb aboard…their front knees hit the ground first… so over the course of a lifetime their knees get quite a workout.
Because James prayed so much…his knees were as hard as the calluses on a camel – camel knees. This demonstrates years and years of determined praying!
How determined are you? Are you ready to give up and stop praying when God is silent…or are you determined to keep praying…pray without ceasing…pray persistently?
Now we all don’t necessarily need to have calluses on our knees to prove our persistence…but when was the last time you walked into your room…shut the door…got down on your knees and prayed…like James?
I am not saying you can’t pray throughout your day…which I do and encourage you to if you don’t already (pray while you are driving…working…jogging etc.) But do you ever get down on your knees to pray to your Heavenly Father? (I do understand that some of you are physically unable to.)
This kneeling position is actually a demonstration of humble submission and reverence to God. It exemplifies honor and respect like kneeling before a king or ruler.
And interestingly…isn’t it just like the enemy to make you think that a person on their knees is in a position of one who has been struck down…downcast…and defeated…But, even though we may be down on our knees…we are looking up…to God.
We pray persistently because we expect an answer from God. But God desires us to pray often and persistently not just to answer us but to use our persistent prayers for His purposes.
1. God uses our persistent prayers to center our attention.
Persistence compels us to the true center of prayer…which is not about something but someone. It directs our attention and focus to God.
2. God uses our persistent prayers to deepen our relationship with Him.
Persistence compels our heart to examine what it really wants most. Do you want God’s will? Do you want God even more than you want what you are asking for?
3. God uses our persistent prayers to develop our patience.
Persistence demands patience…waiting. This is the ground for spiritual growth. Frustrations in prayer can purge and purify our desires. Perhaps God desires to give you exactly what you have asked for…but only in a time and way that the gift can truly benefit you instead of harming you.
4. God uses our persistent prayers to build our faith.
Persistence requires our faith to be stretched. When God is silent…we are pushed to keep praying…keep trusting…keep having faith in the God who holds the answers.
5. God uses our persistent prayers to mold…even transform…our desires to change how we pray and even what we are praying for so we gradually come to pray closer to the heart of God’s will.
A great example is when The Apostle Paul prayed three times for a “thorn in the flesh” to be removed. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) He never tells us what it is…simply that it is painful…a source of torment…“a messenger of Satan.”
When God didn’t answer his prayer as asked…Paul changed how he prayed. He prayed that God would help him to rely on God’s grace…God’s strength…and God’s power which was made perfect in Paul’s weakness.
When we have prayed and prayed and prayed…and God is silent…we need to shift our perspective…be determined to keep praying often and persistently like James…and as hard as it is…understand that God will answer in His time and His purposes go way beyond the answers we are waiting for!
1. Have you ever prayed and prayed for something…and God is silent?
2. Why does God remain silent?
3. What should we do when God is silent?
4. How often do you pray? How persistent are your prayers…especially when God is silent?
5. Why was James’ nickname “Old Camel Knees”?
6. What is God’s purposes in our persistent prayers?
1.It is God’s desire that we come to Him and pray often and persistently…especially when He is silent.
2.There are endless reasons why God may remain silent. Refer back to some of those reasons.
3.We should keep praying when God is silent. God hears every prayer…every petition…every request!
4. James was a man of prayer and great example to us. He was nicknamed “Old Camel Knees” because he had hard calluses on his knees from kneeling and praying so much!
5. God uses our persistent prayers for His purposes. Review the list above.