How to Begin Waiting on the Lord: Three Practical Steps

April 7, 2020


Strength in the Desert, Part 3

Many have experienced what might be called "the moment." This is the realization that life is not turning out as expected, and you have no other option than to wait on the Lord. This moment might be a serious diagnosis, heartbreaking news, or the realization of a lost relationship. When we are called upon by our Sovereign God to wait upon him, there is a choice to be made of how you will handle such a time.

Let’s look at how Paul and Silas began their waiting in Acts 16 when they were beaten and thrown into prison unexpectedly.

Waiting on the Lord is never just about you. You are part of the intricate tapestry of the redemptive plan of God.

1. They began waiting with prayer.

At a time when they could be resting from their wounds, they begin praying at midnight. Their instinct when their entire lives were thrown upside down was to go to the Lord in prayer. When difficult times of waiting are upon you, determine to begin that time with prayer. Affirm to the Lord your trust and confidence in him. Schedule regular time to pray for your waiting, so you won’t be obsessed with the wait. Pray until your heart has been emptied and your cup overflows with God’s mercies.

2. They began waiting with praise.

They sang hymns to God, for his pleasure and glory. They did not have hymnals to sing from in prison; they had to sing songs they memorized during their regular worship. No trial or time of waiting can withstand the one-two punch of prayer and praise. Don’t wait to be in church to sing to God, sing to him now, lift your praise to him, and strengthen your own heart.

3. They began with a purpose.

Acts 16:25 says that the prisoners were listening to them. Instead of acting the way most people would act after being beaten and thrown into prison, they held a prison worship service for all to hear. Time of waiting are very rarely private, and they can be excellent ways to depict the Christian virtue of joy to those that witness you. You have the opportunity to demonstrate the grace of Christ to both the believer and the unbeliever. Because of the impact Paul and Silas had on the rest of the prisoners, we can understand the greater redemptive purpose for their time of waiting.

Waiting on the Lord is never just about you. You are part of the intricate tapestry of the redemptive plan of God. Paul and Silas lived out Psalm 42:8. Be mindful of how you begin waiting. Begin with prayer, waiting, and purpose.

Steve Swartz, D.Min

Dr. Swartz is the senior teaching pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bakersfield, California and author of Shattered Shepherds and Strength in the River. You can hear him on the Steadfast in the Faith broadcast.

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