Waiting for prayer to be answered is hard. We WANT things to be instantaneous, when things NEED to be in God's timing. So when we have to wait, we look for ours prayers to be answered instantaneously instead of in God's timing. (Now, sometimes God chooses to answer instantaneously, but this post is about waiting.)
Psalm 27:14 (ESV)
Wait for the ; be strong, and let your heart take courage; for the !
As I gathered my thoughts, my mind flew instantly to Abraham, Hannah, and Job. These great men and woman of the Bible waited for prayers to be answered for a long time before they were.
Genesis 12:1-4 (paraphrasing) says that Abraham (then called Abram) was 75 when God said to him that he would be made into a great nation, that he will bless Abraham, his name would be great, and he would be a blessing. All he had to do was wait and trust. So that's what Abraham did. In Genesis 15:5, God told Abraham that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. Abraham was almost 99 at this time. And so he waited. Yet as he waited, he decided to take things into his own hands. You can read about this in Genesis 16. This was not the wisest move. Doing your own thing, instead of waiting for God's timing is never very smart. Eventually God did answer their prayers, but the wait and lessons during the wait did affect them.
Psalm 6:9 (ESV)
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
Hannah wanted a son. (1 Samuel 1) Actually, she didn't just want one, she desired one. She was one of two wives, of a man named Elkanah. Peninnah, Elkanah's other wife, had children, but Hannah didn't. She was teased relentlessly by Peninnah. She was filled with such sorrow that she went to the Temple to pray. With complete faith, Hannah told God that if her heard her cries, she would give him the child. She prayed with such fervor that the priest, Eli, thought she was drunk. When she told him that was pouring her heart out to the Lord, Eli said that her prayers would be answered. Sure enough, Hannah was finally able to conceive and Samuel was born. When he was weaned, she took him to the temple and gave him to serve there (1 Samuel 1:24-28). Her prayers were answered!
1 Peter 3:12 (ESV)
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
If anyone knew how hard it was to wait for prayer to be answered, it was Job. Job was a righteous man (Job 1:8). God gave Satan permission to test him (Job 1:9-13), and so, he was afflicted with horrible tragedies. First his donkeys & oxen were attacked and carried away and his servants were killed (Job 1:14-15). Within moments of that happening, fire came from the sky and burned up his sheep & his servants (Job 1:16). Yet again, within the same moment, all of his camels were taken away, and his servants killed (Job 1:17). Then he got the news that his sons and daughters were feasting, when a mighty wind blew up and the house collapsed in on them, and they all died (Job 1:18-19). Yet, Job remained steadfast in his Faith (Job 2:3). Yet again God let Satan test him (Job 2:3-8). This time he was afflicted with several different illnesses. His wife told him in Job 2:9, that he should curse God for letting all these horrible things happen. The following verse, Job 2:10, says that Job refused. Satan continued to tempt him, by using friends to twist his thoughts, yet through it all, Job remained steadfast. Waiting and knowing that God would answer his prayers. It says in Job 16:17 that his prayers were pure. In the end his prayers were answered, and his life restored.
James 5:11 (ESV)
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
So, with all that being said, let's summarize.
When we are waiting for prayers to be answered:
We should never take things into our own hands (Genesis 16).
We should know God always answers prayer (1 Samuel 1:20), though they may not always be answered the way we want them.
We should remain steadfast in our Faith during this time (James 5:11).
I pray that this will help you somehow, someway!
*I must add that I can't take credit. Towards the end of writing this post, I was really struggling, but God helped me through it, and I can't thank him enough!*