Day 23 Not Now
“Wait for the gift my Father promised.” Acts 1:4
Whew! This devotion is so powerful, I’m going to quote most of it directly from the book so you won’t miss the blessing.
I can’t agree more with Mark Batterson in Draw the Circle when he says, “When God says no to a prayer, it doesn’t always mean no; sometimes it means not yet. It’s the right request but the wrong time.
“Sometimes we have to be willing to give something up to God in order to get it back from God. Like Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac, it will probably be something as precious to us. It may even be a gift from God, just like Isaac was to Abraham. But God will test us to make sure the gift isn’t more important than the Gift Giver, the dream isn’t more important to us than the Dream Giver. He’ll test us to make sure it’s not an idol. If it is, that dream, gift, or desire might need to die so that it can be resurrected. But God often takes things away to give them back so that we know they are gifts to be stewarded for His glory.
No one likes waiting, “but waiting is part of praying, and praying is a form of waiting. Prayer will sanctify our waiting, so we wait with holy expectancy. And waiting doesn’t delay God’s plans and purposes. It always expedites them. Waiting is the fast track to whatever it is that God wants to do in our lives. And we’ll discover that on God’s timeline, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
“In our impatience, we often try to do God’s work for him. We treat Sabbath observance like a luxury instead of a commandment. We only obey it when it’s convenient, and then we discover that it’s never convenient. We work as though our world revolves around us and relies on us. Maybe it’s time to rest as though the world revolves around and relies on the Creator who hangs the stars and spins the planets.
“We’re way too busy. We’re constantly trying to do more and more in less and less time. The net result is that we don’t have any margins in our lives. And that is when prayer gets marginalized. We think we have too much to do to pray, but the exact opposite is true: we have too much to do not to pray!”
Following Jesus’ ascension, the disciples followed His explicit instructions not to immediately go into all the world (Mark 16:15), but to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. They didn’t go ahead of God but instead gathered in an upper room and prayed for ten days. Those ten days have benefited generations for over two thousand years!
“After we pray like it depends on God, we need to work like it depends on us. But if we don’t pray first, our work won’t work. We can’t do something for God until we let God do something for us. He wants to fill us with His Holy Spirit, but we need to empty ourselves first. From the depths of our hearts to the depths of our minds, the Holy Spirit wants to fill every crevice that already exists and create new capacities within us. And when the Holy Spirit comes on us, we will think new thoughts and feel new feelings.
“What would happen if we holed up in an upper room, knelt at an altar, or locked ourselves in a prayer closet and said, ‘I’m not coming out until I receive my gift my Father promised.’ I’ll tell you exactly what would happen: Pentecost would happen all over again.
“You cannot plan Pentecost. It’s not like Peter woke up on the day of Pentecost and had ‘speaking in tongues’ on his to-do list. He didn’t plan on baptizing three thousand people that day. But if you pray for ten days, Pentecost is bound to happen.
Sometimes God’s no simply means not yet. -Mark Batterson
How long are you willing to wait?