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Waiting Expectantly: Praying in Hope When Times Seem Hopeless

Waiting Expectantly: Praying in Hope When Times Seem Hopeless

I’m sitting in my car in a small, quiet parking lot near an arboretum. I wanted to steal away and pray a few moments this afternoon. It’s cold (in the 30’s), so I’m drinking lots of hot herbal tea to stay warm.

The main thing on my heart was praying and asking God what He wanted to say in today’s post. But first I had to pray through some major frustrations from the day and let God put me in a place where I could even hear Him. (It’s been that kind of day.)

I did what I do when I can’t find words to pray, or am not in a spirit of prayer but want to be—I started praying the Psalms. As I reached Psalm 25:5, one word got stuck in my throat—“expectantly.”

“Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long” (Psalm 25:5, emphasis added).1

Waiting

Okay. So fasting is waiting. I’ve got the waiting part down. I’m waiting … but doing it expecting God to respond? Not so much, according to the conviction I felt from the Holy Spirit. I’m not fasting as expectantly as I have in the past … or even a few months ago.

The past few years have been some of the hardest and most discouraging and wearying and draining of my life. Every year has grown worse than the year before it, testing endurance and expectation seemingly beyond limits, much like the years of my devastating illness. And the past few months have contained as much trauma and trials as the past few years combined … and I thought they were bad, having almost totally crushed my spirit. This is the context in which God spoke the word “expect!”

“Natalie,” He said, “You’re not fasting and praying with expectation. You can pray and believe and expect for everyone else and every other situation. But because you’ve experienced silence from Heaven in recent history, you’re not expecting Me to move in response to the cry of your heart.”

If this is you, too …

If you were to be totally honest, would you say that you’re praying expectantly? Or do you find yourself filled with more apathy than expectation?

Do you feel like you’ve received a cold shoulder and a closed door from Heaven—such that you find yourself completely unable to muster any positive expectation?

Beloved, if this is you, you’re not alone. God wants to enable you and me to pray and wait expectantly for Him.

Confess to God your lack of expectation. Ask Him to fill you with His hope and help you confidently, expectantly, look to Him.

You can confidently expect Him to respond to your prayers because …

God Loves You and Is Busying Himself With
Your Every Step

In the words of a friend, “The Creator—who in all His majesty, His might, His power, amidst all His other creations—singles you out, holds you in His arms, and loves you more than you can ever start to imagine!”

He is for you! He cares deeply about every need, and desire, and cry of your heart. You and I may not can see it, but He is working on our behalf … constantly! He is busying Himself with our every step.

“The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]” (Psalm 37:23, emphasis added).

The NLT says, “…He delights in every detail of their lives.” God loves you and is busying Himself with every detail of your life!

More Than a Mama Bird

Have you ever observed a mother bird feeding her babies? When I was confined to my home for years with ample opportunity to watch birds, God used them to illustrate truths about His character and His works in my life.

For a period of time I was unable to sit elevated from the waist up, even slightly. So to see outdoors, I would lie down on a cot by a glass sliding door. That spring, a begonia plant hung from the eave just outside the door … and baby wrens hatched in a nest inside.

I learned a valuable lesson while watching the parent birds with their babies. They were totally consumed with providing for their babies’ needs. While the mother was feeding the babies, the father was out looking for food. When he arrived with bugs to feed the babies, the mother departed to find food. They alternated like this all day long … constantly, never taking a break. At any given moment, one parent was feeding and one was out looking for food. They were totally consumed—twenty-four hours a day—with meeting their babies’ needs.

In the same way, our Father God is consumed with meeting our needs. He is busying himself—twenty-four hours a day—with our every step. One bird watcher has observed a set of wren parents providing over 1,000 feedings to their babies in a single day. Now that’s “busying” oneself. But that pales in comparison to how intensely God is busying Himself with your every step—your every need!

But like the baby birds who chirped constantly as if they weren’t being fed, in spite of their parents’ tireless efforts and vast success at meeting their needs, we may feel (and sound) as if God isn’t constantly tending to our every need. He is! If only we could see in the spiritual realm and see what He is doing for us!

God loves you and is diligently involved in the details of your life, providing for you, giving you exactly what you need when you need it. He’s moving heaven and earth, coordinating the tiniest detail of your life, in order to do so!

Meeting Needs According to Heaven’s Higher View

There is a difference between what we think we need and what, in His infinite wisdom, God knows we need. He defines our needs according to His eternal perspective. He takes things such as our holiness (not just our happiness) into consideration. Most of the time, we define our needs from an earthly perspective—one based on temporal happiness, not eternal holiness.

This difference leads us to assume, when we don’t get our ‘needs’ met in the time frame we desire, that God isn’t meeting our needs. But He is! He is consumed with our care!

The parent wrens even remove the baby birds’ poop from the nest while caring for them. (I didn’t know that till just now when I saw it in a YouTube video!) And just think, they don’t have hands to remove it with, hands that can wear gloves or be washed later. They remove it with their beaks! (I hope you weren’t eating while reading this!)

In all of His love and compassion for His baby children, God even removes the daily poop from our lives—sins and disobedience that disgust Him. He forgives and cleanses us and helps keep the nest of our lives and our hearts clean.

God loves you more than you can fathom! And He is constantly at work behind the scenes taking care of you.

So wait for Him … wait for Him only and altogether! Everything we need, He is! (See 2 Pe. 1:3.) What we need—what we’re waiting for Him to give us—is Himself. And He has promised that clearly.

11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:11-13, HCSB)

So as we wait, may He be our chief desire. May earth have nothing we desire besides Him! (Psalm 73:25)

Line Up Your Thoughts

Whenever a voice of doubt or questioning of God comes to your mind, compare it against what you know about your loving Lord … and line it up with what you know to be true. Do not accept as true any thoughts based on feelings. Your feelings are not a predictor of what God will or won’t do in response to your prayers. Neither is the past.

Faith (expectation) pleases God and leads to a victorious life. Therefore, the enemy will try with all his might to destroy your faith, your expectation, as you fast and pray.

Exercise the weapons of your warfare and take captive every thought.

Do as David did in Psalm 42 and encourage yourself.

“Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God” (Psalm 42:5).

When negative, apathetic, hopeless thoughts (lies from the enemy) start seeping into your thoughts, right then, take your thoughts captive. Begin speaking scripture to yourself.

What we say to ourselves and think silently has an enormous impact on our lives. God has ordained that our words have the power of life and death in them.

“From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is satisfied; he is filled with the product of his lips. Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:20-21, HCSB).

We are going to be filled with the product of our lips, whether for good or for bad. So let’s do like David and speak to ourselves. “Put your hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for you will yet praise Him.”

Every time I get down and despondent, I open a Bible to Psalm 42 and begin speaking and claiming this Psalm. During the day as negative thoughts arise, I begin speaking this Psalm, especially verse 11. At night, I leave the Bible open nearby so that if I wake, even just momentarily during the night, I can speak truth to myself, take thoughts captive, and proclaim the life and power of God’s word over my life.

There has never been a single time I’ve done this with Psalm 42 that God hasn’t fulfilled it. First comes a restoration of the sense of His presence. I can feel Him and hear him. Next comes a literal transformation of some kind, either in the natural or the spirit. He always turns things around and fills my mouth with praise for His goodness. But it begins with taking thoughts captive and speaking, declaring, truth over my life.

A Few Scriptures to Pray and Claim

Psalm 40:1

“I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Click to tweet Tweet this)

Psalm 42:5

“Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.” (Click to tweet Tweet this)

Psalm 130:5

“I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope.” (Click to tweet Tweet this)

Isaiah 33:2

“O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited [expectantly] for You. Be the arm [of Your servants—their strength and defense] every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.”

Lamentations 3:24, 25

“The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him. The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word].” (Click to tweet Tweet this)

Isaiah 30:18

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion … Blessed are all those who wait for him!” (Click to tweet Tweet this)

Psalm 27:14

“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.” (Click to tweet Tweet this)

Psalm 25:3

“Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed…”

Psalm 25:5

“… for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.” (Click to tweet Tweet this)

A Moment of Worship: We Wait Upon You

Moving Forward

We Wait Upon You by Free Chapel
From the album Moving Forward

Download from iTunes | Amazon

Question: Are you praying expectantly? Or do you find yourself filled with more apathy than expectation—possibly even despair or hopelessness?

Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him! He loves you and is busying Himself with your every step!

 

FROM THE ARCHIVES:

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1. All scripture quotations are taken from the Amplified Bible version unless otherwise noted.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Shades of Grace will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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