Out of the Abundance of the Heart: Learning to Wait

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV)

I was getting out of my chair at the end of my prayer time last Sunday. As I stood up, the Holy Spirit spoke in that still small voice, “Teach them to wait.” I knew what He meant. Just a few days before I was ministering to a group of leaders. When I encouraged them to pray in the Spirit until their mind got quiet, I was struck by the looks of bemusement on many of their faces, like they didn’t know what I was talking about. It set me to thinking about the simple things of the spirit that seem to be slipping away from us.

Early in my Christian walk I was blessed to learn the benefit in “waiting on the Lord.” It didn’t mean to simply be patient and wait for Him to do something. It meant to enter into His holy presence through prayer and worship, especially in other tongues. It meant to sit quietly in that Presence until He speaks. There are two kinds of waiting, corporate and induvial.

  • Corporate waiting: When Habakkuk prophesied, “”But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20 NKJV), he was encouraging the children of Israel to take time to listen to a God who speaks, unlike the dumb idols of the pagan nations. If you want to see God move by His Spirit in your services, take time to wait. Teach your people to worship corporately in other tongues, to stay alert to the touch of God, and to expect Him to speak. It will result in people hearing from Heaven in a fresh and powerful way. (Psalm 52:6-9)
  • Personal waiting: Any day is a good day to wait on God in your own private time. You can even do it at intervals throughout your day. I used to take my lunch hour to get alone, worship Him in the spirit, and listen for His leading. There are two times when it’s particularly important to wait in His presence: when I’m seeking direction and when I’m physically or emotionally drained.
    • Decision-making: The aim of my life is to obey God, not just making reasonable decisions, but following His leading. Waiting on Him is the primary way that comes. Praying, singing, reading the scriptures and basking in His presence gets my head out of the way and allows my heart to be quieted and sensitized to the touch of His hand. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
    • Spiritual refreshing: One of the plagues of life in the modern age is simple exhaustion. Physical overwork is certainly a problem, but even more, the spiritual and emotional load of life and ministry has become a relentless drain. We need times of recharging. You can’t run on empty for very long, and the price for trying is high.When I’m alone in my chair, or on my walk, or in my car, I often turn off all sensory input – no podcasts, no service recordings, no canned music – and sing and praise Him out loud until I am more aware of His awesomeness than of my own weariness. He really does renew my strength. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Scripture Reading: My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah (Psalms 62:5-8 NKJV)

Somebody Said: “If honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking or if I did not patiently wait on God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow-men to the declarations of the Word of God, I made great mistakes.” George Muller

Here’s the Point: Exerting my own strength is exhausting. Using my own best thinking is inadequate. Ministering to the Lord and waiting for His guidance and strength is invigorating. Take time to pray and sing in the Spirit, read and meditate in the Word, listen attentively until you find the quiet place inside. Don’t move until He does. As the old chorus says, “Teach me, Lord, teach me, Lord, to wait.”

Pastor Virgil Stokes

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