Now that we know we have been heard and we know that God understands us because we’re speaking in faith, we should expect a response. Expect means to look forward to or to look on as likely to happen or to anticipate. I would guess that all of us, when we come to the Lord in prayer, come with this attribute in high gear. We want an answer and we know that God is able to supply those answers no matter how difficult the situation. We are going to look at three different words that are used in the Bible to signify waiting and expecting. There are more, but for sake of brevity, I would rather use only 3. All of these words show an understanding that the waiting, the expectation, will be answered.
The first word is from the Old Testament and is the Hebrew word qavah. It is translated wait or look for or looking for. It denotes an anticipated response in due time.
Psalm 40:1 King James Version (KJV)
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
Is this the way we wait for God – patiently? Or do we get anxious wondering when, oh when, will He give me an answer. Patience is essential in our waiting. We have absolutely no control over when God will answer, and whatever we are going through is in His hands. He will decide when to lift the burden. In James 1:2-5, we are told that a trial comes to test our faith and teach us patience. Do you learn this lesson when going through difficult situations, or do you fret and stew because the answer has not yet come. Look at the promise of this Psalm. If I wait, He will incline to me and hear me. I picture a loving God leaning over so I can whisper in His ear. What a powerful portion of scripture.
Lamentations 3:25 King James Version (KJV)
25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
God will never disappoint you if you are waiting for His answer, not your own. If you are looking for what you want, then perhaps you will be disappointed, but that is not God’s fault. He always sends the best answer, the good answer. We just need to put ourselves in a place of waiting and anticipating His response.
Isaiah 40:31 King James Version (KJV)
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I’ll guess most of you figured I would be using this verse. It is probably the most well-known verse on waiting. The promises contained here are staggering to me. God tells us, through Isaiah, that if we will be patient and wait for His timing in our lives that He will strengthen us. That means to me that He will give me the strength in the middle of my struggles to wait for His perfect response. That strength will carry me through the trouble until he decides to bring the solution. That strength will help me to run and not grow weary, and walk and not faint. I do not have to worry about falling short or about not finishing well – His strength will carry me through. In the meantime, I can soar above my troubles like an eagle soaring above the ground. I can be confident to rise above the struggles! What a mighty God we serve.
The next word is the Greek word ekdechomai. It means to look for or expect.
John 5:2-4 King James Version (KJV)
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
In these verses we see the people at the pool of Bethesda. They come here because an angel comes down every once in a while, and troubles the water. The first person who sets foot in the pool after the troubling of the water is healed. Now that’s a miracle in itself and anyone who goes to that pool should be expecting an answer because they have seen answers before. This word talks about people who are waiting for something that is a certainty. They know that the pool will be troubled and they know that the first person in would be healed so they waited, They just have to wait for the angel to come. We should so wait for our answer from God – that it is a certainty and we should be ready to receive it whenever it comes.
James 5:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
I live in Iowa and farmers amaze me. They invest thousands of dollars in seed, spend hundreds or hours preparing the soil and their machinery, and don’t get a result for 90-120 days. They know the seed will produce fruit and they just need to wait until the appropriate time to gather that crop. They expect the seed to produce. I don’t know any farmer who ever has planted who does not expect a return on that planting. He just waits for what He knows is coming. We should have the same expectation with our prayers. They are seeds planted and God will provide an answer when the time is right.
1 Peter 3:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
This time the word describes God waiting! God waited on those preparing the ark. He knew for a certainty it would be completed someday and He would send the flood. There is no doubt in God’s mind that this was going to happen – it was just a matter of time. God will always waits until we are truly ready to receive the answer, never early, never late. We might think His timing is off, but it is not. His answer will come once He knows we are prepared to receive it.
We see in all three uses of this word that these are not answers set to our time. They are answers that take a little while and we have to wait until the appropriate time. That is how God works. He gives us an answer in the appropriate time and we should be in an attitude of expectation to receive from Him when He’s ready to give.
The next Greek word is prosdakao. This word means to watch for or look for.
Luke 1:21 King James Version (KJV)
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
Zacharias had gone in to do his duty and burn incense in the temple. While he was in there, behind the veil, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his wife would give birth to a son. This son would be mighty for God, and would be named John (John the Baptist). Zacharias was much longer in lighting the incense than normal and the people were waiting for Him, wondering why it was taking so long. This type of expectation is one that knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is coming. We need to be certain that we will receive an answer. Even if it is delayed longer that I would like or expect, I need to know He will answer. God always answers our prayers!
Luke 3:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
People were waiting to be baptized and they had long been expecting the Messiah to come. It was a foregone conclusion that He would come someday. There was absolutely no doubt in their minds. Now they wondered if John the Baptist was that Messiah, that answer to their expectation. This is the kind of expectation we should have when we pray!
But we must also be wary to wait for the right answer, not just any answer. John the Baptist was not the answer. In my current situation, I could be thinking God has answered my prayers because I am in remission – the cancer is gone! But I have not received the whole answer yet. I am believing for complete healing – neuropathy and tiredness will be gone as well. I need to continue in a state of expectancy for the full answer to my prayers. Glory to God!
Acts 3:5 King James Version (KJV)
5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
Peter and John were entering the temple one day and saw a lame man begging for alms. They approached the man and told him to look at them. He looked at them and it says he expected to receive something from them. He had no doubt in his mind that these men would give him something. The man expected to receive money, bit Peter and John had something much more precious. They gave him back his legs!
God answers our request, and it is always His best for us that is given in response. It may not be what we expected to receive, or what we asked for, but we can know of a certainty that if we wait on His timing, it will be the best thing for us. Again, with this definition we see the type of expectancy that we should all have. One that knows there will be a response and that it is soon to come. We should never stop being in this expecting state.
How good are you at waiting? Are you always in a position that you expect a response, and are you willing to wait for God’s perfect answer for your life? Are you drawing strength from God to endure the wait? Are you soaring above the problem while you wait? God loves us and He will answer in His time. We should expect that. Patience is all we need to enjoy the time of waiting. Let us wait on Him with expectation!
Next, we will discuss the fact that while we are waiting, we must be listening for a response. So often God will answer, and I will not hear His reply because I am not paying attention. Hopefully, we can learn better to listen to Him!