We live in a world where we can get most anything instantaneously. Need to contact someone? Call their cell phone. Want someone to answer you immediately? Text them. Love a song? Download it onto your iPod or phone. Need an answer for something? Google it. Don’t have time to cook? Run through the drive-through at your favorite fast food restaurant. Want a new recipe? Find it on Pinterest. Want to catch up on your favorite tv show? Watch it on Netflix.
Anything you want, right here right now, you can pretty much get. And we have become accustomed to this mentality, too. We have even rolled this thinking over into our relationship with God. I mean, who else can give us anything we want at any time, but God, right?
In our prayers, we ask God for many different things: healing, forgiveness, provision, wisdom, peace, and so much more. And many times, even if we don’t say it out loud, we are thinking that we really want God to answer our prayer. Like right then. Or for sure in the next day or two. We aren’t even thinking that our prayer might not be answered at that time. We want our prayers answered and we want them answered now.
Mark Batterson calls this the ASAP approach (p.196). We need this God, and we need it as soon as possible. Please don’t delay, Lord. I’m not sure if we can make it. I don’t think I can take this much longer. Please, hurry up, God!
We get in this frame of mind that what we ask God for needs to happen now. And if it doesn’t happen now, then it needs to happen really soon. If our prayer doesn’t get answered, then we stop praying for it. We think that God either doesn’t hear us, doesn’t care about us, or thinks this prayer is not worthy of being answered. As Mark says, “we stop circling” (p. 196).
What we need to realize, though, is that the only prayer answered instantly from God is that of forgiveness. We know that God forgives each one of us no matter what we do. All we have to do is ask. So there’s no question of if or when He will forgive us. As soon as we ask, we are forgiven.
All other prayers that we pray are not guaranteed to be answered right away. God doesn’t promise that He will answer at that moment or in a few days. Wouldn’t it be great if He did, though?
What Mark wants us to remember throughout this whole book….Keep Circling! We need to get out of the mindset that our prayers need to be answered ASAP, and we just need to keep praying. We need to trust that God hears us and that He will answer us. We should leave behind any doubts or frustrations we get when our prayers aren’t answered quickly. And may we all remember the words of Paul from Colossians 4:2:
“Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (AMP)