Waiting on God can feel hopeless, but it isn’t!

Waiting goes against human nature. In a world filled with instant gratification, times of waiting often feel excruciating. 

And waiting on God isn’t any different. We pray and seek Him. We call on others to pray. 

Yet, sometimes He doesn’t move in a way we can see. Waiting on God’s timing can feel hopeless. But the good news is that it isn’t.

I shared a while back about the lessons I learned during a season of waiting. It wasn’t an easy time. 

I am again in a time of waiting on God. It’s a wait that’s been going on for seven long years and has been the most heart-wrenching journey I’ve been on. 

While I have learned that God is always in control and on His throne, I’d be lying if I said I’ve never had moments of doubt and frustration. Where is He in all of this? What could His plan be? Why isn’t God doing something?

I don’t have answers to what His plan is in this situation or why He hasn’t moved in the ways that really make the most sense to me. But I also know that He has been with me every step of the way. 

Where is He? Right there with me. How do I know that? Well, God and I have a history. 

I can look back throughout my entire life and see His hand in everything — even in the times when I wondered whether He’d forgotten me. (He hadn’t.) 

Prayer for patience while waiting Pinterest image 4

Time and again, God shows up in my life and in my story. I can’t tell you the story of my life without telling you how He has impacted it. I’m so thankful for that! 

My daughter recently went to a small group meeting with us and noticed the other members talked about times they’d gotten totally away from God, but her dad and I didn’t have those same pasts. My testimony may sound a bit boring, but I only thank God for all the things He’s spared me from. 

I find hope in knowing God has never let me down or forgotten me. And I find hope in stories from God’s Word that remind me what waiting on God can look like.

Waiting on God in the Old Testament 

From childhood, I’ve known the story of Jonah getting swallowed by a whale. It’s one that comes up in children’s Bibles and Sunday School lessons. 

But it wasn’t until I taught a Sunday School lesson about Jonah a few years ago that I saw Jonah’s testimony of waiting.

What got to me in teaching this story is the three days Jonah spent inside of that whale. For three days and three nights, he sat in a dark, stinky place. He surely thought he was going to die there. 

He had to have regrets for not following God’s leading to go to Nineveh. Chapter two of Jonah includes his long and pleading prayer to God. 

“When my life was ebbing away,
    I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
    to your holy temple.”

Jonah 2:7 (NIV)

The Bible just tells us Jonah prayed this prayer to God. It doesn’t tell us when he prayed it. 

I think getting swallowed by a whale would be such a monumental and dramatic life moment that you’d pray right away. After all Jonah had been through until that point, I think getting tossed out of a boat and swallowed by a fish would have been his moment of repentance.

So if we assume Jonah immediately saw the error of his ways and asked for God’s help, then we also see that Jonah had a time of waiting on God. He stayed in that whale for three days and three nights — probably even after he prayed. Jonah was definitely in a waiting period. 

He didn’t know the whale was going to spit him out. He couldn’t have known how God was working behind the scenes. Instead, he just had to sit and wait. 

In the end, Jonah lived when the whale spit him out onto dry land. And, the people in the city of Nineveh were saved. They turned from their wicked ways and got back on track with God. 

Jonah got a bit perturbed at God’s compassion and mercy for them. Even though he should have learned a lesson while waiting on God inside of a whale, Jonah still had a ways to go. 

God was faithful to remind Jonah of how great His love is, even after all of that.

That’s how seasons of waiting can go. We can learn lessons in the waiting and think we’ve figured them out. Then, bam! A new time of waiting on God arrives, and we again have doubts creep in.

Waiting on God in the New Testament

Another example of waiting on God that I’ve looked at different in the past few years comes in the resurrection story. The story of Jesus Christ dying on the cross and coming back from death is one that I have heard so many times as a child and an adult. It is the most hopeful story of all time!

A couple of years ago, though, thinking about Saturday struck me. This day is sometimes called Silent Saturday. It’s the day God was quiet. 

On Friday, He was present as Jesus took His last breaths. God may have turned away, but He was there. 

We certainly know He was there on Sunday when the tomb was empty. But what about on Saturday? Where was God on Saturday? Why did we have to wait for Him to move? Why didn’t he immediately raise Jesus from the dead?

Obviously, I can’t answer all those questions. But I at least know where God was on Silent Saturday. He was still on His throne. He didn’t forget about humanity for one single moment. 

While I don’t know any theological reasons, the takeaway I get from Silent Saturday is to hang on and hope. Know God has a plan and perfect timing. While we are waiting on God, He is working things for our best.

On the days of waiting and pleading and wanting God to move, we can rest assured that He hasn’t forgotten us. He may be silent at the moment. Or He may send us encouragement along the way. But there is hope in the waiting, because He is always at work. 

I also think Sunday is all that much more special because we had to wait for the appointed time. We had to see if Jesus was going to come back. 

What if He didn’t? How many doubts the early believers must have had after He died! 

After the wait, the good news was even better. After times of waiting on God, we appreciate all the more His movement and blessing that comes in due time.

What it means for us

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

Though waiting isn’t listed, I have learned there is a time for waiting. Waiting on God can seem pointless, hopeless and frustrating. 

I struggle with getting discouraged. But my Heavenly Father is always faithful and always good, even when my situation isn’t. He holds me close. And even in the waiting He is working.

We can rest in that today and every day. We can remember all the times He’s been faithful and trust that He is working and moving in ways we can’t see. 

For the most difficult times, we can ask Him to strengthen our faith. When our hearts break in the waiting, we can ask for His inner peace and comfort. He will be with us every step of the way.

One day, we’ll look back and see why we had to wait, whether that’s here on earth or in heaven. But I know beyond all doubt that whatever that reason is, God is using it for good. 

He has plans to give us a future and a hope and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). Rest in that as you wait.

Learning to have patience

In times of waiting on God, we are challenged to learn the virtue of patience. Developing a patient heart is something we cannot do on our own.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit for a reason. We cannot live with patience during difficult situations on our own.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

The power of the Holy Spirit helps us learn the value of patience during hard times. He allows us to go beyond our own understanding and have patience today in the long wait.

Real-life tips for having more patience

As always, our first step toward living a life filled with patience is to pray and get into the Word of God. Along with that, some everyday life tips can help us in our need of patience as well.

1. Live in peace.

When life is peaceful, patience is easier, because it’s really not necessary.

Check out what Paul says:

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)

If we are walking in the way God has for us while being humble, gentle and loving, we are able to maintain a bond of peace that allows us to more easily have patience. It all works together.

2. Help others.

A few years ago, I knew I was going to have to deal with a person for a few days in a row who really challenges my patience. After praying about it, I determined my best strategy was to keep my hands busy, my mouth shut and my head down.

Sometimes helping and giving to others gets us out of noticing all the things that try our patience. We focus more on what we can do for others and less on what others are doing to us.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (NIV) talks about this very thing:

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (NIV)

3. Don’t lose hope.

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Romans 8:25 (ESV)

When we have hope for the future and what God has for us, it’s easier to be patient and wait for it. Finding that hope also comes through God.

We can trust that God has better things for us, so we can have hope on the long journey. Even when we can’t see what’s happening, God is doing good work that we will see in proper time. 

If we can keep our hope in God, then we can trust Him for His goodness and have patience in the waiting.

Prayers for patience while waiting

I have often heard people admonish others to not pray to have more patience, because God gives it to us by putting us in more situations where patience is needed. And the truth is, we don’t like to wait.

Though it may sound challenging to ask for patience because you worry your patience will be greatly tested, remember that you’re going to have times like that anyway. Why not go into them with God on your side?!

These five simple prayers are ideal for times of waiting on God. Use them as daily prayers or situational prayers.

A prayer for patience while waiting during difficult times

Dear God,

Right now, life is hard. My heart is aching, and I’m not sure what is going to happen next. I know that everything is part of your plan, even when I can’t see it. I ask that you comfort me and help me as I’m waiting.

Remind me when my doubts and fears start to take over that you are in control and on your throne. I trust you and seek your will above all else. Let your Holy Spirit be my constant companion as I go through this difficult time. 

Hold me close, Father. Give me faith to believe that you do have plans for my future that are full of hope.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for waiting during difficult times

A prayer for becoming a patient person

Dear God, 

I am struggling right now. I know that your timing is always best. You understand slowness in a different way than I do because our time is not the same.

Waiting can be hard for me. I struggle to be patient. I know that persevering produces endurance especially in the waiting. But it can be hard to persevere when things go sideways.

Give me strength through the Holy Spirit to live as a patient person. Settle my mind and emotions when they get away from me.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for becoming a patient person

A prayer for being patient with others

Dear God,

I ask that you fill me with your hope, grace, mercy, strength and patience so that they overflow from me. Give me wisdom and discernment on how to best interact with everyone I come in contact with. May my heart be so full of love and you that my patience isn’t challenged. It just comes naturally.

And on the hard days when I am discouraged and tired, Lord, give me encouragement to keep going.  

Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for being such a loving Father to teach me lessons time and again.

In Jesus’ name I pray,


A prayer for being patient with others

A prayer for the testing of your faith

Dear God,

Right now, I really feel like my faith is being tested. I know that you are always at work, but I’m just not seeing anything happening right now. I ask that you help my unbelief.

Help me to see you and your goodness at work in my life as I wait on you. Give me strength to be faithful and trust you above all else. 

I ask that you give me great understanding of who you are and who I am in you.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for the testing of your faith

A prayer for waiting for blessings

Dear God,

I know that you haven’t brought me this far in life to give up on me now. Fill my heart and head with reminders of all the times you’ve been faithful in the past.

Help me to cling to those memories and trust more completely in you and the blessings you have for my life. Even when I’m in hard times, I know that you are always working all things for your good.

Open my eyes to see you at work in and through my life in everyway. Show me your goodness and blessings that I experience daily.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for waiting for blessings

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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