But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly.—Matthew 6:6
The importance of patience in prayer and in life cannot be overemphasized! Abraham lived most of his life patiently believing that God would fulfill His promise to give him a son. In his old age, however, he succumbed to pressure from his wife to have a child by her maid, Hagar (Genesis 16:2). Abraham hearkened to the voice of his wife instead of giving her godly direction—a choice that proved to be a historic mistake. Ishmael has come to symbolize the fruit of impatience. When you do not believe that God has heard your cry in prayer, you take matters into your own hands and create situations that you cannot successfully bring to a close. If you truly believe that your Father has seen you and heard your prayer, why struggle to come up with your own solution? Boldly assert as did Hagar, “I have seen the One who sees me!” (Genesis 16:13). Isaac means “laughter,” so you may as well keep laughing until your “Isaac” shows up. Ishmaels come quickly, but they never go away.