Delay: As we have seen this week , although spiritual disciplines do not save us, they do lay us in the way of allurement of the gospel, which is the good news of Jesus that does save us. In particular, the spiritual discipline of prayer brings us into joyful communion with the Lord, as we pour out our hearts to Him in praise, thanksgiving, confession and petition. On Tuesday, we thought about unanswered prayers . But sometimes we experience delayed answers, not unanswered prayers – although we may not know it at the time. Yet why would the Lord delay in answering our prayers?
Reasons: In A Body of Divinity, Puritan pastor Thomas Watson offers four possible answers: (1) Because he loves to hear our prayers: “You let the musician play a great while before you throw him down money, because you love to hear the music.” (2) Because He wants to humble us lest we too easily think that we have earned a ready answer or that we think He is our butler, not our Sovereign Lord. (3) Because we are not yet fit or circumstances are not yet ready for the blessing that we seek. (4) Because He longs for us to prize the mercy we seek all the more when it finally comes. 
Persistence: In other words, without offering persistent and repetitive prayers for what we want, we may become proud when the blessing comes. In Romans, Paul teaches that one of the most dangerous things God can do is to give us what we want without prayer . For it confirms what our hearts already want to believe – namely, that things are going well for us apart from God. Then, when the blessing comes apart from prayer, we rob ourselves of joy in God because we are not filled with gratitude for His provision.
Prayer: Lord, We know that you have good and wise reasons when you delay to answer our prayers. Therefore, we pray as the Psalmist did, “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!”  Increase our faith in you as our Provider and guard us against pride by tethering our blessings to our prayers. Amen.
 843 Acres, “Spiritual Disciplines for the Goal of Godliness.” 22 October 2012. 843 Acres, “Prayer as Discipline: Unanswered Prayers.” 23 October 2012. 843 Acres, “Prayer as Discipline: Kingdom-Centered for the City.” 24 October 2012. 843 Acres, “Prayer as Discipline: Word-Centered.” 25 October 2012. |  843 Acres, “Prayer as Discipline: Unanswered Prayers.” 23 October 2012. |  Thomas Watson. “A Body of Divinity.” |  See Romans 1. |  Psalms 119:34-36 ESV