In Prayer, the Waiting is the Hardest Part

Picture of by Matthew Leonard
by Matthew Leonard
The Art of Catholic with Matthew Leonard

I think a lot about rocker Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Why? Because whenever I’m praying for something that has not yet seem to be answered, I’m always reminded of his lyric “The waiting is the hardest part,” from his famous song “The Waiting.”

Matt packing
That’s me in the 90s…packing up.

Patience is hard. Really hard! In fact, I’ll tell you right now that it’s one of the things I struggle with on a regular basis. I’m a ‘git r done’ kind of guy, and when things aren’t happening it drives me nuts. Of course, this applies to prayer. In fact, when it’s something really important, lack of immediate action can be scary.

I’ll never forget when I was 26 years old sitting in the living room of my high rise apartment wondering where I was going to go…literally. I was surrounded by boxes as it was the last day of my lease. My roommate had already left the building with Elvis and I had no idea where I was even going to spend that night. In prayer, I had discerned that moving was the right course of action, but I was freaking out. “God! What’s up with this? My name isn’t Abraham. It’s Matt. Tell me where I’m going.” It was crazy.

There’s a whole lot more to the story which I’ll probably tell in my next book, but the super short version is that my brother-in-law showed up and invited me to move in with him. In fact, he said he really felt in prayer the Lord had instructed him to have me come to his home. Boy, was I grateful! I stayed with him for three months before I found myself on a mountain in Guatemala preparing for the next phase of my life…but that’s another story.

The moral of the story (aside from remembering it’s a good idea to know where you’re moving to) is that patience is a virtue. And we need to cultivate it in our lives. St. Teresa of Avila says, “Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.”

So try not to worry or wonder if God is going to come through. Have trust and patience. He always answers prayers. Realize that even though it may drive us crazy, God’s timing isn’t our timing. He’s never late, but he’s never early, either. In the big picture, he’s always right on time.

Have a story about when God came through for you at what you thought was the last moment? Leave a comment and tell me about it.

God bless!

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