How Long, Lord? Being Real With God In Prayer

Have you ever wished you could express yourself to God in prayer like someone else you hear pray?  That you had the words to say what was in your heart?  I have, too.

But you know, God’s not looking for the right words, or a certain length prayer, or a flowery speech from us.

God just wants us to be real with Him. 

He wants us to poor out our hearts to Him, relying on Him, trusting Him with our deepest fears, heartaches, and even joys.

He doesn’t want us focused on the words so much as on Him and just talking it all out with Him.

woman wearing hat looking over wheat field

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The Psalms are so meaningful for us today, I believe, because the psalmists’ prayers are so real.  In our reading this week, David says what’s in his heart.  He says many of the things we all feel, but maybe wonder if it’s O.K. to say to God.

David’s Very Honest Prayer

In our reading in Psalms 13, four times David cries out, “How long?” 

How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?  Psalms 13:1-2

Can you just hear the despair and heartache and frustration in David’s prayer?  David is overwhelmed with it all and wants to know how much longer he must endure.  He is at the end of his rope and doesn’t know how much longer he can hold on.

David is very real with God in this prayer.  He needs God!  And that is very evident in his prayer.

And that’s what God looks for in our prayers, too.

He wants us to come to Him with our needs, showing that we understand that He is our only Source of help, the only One who has the power, and the love, necessary to fill our needs.

David needs to know how much longer he must wait for relief from his situation.  Because right now David doesn’t see an end in sight as he asks, “How long…? forever?

Things are so bad that David even feels like God must have forgotten him, or worse is hiding from him!

…how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? Psalms 13:1b

And while it is never O.K. to accuse God, at the same time, God isn’t afraid of our questions. 

God wants us to be real, to be honest, with Him and with ourselves in our prayers. 

David is overwhelmed and expresses those honest feelings in his prayer.

How long, Lord?  How long?

I can’t take it anymore!

Can you relate to David’s prayer? Have you ever been there?  And felt that you just couldn’t take it anymore?  I know I have.

Maybe you’ve prayed, “How long, Lord?”

  • How long until my son returns to You, caring more for what You want for him than what he sees in the world?

  • How long until my daughter starts making good choices?

  • How long until You heal me, Lord?

  • How long until my husband will finally believe on Jesus as his Saviour and Lord?

  • How long until my husband can find a stable job?

  • How long will I have to deal with this temptation?

  • How long will this person be allowed to treat me this way?

And on and on, for our needs and heartaches are many.

Sometimes we feel like we could hold on if we could just know how much longer.  In Psalms 27:14 we are told to wait on the Lord.  But we are not told how long to wait—Just wait.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.  Psalms 27:14

It’s probably just as well that most of the time God doesn’t tell us how long. Because even if He did, we’d still be beyond ready for the trial and the waiting to be over!

Are you like me? Could you use some growth in the patience department?


But, praise God, we can still find hope and joy in the waiting!


There is HOPE because the waiting has purpose. 

A good purpose.

God works all things together for our good…even the waiting that He allows in our lives.  (Romans 8:28)

  • Our faith is strengthened.

God uses the waiting times to strengthen us.  Our faith is stretched as we wait, strengthening our determination to trust God at ALL times.  (Psalms 27:14)


  • Our prayers are made more real.

And therefore, more effective. During the times of great heartache and waiting, we tend to pray more sincerely, not as concerned with the right words to say.  We pray from a heart earnestly seeking God and the relief we know only He can provide.  (James 5:16)


  • We learn persistence in seeking the Lord.

The waiting teaches us persistence in prayer.  Teaches us to pray earnestly, fervently.

For how long?


Until we receive our petition.  Or get a definite closed door, or blocked path.  A “No” answer. (Luke 18:1-8)

And…through persistent, seeking prayer…

We draw nigh to our Saviour! 

The greatest purpose of all for the waiting!


For more help deepening your prayer life, you’ll want to be sure to check out all these powerful Prayer Resources!

There is JOY in the waiting because Jesus waits with us!

God takes no pleasure in our pain.  Just the opposite. 

He hurts, too!  (Hebrews 4:15)

In fact, when Jesus stops Paul on the road to Damascus on his way to persecute more believers, Jesus tells Paul—

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 

And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  Acts 9:1-5

As Paul imprisoned and killed believers, Jesus felt the persecution, as well!  Jesus felt pain, too!  It hurt His heart because of His love for His people!

God doesn’t delight in making us wait, but rather uses the waiting for good.  God, like any good parent is willing to suffer, too, for the good of His child!

For another example, Jesus deliberately waited to come to Lazarus when He got word that Lazarus was sick.  He tarried where He was for 2 more days!  On purpose!  (John 11:6) Even knowing that Lazarus was really, really sick. 

And even while knowing that He would raise up Lazarus from the dead, (John 11:11-15) Jesus still wept!  (John 11:35) He hurt even knowing all His good purposes in allowing His friend to die. (John 11:15)

Let us, therefore, not give in to the temptation to believe that God does not care, that He does not hear, that He has left us. Or, that He has forgotten us, as David wondered.  (Psalm 13:1) 

Because that simply is not the truth!

God always has a good purpose in ALL that He allows in the lives of His beloved children!

And stays with us, loving and helping us through it all. (Hebrews 13:5)


So, how do we wait on the Lord in a way that is pleasing to Him?

And keeps us sane in the meantime?

We do as David tells us he did in Psalms 13.

1.  We stubbornly cling to and trust in God’s mercy.

But I have trusted in thy mercy; (Psalms 13:5a)

Our God is a merciful God.  Who loves us dearly.  Enough to give His Son, God Himself, to a cruel death in our place, so that we could be forgiven and made right with God!  

God won’t allow us to suffer one minute longer than is necessary for His good purposes to be accomplished.


2.  We rejoice in our salvation.

…my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.  (Psalms 13:5b)

If God never gives me another blessing in this life.  If He even takes away all the blessings I currently have.  ALL of them…family, friends, church family, good health, home, husband’s job…everything…He’d still be worthy of praise and thanksgiving for His unspeakable gift to me of eternal life WITH HIM in Heaven!

Remembering this truth, I can choose to hold on a little longer, trusting in my Saviour’s love for me, as I wait for His will to be worked out in the life of my loved one or in my own life. 

And rejoice in the waiting!  Because it WILL be worth it all…one day!


3.  We continue to sing and praise our God and Saviour.

I will sing unto the LORD, (Psalms 13:6a)

Remembering Who He is, and what that means for us, it is easy to worship and adore our God! 

  • His mercy means I don’t receive all the punishment I deserve! 

  • His grace means that I get to receive what I don’t deserve…His blessings here…and Heaven besides! 

  • His almighty power means I have a God who can do anything to protect and provide for me! 

  • His omnipresence means that I can never be out of His sight! 

And that’s not all! God is so much more. And so worthy of all our praise!  Even if what’s going on in our life right now isn’t at all what we desire. 

Even if we feel like we’re in a holding pattern, waiting in limbo for God to DO something!  Anything!

So, praise Him! 


And finally,…

4.  We remember all His bountiful dealings with us in the past. 

…because he hath dealt bountifully with me.  (Psalms 13:6b)

It’s so encouraging to me to get out my prayer journal or to open my Blessings jar from time to time and read and remember how faithful my God has been to me and my family over the years.  God is so good! 

God has never failed us, yet.  He never will! 


When I re-focus my thoughts in the ways that David tells us that he did, God’s Spirit directs my heart back to a calm surrender to the only One who can help me and my situation.  As the Spirit and His peace once again fills my soul, I am led to a renewed faith and resolve to rest and patiently wait on the Lord and His timing.   


Life isn’t easy. 

It is what it is.  So…

As we wait, let us change what we can and need to change.  Then…Get out of God’s way…by letting go of the rest. 

Trusting that God can and will handle our need. 

In.  His.  Time!


Drawing nigh to Him,


This post is part of our Psalms 1-30 Bible Study.

Study Journal available >> HERE!


Are you waiting for God to intervene in your life or a loved one’s life right now?  I am, too.  I imagine we all have prayer requests before the Lord that we would love for Him to answer…yesterday! 

What are you waiting on God for today? Share in the Comments. We’d love to pray with you!


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