In the Meantime While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said: “Don’t be afraid Zechariah! God has heard your prayer.” – Luke 1:11–13 (NLT, adapted) KENNETH L. SAMUEL | Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were no gap between our prayer petitions and the granting of our prayer petitions? We hold within our hearts so many prayerful pleas that have not yet been granted and so many prayerful hopes that have not yet been realized. We believe that God is faithful. And we trust that God is the giver of every good and per- fect gift. But the question remains: What are we to do in the meantime between praying and receiving what we pray for? Many of us have become despondent in the meantime. We’ve substituted prayer for expe- diency, and basically conditioned ourselves to live without hope. Living in a reality with- out imagination is hell, but we make the adjustment . . . for we often assume that God’s delays are God’s denials. Even the priest Zechariah had pretty much resigned himself to life without the fulfillment of his petition of having a child. Too many years had passed . . . his wife Elizabeth re- mained barren . . . and they had both gotten too old to have children. But though Zechariah may have given up on his prayer, he never gave up his faith in God. In all the meantime of unanswered prayer and unfulfilled hope, Zechariah and Elizabeth remained steadfast in their obedience to God. And then it happened. The angel appeared while Zechariah, though disappointed, still performed his duties in the sanctuary. If we persevere in faithfulness, despite the disappointments we carry, we too may hear the voice of God telling us that our prayers have not been forgotten, and our faith is not in vain. PRAYER God, despite disappointments and delays, renew our faith this Advent season.

About the Writer:
KENNETH L. SAMUEL is Pastor of Victory for the World Church (UCC) in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He is the author of Solomon’s Success: Four Essential Keys to Leadership.

Source: “What’s Left of the Night?” | 2022 Advent-Christmastide Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.