Prayer Thought: Pray for Patience…Yes I Just Said That!
“The Scriptures contain many stories of people who waited years or even decades before the Lord’s promises came to pass. What modern believers can learn from the patience of biblical saints like Abraham, Joseph, David, and Paul is that waiting upon the Lord has eternal rewards.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about patience lately. It is a virtue after all, or so they say. It’s also fascinated me that more times than not, when talking to someone about this topic, they will 9 out of 10 times say something like, “Oh man, don’t ever pray for patience. You’re asking for it if you do. The Lord may just take you up on that and test you!” Now I realize this is all in good fun, but I’ve often wondered if there truly is a bit of apprehension and misunderstood theology in their words.
You see, patience is a fruit of the Spirit that is to be sought after and developed as part of our sanctification process (aspiring to be more like Christ daily). In fact, I’d like us to consider two of the many uses of patience spoken of in Scripture. Then maybe we can have a healthier conscience and confidence moving forward thinking about it this week.
The Psalmist speaks of waiting patiently for the Lord. “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help (Ps. 40:1).” What’s the context here. King David goes to the Lord with eager expectation and full assurance that God will act. He’s able to wait on the Lord, knowing that he can trust God’s sufficient care and help. But catch this…he understood that it was in God’s own timing and for His own gracious purposes. Hence, David waited patiently.
The second has to do with patience being that of longsuffering with others around us. Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 4:1-2, “Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love,” And again in Col. 3:12, “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another.”
These things are to be “put on” as character qualities for the purpose of being longsuffering and bearing with one another. Having patience toward a fellow brother or sister in Christ, family, friend, or foe allows us to live peacefully with others. Not to mention lower our blood pressure and incidences of road rage😉.
So, this week, don’t merely think of patience as a bad word in Christian language. Praise the Lord that He gives you opportunity to exercise patience as you wait on Him and as you deal with others on a daily basis.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of learning how to be patient and longsuffering. Give me opportunities this week to exercise patience as a fruit of the Spirit. I desire to be more and more like Jesus every day. Amen
Clayton J. Elliott, Kontaktmission USA
Director of Pastoral Ministries and Prayer