No! Don’t Pray For Patience!

I can remember in the 80’s being a part of an amazing small group ministry and one of the jokes was: you never pray for patience. The thought was that if you did, you were asking for trouble. I can remember times praying in a circle and someone would mention the P word and everyone would start saying, “NO! Don’t pray for patience. Anything but patience.!” We would all laugh and then go back into the seriousness of our prayer time totally avoiding that word at all costs.

Looking back on those times and the prayers of today, I think we do a disservice to those we don’t pray for patience for and ourselves. The definition of patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

We’ve been looking at this all wrong. We aren’t exactly asking for troubles or trials to come or even for God to test us, we are preparing ourselves to be overcomers before they come. The scriptures are very clear that we are going to have trials and tribulations. We are preparing our hearts to accept the lessons we will be learning in the School of Hard Times. And we are asking God to help us accept these things without getting angry and upset. Could you imagine what being in traffic would look like if we applied this prayer to our life?

I don’t know about you but almost every time, and I am not kidding, that I go shopping, I pick the slowest line to stand in. I always tell those I am with that they might want to go stand in a different line because no matter where I go someone has a problem ahead of me. Getting angry doesn’t change things. It would just make me look like the foolish one. So I bring my phone and play a game in line lol. I have learned the art of patience at the School of Line Standing!

James 1:2-4Amplified Bible (AMP)

Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

I’m reading this book called 31 Days of Healing and the author says, “You see, tests and trials don’t perfect you. It what’s you do with them that counts.”

Maybe we need to rethink this a bit. If patience is going to mature me, give me peace and completely develop my faith, shouldn’t we be saying, “And you’re doing this why Lord?” The word says in other versions to count it all joy…..did you catch the word ALL? That one kind of hurts a little bit. The Lord knows we are going to have pain and sorrow but this scripture is telling us to look ahead and not to stay stuck in the pain.

One of the meanings of the word joy is calm delight. So we don’t have to jump up and down when we are experiencing hard times. But we can calmly delight in the fact that God’s plans are not to harm us but prosper us, to give us hope and a future. (Jer 29:11)

So the next time you hear someone say, “Don’t pray for patience!” Ask them if they would like to be angry and mad or calmly delighting in their next trial.

Peace, Focus, and Loyalty

Today has been a hard day….I watch the news and look on facebook and it’s just hate, hate, hate. Then there are people saying hateful things about the people hating. It has really grieved my heart to the point of exhaustion and tears. I finally had to shut off the news and put on Christmas movies.

As I was crying and praying though, my dog Jewels comes up to me and puts her head in my lap. As much as I wished it was for comfort, what she was really saying was, “Mom, I want to go outside.” Sigh. I got up put leashes on the dogs  and opened the door to the most amazing sight: there were about 11+ doves in my yard.

I love doves. To me they signify peace, focus and loyalty. I felt at that moment God was sending me a gift. He reminded me that He has given me peace. Not the peace that the world gives but his peace. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] AMP

He reminded me to keep my focus on Him not what is said, reasoned, surmised, predicted but on His heart and what His word tells me. Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. AMP

I read once that Doves mate for life. They are totally loyal and focused on  each other. In Song of Soloman 4:1 (reading as an allegory with the King representing the Lord and the maiden me, you, and/or the church as His bride) the kings says “How fair and beautiful you are, my darling,
How very beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are like those of a dove;

and verse 9 “You have ravished my heart and given me courage, my sister, my [promised] bride; You have ravished my heart and given me courage with a single glance of your eyes,AMP

What ever thoughts I have had or have been inclined to have the Lord was reminding me to: Ps 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable and pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, immovable] rock and my Redeemer.

As I finish writing this blog I will endeavor to Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in (my) your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].

I am thankful that God sent me a flock of Doves to remind me just how much He loves me and cares for my heart and calls me to come sit in His lap and trust Him with my prayers and to be encouraged because He has overcome the world! All I need to do is stay peaceful, remain loyal and live focused on Him and the impossibles that are possible to Him!!