How do you pray when you need patience? I was recently with a group of ladies where we were sharing prayer request. The theme of the day seemed to be moms praying for patience. Help! I need patience, was the cry of the room. It didn’t matter if it was a mom of babies and preschoolers, middle and high school students, or graduates.
We all needed patience to deal with the attitudes and growing pains of our children.
How to pray when you need patience.
I am sure you have heard people say don’t pray for patience because when you do trials are sure to come your way. It is true that the scripture says in the book of James that we should have joy when trails come our way because the testing we endure will bring about patience.
He then says if we let patience do its complete work in us then we will lack nothing, but wisdom we should pray for.
I know firsthand that the “praying for patience and getting more testing wheel” is almost impossible to get off of; round and round I go. Sometimes the more patience I pray for, the less patient I feel.
This led me to look at this verse a little deeper.
Maybe I don’t need to pray for patience. What was it that I was missing?
What is patience anyway?
A phrase I have heard all my life is, “Patience is a virtue”. You know how we grow up hearing something so much that you just assume it came from the Bible, well, I couldn’t find this verse. The phrase is not wrong necessarily, but it originally came from a poem written in the early 5th century about spiritual warfare. Who knew!?
I do know from scripture, Galatians 3:15, that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Just like character or virtues, fruit is developed overtime.
Our Spiritual Fruit is developed as we grow in the Spirit, participate in His work, and continue to become purified and molded into the image of God.
In other words, testing, trials, and learning to depend on Christ and His promises are a process of developing good fruit. Some other good phrases here would be dying to yourself, crucifying the flesh, and all that other fun stuff we love!
Is there an easier way?
Unfortunately not, however, there are some more specific ways we can pray.
Going back to the Scripture I mentioned above in the book of James. The author says that we should let patience do its perfect work in us so that we will lack nothing, but he then says if you lack wisdom you should pray for it!
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who give generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Oh, but there is more…
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:5-8 (NIV)
So first, we need to ask for wisdom. “God, please give me wisdom in how to handle, teach, and endure my children!”
Next we need to believe that He is working things out for the good of both you and your children. Believe that the answer and wisdom He gives you is going to work. Then you can rejoice and know that change will come.
How and why is God so patient with us?
First, because He loves us!
One of the best ways I think we can learn to develop good fruit is to look at the character of God and model his example. Here is a verse i think describes God’s patience with us.
But You, oh Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger abounding in loving devotion and truth. Psalms 86:15
Some other versions say:
- abounding in love and faithfulness
- filled with unfailing love and faithfulness
- abundant in loving kindness or long suffering
- plenteous in mercy and truth.
There are lots of different words to interpret this verse so my version of it, looking at the Greek, is something like this.
Despite the way the world reacts and treats me, you Lord, are full of compassion, mercy, and love. You hear my cries and show favor to me when I am annoyed, frustrated, and worried. God, You are patient with me for long periods of time and are not short tempered with me. Instead You are good and kind to me when I feel lowly, oppressed, and miserable. In those moments You give me good advice according to Your Word which is stable, steadfast, firm, and true.
Need more on knowing how much God loves you? Check out these posts.
Second, because He has a world to change.
The Word of God says that a quick temper stirs up wrath (Proverbs 15) and kindness brings repentance (Romans 2:4). Through God’s loving kindness and the gentle convictions of the Holy Spirit, we are drawn to Him. We are drawn to His approval of us even in our worst state so much so that we want to change to be like Him.
Do you think we could have that sort of impact on others? Is it possible that being slow to anger, thinking before we speak, and speaking into the lives of others with respect, compassion, understanding, and kindness might just bring about repentance and a change of behavior.
I know if I could participate in this type of discipline I would certainly develop the fruit of patience.
It is God’s ultimate desire that everyone would come to know Him as Savior. Therefore, He lets nothing go to waste. This is why He is so patient with us and why we should practice being patient with others; to bring them to salvation.
It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15-16 (NASB)
The reason Jesus shows me His perfect patience is to show His love to the world. We can show His love also, by gently loving and correcting others.
Being patient does not mean that you overlook wrong behavior.
I am thankful that God has shown me His perfect, immense, and great patience. Only He and I know how long suffering and patient He has had to be with me as I have continually put off or made excuses as to why I could not do things He has asked me to do.
If God can show me this kind of patience, can I then not show it to my children, spouse, and co-workers?
In God’s loving and patient way, He doesn’t just let me off the hook when I disobey, He gently corrects. He doesn’t shame or embarrass me when I get it wrong. Instead He guides me to the answers and surrounds me with tools I can use to search Him out.
Developing patience as a parent.
This is a verse that I think all parents will love. It really describes our jobs to a tee!
We urge you, brethren (moms and dads), admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, and help the weak all while being patient and kind. Wow, now that is a task!
Being patient means
- Having forbearance, tolerance, restraint and fortitude.
- It is to embrace staying power and steadfastness without force that rises up in anger.
- It is holding someone accountable and following through with discipline but doing so in a loving way.
Yep! I don’t know about you, but I certainly need some wisdom to accomplish that.
So how should you pray when you need patience?
Father God, Thank You for the loving kindness and long-suffering that you have shown me. If it were not for his grace and favor, I would have never come to know you. I praise You for being a God who is compassionate towards me and slow to anger. Lord, you said that I could ask you for wisdom at any time and that you would freely give it to me. Today, I am asking you for wisdom to know how to _________________________ (parent, be a good spouse, friend, etc.). You know how much ___________________ gets on my nerves and causes me to lose patience. Help me to see the big picture. Lord, give me wisdom to understand ________________ and their behavior. I want to be a part of Your plan to bring them to repentance and help mold them into Your image or bring them to salvation.
Lord I ask You to give me staying power! I need the power to stand in Your Word and in the promises you have given me for ____________. Help me to see and understand them through Your eyes. Give me the compassion I need to be firm with consequences and yet loving and kind at the same time. Lord, I thank You for being my hiding place. You are the place I can run to when I feel weak.
Give me strength to stay the course, hang on to Your promises, speak Your Word with authority, walk in compassion, and wisdom to execute Your plans. May the hope of a new and victorious day guide me. I can already visualize what the future will be and I claim that in Jesus name.
Oh, and also help me learn to be patient with myself, remembering that You are molding and shaping me as well. Amen!
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 (NKJV)
It is my hope that this word has encouraged you today! Remember, you are not in this thing alone! Leave me a comment! I would love to hear how this ministry has touched your life or encouraged you in some way!