A Prayer for Patience While You Wait on the Lord
“Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” - James 5:8 (ESV)
What is Patience?
Patience is the capacity for us to tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. And the Bible has a LOT to say about learning how to be patience – it is a fruit of the Spirit that God strongly desires his children to grow in.
Patience requires endurance. When we are severely pressed, this gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is a product of our cooperative submission to His authority. Hearts established in God’s Truth grant us the grace it takes to be patient. James 5:8 connects the idea of an established heart and patience when it says, “Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
How to Strengthen Your Heart and Build Patience in the Process
The NASB version of James 5:8 says to “strengthen your hearts.” The Greek word for strengthen is sterizo, meaning to make stable or place firmly. The heart is the center of our being. God’s Word should be the firm foundation of the heart of our souls. When it is, are prone perspective allows us to be patient. A habitual commitment to read Scripture is the highest priority to achieve healthy spiritual functionality.
We cannot expect to readily flex the spiritual gift of patience when we’ve not worked out our mind in God’s Word. I can’t run a marathon after sitting on the couch and eating ice cream for two years. Nor can I expect to experience the peace and perspective that comes from getting to know God without actively seeking Him.
Though my husband and I have been married for over a decade, we are still learning new things about each other. Every attempt we make to grow closer to God and to each other helps our marriage grow stronger. My parents have been a part of my entire life, yet I still continue to learn their whole story, and share in a different level of perspective wisdom. Likewise, getting to know God’s character strengthens our standards of operation.
Look Up, Not Around, as You Work to Build Patience
When waiting in patience is required, our immediate reaction may be to strive for what we can see or become caught up in actively seeking a solution beyond our scope of vision. We may find ourselves attempting to pinpoint the cause, or assign blame, for a period of silence that God has assigned. James 5:9 (ESV) states, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers,” instructing us to instead “resist resentment and retaliation” (NIV Study Bible Notes).
The word “grumble” in Greek isstenazo, meaning a sigh, or to groan. Aiming our angst at other people, or even ourselves, isn’t going to speed up God’s timing or change His purpose for our days… or lives. On the contrary, it could keep us from enjoying pockets of blessing along the way. Sometimes, we are simply called to sit still in His presence. Instead, we mute God’s answers and turn up the volume of the surrounding crowd.
Even wise voices occasionally yield inaccurate applications and affirmations. But in our rush to keep moving and striving forward, we sometimes fail to check their words with God’s. Instead of sitting in silence with Him long enough for Him lead us, we run towards tangible solutions.
The danger in impatience is the high probability that we will find ourselves in a quick tailspin of bad decisions or sticky situations that could have been avoided. God, in His mercy and compassion for us, will never turn His back and label our life “too late.”
Fight Fear and Impatience with Trust
Psalm 56:3-4 reminds us, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” When our patience is tested, we can let fear interfere with our attempts to forgive first. It can tempt us to grab control of something that rightfully belongs to God. “What can measly men do to me?” the Voice paraphrase reads. We, too, are measly men and women. Our free will doesn’t trump God’s omnipotent hand on the universe and it’s definitive direction.
James 1:3 says that “the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” When we’ve experienced enough life to look back on the ways God has pulled us through, we can rest - even experience - joy in trials. The endurance we build by spending time with God allows us to obediently submit to the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit in us, including patience. The Voice paraphrase of James 1:3-4 says, “true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line- mature, complete and wanting nothing.”
A Prayer for Patience
We praise You for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Your alive and active Word, continually sewing our heart together to mirror Your Son, Jesus. Patience isn’t easy, but it also isn’t ours to create in ourselves. Thank You for working in us what we do not have the ability to otherwise. When injustice smacks into our reality, it’s hard to let You make the first move. When the people in our lives press our aggravation, it’s difficult to submit to the power of the Holy Spirit in us. We want to take control and strive for solutions. Forgive us for allowing our temperaments to speak first.
Father, You love us perfectly, and promise to defend us. You hear us and are concerned about us. Help us to trust You with our daily skirmishes, and waging wars. Daily, remind us to sit with You and soak in the powerful wisdom available to us in Your Word. Help us to remember Psalm 56 when we are afraid. Periods of waiting often lead us to fear, and fear can chip away at our trust and faith. Yet, “what can mere mortals do to us?” We can go through nothing that You do not have the ability to pull us through!
Help us to understand the gravity and weight of the words, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3) May the Holy Spirit move through us and remove our fear in testing moments of trial, and usher in a renewed faith and trust, just as the reminder of Your Word. For, “In God, whose Word I praise …I will not be afraid.” Your Word has power when faithfully proclaimed over our situations and fears.
Bless our hearts to be established in Christ, for “the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:8) May we ever be reminded of His sacrifice for us, and the love for us that drove Him there. That same love promises never to leave us, and to provide the patient endurance we need to stand up under trials of patience. None of them will last forever, but eternity with our Savior will.
Praise You, Father!
In Jesus’ Name,
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Megs writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org. Her passion is to encourage others to seek Him first. A stay-at-home mom, freelance writer and blogger, Bible study teacher, and children’s worship team leader, faith in action is an important priority. She resides in Ohio with her husband of ten years, two dancing daughters, and their Golden-doodle.
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Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ as an author, freelance writer, and blogger at Sunny&80. Her first book, “Friends with Everyone,” is available on amazon.com. She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters. Besides writing, she leads a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. She lives in Northern Ohio with her husband, Jim, and two daughters.