Tag Archives: Patience

waiting

How to Pray in Active Waiting

I am horrible at waiting. I don’t always hate waiting itself, but I have expectations. When something is not done in the timeframe I expect, I get an attitude — and keep waiting.

Right now, we are all waiting for the pandemic to pass. Social distancing, quarantining, and staying home are taking a toll on many of us. How do we endure the wait?

One of my best lessons about waiting came from learning how to grill a steak properly. For me, a perfect steak is medium well — just a hint of pink.

The first time I grilled steak, it was a disaster. It appeared to be just right — the juices were bubbling, the grill marks were there, and it smelled divine. Then I cut into it — it was blood-red and cold to the touch. Not one who is easily defeated, I talked to some seasoned grillers. They all suspected the same thing: the heat was too high.

“You have to wait for a steak to come to perfection. The high heat cooks it deceptively,” one of the grillers told me.

“It looks ready on the outside but is still raw on the inside. High heat cuts down the wait time, but it does not thoroughly cook the meat.”

I didn’t like hearing I was impatient.

Waiting isn’t bad; it can be a time of renewal. In Isaiah 40:31, Scripture tells us, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Being renewed gives you strength for the journey. But sometimes, I find myself getting tired, because I am working to do what God said he would do, instead of waiting on God.

Earlier this year, I ran my first 5k race. I trained for the race, but halfway through, I found myself a little tired. However, when I saw the finish line, something happened to my weary body — I got a second wind. I didn’t even stop to take pictures with the signs of famous women along the route. I just kept running, going around people, staying focused on finishing. When I get tired of waiting, I imagine God renews my strength, just like my strength was renewed when I saw the finish line. Waiting is always part of the process.

Waiting is about preparing for what is to come. Get ready for what you request! Instead of watching my steak, pressing it down, or flipping it too soon, I left it alone. Instead, I set the table and put out the side dishes for the meal.

Invest in your waiting. I have petitions before God. While waiting, I fast and pray not just for my requests but also for others’ requests. On Fast for Your Future Tuesday, I fast and pray with people, believing God for answers.

Wait well. Learn how to praise God for what you are waiting for. Offering gratitude for what you cannot see may be a challenge. But praising God can change your attitude and perspective.

Are you praying for something? Do you have a request before God? Don’t get discouraged if you are tired of waiting. Just wait —the answer is on the way. Sometimes, waiting is easier said than done, but I am always encouraged by what David says about waiting in Psalms 27:13-14: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Don’t be impatient, like I was with the steak. Wait on the Lord. Because just like I waited for the steak to cook properly, you will be glad you waited for God to give you or send you the perfect answer.


Featured image: “Waiting” by Nicholas Roerich, 1927

Karen Bates ~ Wait for God’s Goodness

In a recent conversation, the idea being discussed centered on what it means to wait on God. One person in the group asked, “how do you know when to give up?” The other members of the group immediately looked at me. I asked, “why are you all looking at me?” Someone replied, “you are the pastor! You should have an answer.” The person scoffed when I said, “you never give up when you are waiting on God. It doesn’t matter if you are waiting on a promise, something you requested, something you need — whatever it is, if God says, wait — wait. It is important to trust God’s timing.”

That’s something I have experience with. During a season of unemployment, I knew God had promised me that I would return to work, that I was not to panic but to trust him. It was easy to trust God while I was receiving unemployment checks. But as the deadline for the checks to end neared, I tried not to panic but kept reminding God that bills were still due.

God provided — from expected and unexpected sources. One person who didn’t know me put money in my hand and said, “God told me to give this to you.” When I tried to explain, the person said I owed no explanation. “And please, do not send me a thank you note. Thank God. It is from him.” I waited until I got to my car to count the money. It was enough to cover my car payment, insurance, and gas for several weeks. And while I thanked God, I reminded God again: I need a job. After the unemployment checks ended and I still wasn’t working, I was always asking for prayer. God reminded me to stop asking and to wait.

One of my favorite verses of scripture is Psalm 27:14: “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” However, that Scripture is what I quoted to other people who were waiting. My morning prayer turned into me asking God for courage to wait and to strengthen my heart to believe. When my belief in what God has promised me wanes, I often consider the father whose child was possessed by a spirit described in Mark 9. The truth is, sometimes I’m the father — “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” I don’t always know what it takes to believe God for what he has promised. Unbelief is easy; belief takes faith — and sometimes patience.

The beauty of waiting is not always evident. In the waiting, I am often consumed by thoughts about what happens if. What if God’s promise doesn’t come true? What will people think if I said God would do it and he doesn’t? What happens if? God has gently reminded me more than once that the onus for what he has promised is not on me. It is on him. God will do what he says — in his own time.

There is a beauty in waiting, but it is not shown while we wait. The beauty is revealed when you review what God has done in you while you were believing and waiting.

The father’s request — and Jesus’ promise — was healing for the boy. Even when it looked as if the boy was dead, the father continued to believe. Don’t stop believing if life was promised to a situation that appears dead. I wonder how the father felt in those moments when his son was on the ground, and some thought the boy was dead? I’m sure those moments felt like years. However, the good news is that the promise came to be: “Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.” ( Mark 9:27)

As I was waiting and praying for the job, I talked to an employment counselor. The counselor said it would be at least four to six weeks before I would be working. I had been without an income for five weeks at that time. However, God’s timing is perfect. The job opportunity God had for me opened much sooner. I applied for the job during the third week of July and was working in the second week of August. Never give up on what God has promised you. Keep believing, keep the faith, keep trusting, and keep waiting. Wait on the Lord, and if you must, pray, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.”

Otis T. McMillan ~ Engaging with Today Like Jesus

Listen to the Spirit and Work with Your Hands

What does this day hold for you—work, play, meetings, ministry, chores? Start by looking up and committing today to God. Then attend those meetings with God. Listen to his Spirit’s whispers and wisdom. Work with your hands like Jesus did. Minister to others in the same way that Jesus ministers to you. Love the people around you. And do it all with a grateful heart, thanking God for the blessings of life and his presence and guidance. Trust God’s love for you. Commit your day to leading like Jesus and commit yourself to his care as you lay down to rest.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” —Matthew 6:33

Pray with me, God, as I move through this day, remind me to look up from the world around me and refresh my perspective so I can live, love, and lead in Your name, amen.

Give the Gift of Patience

Today, patience is one of the greatest gifts we can give others. Too often we want people to hurry up and get with it—the “it” often is aligning with our perspective. We think we know what (and when and how) people should act and speak. “If they would just follow my advice,” we think (and often say), “everything would work out.”

The truth is that God is the only one who knows their entire situation and story. God alone knows the best what and when and how for them. Our impatient demands only add more stress and get in the way of God’s work.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” — Colossians 3:12

Will you pray with me? Lord, today, when I am tempted to be impatient, remind me that my impatience does not accomplish your purpose. Let me reflect your patience today. In your name I pray, amen.

Trust Jesus Is Reaching Out to Your Pain

Jesus’ hands bear the marks of his incarnation and sacrifice. His hands worked with construction tools, scooped up mud to heal a blind man, and were pierced by an executioner’s nails. Jesus experienced the worst that evil could imagine and enters into our everyday experiences and pain. Because Jesus willingly stepped into human life and experience, you can trust him to understand what it is you face. Where do you need to trust Jesus to reach out his hands to you and through you today?

“After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means ‘Sent’). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.” — John 9:6-7

Will you pray with me? Jesus, I am reaching out to take your hand and walk with you into this day. Open my eyes to see where you are sending me and teach me to lead like you. In your name I pray, amen.

Debbie Wallace-Padgett ~ A Season of Yeasting

I have a delicious no-fail sourdough bread recipe!  It involves a three-step process spread over one and a half days.  The key to the recipe is to give the bread dough time to “yeast” –  Sue Monk Kidd’s word for allowing bread to rise.

Kidd tells of making the bread with the assistance of her five year old daughter, Ann.  When they got to the part of adding yeast and covering the dough with a dishcloth so that it would rise, little Ann wrinkled her brow and asked, “Aren’t you going to finish?”  “We have to wait for the dough to rise,” explained her mother. “Well, how long do we have to wait?” responded Ann.  “An hour,” answered her mother.  “A WHOLE hour?” the little girl grimaced and plopped in her chair to wait it out, occasionally lifting the cloth to peek at the dough. “It’s not doing anything,” she announced. Her Mom replied, “You can’t see it, but the yeast is working. I promise.” Unconvinced, Ann wandered off to play.  Toward the end of the hour she returned to peer into the bowl. Her face lit up. “Look, Mama, it’s yeasting!” she proclaimed. (When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd, pp42-43)

Yeasting is a beautiful concept, not only in breadmaking, but also in our spiritual lives.  In fact, Advent could be called a season of yeasting. It is a time when we wait for God’s word and work in our lives. Though much is happening while we yeast, we must wait patiently for the yeasting process to be completed.

What do we do while we yeast?   The father-to-be Zechariah prays. (Luke 1:5-25)   He and his wife, Elizabeth, have waited so long for a child that he has lost hope of their prayers ever being answered. He receives the surprise of a lifetime when the angel says, “Your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son.” The yeasting process is completed and Zechariah’s hope becomes reality.

Advent praying is essential for our Advent yeasting, too. Through the mystery of prayer, we talk to God about our concerns and joys.  As we pray we hear from God, receiving direction, encouragement, and strength.  Most of us do not have the privilege of an angel coming and spelling God’s plan out for us. But God still speaks to us through a variety of means.  As we wait – as we yeast like Zechariah – we do well to pray.

We pray for forgiveness, changed hearts, and transformed lives. We ask for strength for the day, courage in the face of injustice, and generosity in our relationships with others. We lift up our loved ones, the sick, the hungry, those who do not yet know Christ, those who are persecuted for their faith. We pray for ourselves, each other, our church and our world.

But prayer is so much more than making requests of God. It involves waiting to hear God speak. It requires listening for God’s response to requests.  It means a willingness to hear God answer our heart’s desires with a yes, a no, or with a wait and yeast.

During this Advent season, like Zechariah, we wait.  We wait for God’s comfort, direction, peace, and justice in the world.  We wait while the yeasting process works in our lives, churches, and communities.  The time will come when God calls us to act.  In fact, if ever a response to God and others is demanded, it is at Christmas- which is only a few days away.  But in the meantime, I find myself waiting, yeasting so to speak.  And while I wait, my prayer life is full of talking and listening to God.   For now, that seems like enough.  After all – it is Advent – the season of yeasting.


Featured image by Nadya Spetnitskaya on Unsplash.