Patience: I want it now!


The old saying goes something like this “I’m willing to learn patience but will it take long?”  Patience is one of the character qualities that is never actually learned by reading about it. Before you write that correction note to me, hang on. I know the Bible teaches about patience. It illustrates it through the lives of many people, like Job for example. It tells us that one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit controlling our lives is patience. But we don’t actually have a handle on it until we are tested.

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Our Greatest Need

IMG_0086You and I are attracted to the successful and the flashy, it is part of our human nature, see Genesis 3 to prove that point!  What we are not attracted to is the cost to achieve such status. We prefer the easy route as to the one that is marked with pain and suffering. Often, we ask God for the easy route because, well…it is easy. It is my experience that God seldom operates on my agenda.

King Solomon (1 Kings 3-4), achieved the status of being the wisest and richest famous person in the world. People from all over came to get his opinion. I think we are drawn to this story because of what Solomon received. However, what we tend to forget about Solomon is his prayer asking God for wisdom to conduct his life and kingship.

So, I need to stop and ask myself the question, if God were to give me the same opportunity that He did to Solomon, what would I ask for? Money? Fame?

It is also interesting to note that the blessings that came to Solomon came as a result of what he asked for. He did not ask for riches or fame although, in the plan of God that is what He received. Above all, he knew that in order to conduct the affairs of the nation that he would need the heart and mind of God. And that is what he asked the Lord for.

I don’t know where you are in your journey of faith, but allow me to share that.  I am learning, little by little is that the blessings of God come as a result of being in harmony with the heart of God. Very seldom does He acquiesce to what I think I need in the moment of prayer.  Here is my conclusion after walking with the Lord for more than 30 years; When I have as priority God above everybody and everything else after THEN God will bless me, according to His will and plan, and not according to mine. By the way, in case you are wondering I am not talking about a “health, wealth, prosperity gospel.” I’m talking about a genuine humility that places God first!

So here is the question of the day:

What am you asking God for? What is the greatest need confronting you today? It may not be what comes first to your ming.

The wonderful promise of Scripture is this: “Seek me and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

The “In-Between” Time

The In BetweenOne of the hardest places to live is “in between.”  The term suggests uncertainty and I have yet to meet anyone who likes to live at that address!  We like to know when the next pay cheque is coming and who is writing it!  Most of us build our lives around routines that includes when we get up in the morning, it seems that we could drive to work with our eyes closed (not recommending that at all!) because we know the route so well and our jobs have pretty well-defined expectations and demands.

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The Practice of Prayer

It’s Wednesday night at 7 o’clock, we are gathered at the corner of Queens Avenue      apraying handsnd Adelaide Street in London, Ontario to pray.  We sing a couple of hymns, listen to a brief study of God’s Word then we gather in groups to pray.  But the prayer time seems very sterile and safe.  We pray for health issues, the pastors and missionaries and conclude with an Amen. But there is something missing.  I finally have put my thumb on it.

Prayer can become very rote. We do it because, well, God created Wednesday nights for prayer meeting, didn’t he?  It becomes so mechanical that we can pray whether God shows up or not. We forgot that the fundamental reason for prayer is not asking for stuff but having communion with the Creator of the universe.

Jesus taught this in his model prayer to his disciples.  When we pray there is a recognition to whom we are speaking, he is ‘Our Father in Heaven.’ There is an attitude of entering a holy place as we bow together with the recognition that we have been invited by him to enter. Hebrews 4:16 teaches us that we can boldly enter into the throne of grace to find help in time of need. We boldly enter with proper reverence and humility.

Have you heard the expression that prayer is work? For a long time I didn’t grasp the significance of that statement. The older I get (cue the record player!) the more I am beginning to get it. Prayer involves more than the repetition of phrases that we have learned from others. It involves the connection of our soul with God. For that reason we need to make sure that there are no impediments (sin) between us and the Lord.

Too often we treat prayer as the lucky rabbit’s foot. We think if we pray then all will be well and God will grant us our desires! Or, if we pray then we will have no problems, if we pray at the right time, with the right posture then God is almost obligated to answer us as we wish. But we have missed the greatest treasure of prayer. True prayer is the intimate relationship that we have with our Father (by the way, the fact we call God ‘our Father’ is a clue to that intimacy).

Jesus gives us a clue to this intimate relationship he invites us to in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” How in the world can we turn down that invitation! It is worthy of us clearing everything from our agenda to respond with all our soul, “Yes!”  The invitation to have a meal is something very personal and intimate. The Lord invites us to sit at his feet and pour out our heart and listen to Him. From the intimacy of our heart we express our love for him and desire to please him above all. That is what we do in prayer!

I am still learning about prayer. I am not sure I understand all of it yet but I hope to grow in getting to know the One to whom I am speaking. You?