Afraid to Pray for Patience? Don’t Be!

Phyllis Nissila

Woke up this morning with an exciting new challenge on my mind, one that requires a bit of courage.

Even though the outcome, whichever way it goes, will be very good, thoughts around the particulars of this challenge can still cause some stress: chest tightens, pulse rate quickens.

The “they of therapy authority” often say, “The body doesn’t differentiate whether or not stress is good or bad. It reacts the same, either way.” So I’m not really surprised that something good can cause something bad.

But in my “mature age” I am becoming more mindful of, and attentive to, the body’s reactions to stress; therefore, I gave this old response some new thought.

Realization #1: the physiological reactions noted above didn’t surface until I prayed for more courage.


Why? I wondered.

Immediately, the old adage often heard in Christian circles surfaced front and center on my brain: “You better watch out what you pray for!”

(Okay. Breathe…)

This saying is commonly attached to prayers over patience, and those who hawk this notion often commence to offer illustrations involving horrid things that followed their own patience prayer that forced them to have to wait for, say, rent money or the results of lab tests for some dread disease.

You know the drill.

I suppose my brain somehow equates courage with patience; thus, still, apparently, under some influence of the dread-mongers, I succumbed again to the cinching chest and palpitating pulse.

But this is where I stopped action and employed …

Realization #2, as expressed thus: Really? What’s the truth of this? (I often employ my new-found de-stressing, chest-relaxing, pulse-chilling skills by asking myself questions.)

Immediately, a few heartening Scriptures came to mind that I share, here, in case some challenging event has YOU in a state of double-dread over the event and praying for “the P word.”

See if these bring your shoulders down from your ears a little bit while re-affirming the truth that your Heavenly Father really DOES give bread, not stone, when you ask for it:

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 (Isaiah 40:31, KJV).

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near (James 5:7-8, NIV) (Note: This one is a kind of two-for-one deal, too: reminds us of the value of patience while at the same time reminding us of another great encouragement: the nearness of the Lord’s coming.)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28, NIV).

And for dessert, sit yourself down and enjoy a heaping portion of all the times you said to yourself and maybe even to others, “Whoa! Amazing timing, God!” Or something like that.

It’s all good in Him.

Thanks, Lord.

(Bolding and praise, mine.)

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5 Responses to Afraid to Pray for Patience? Don’t Be!

  1. betternotbroken says:

    Thanks for the reminder, I need to pray for patience. Well done.


  2. Carl Gordon says:

    “Our Heavenly Father really does give bread, not stone, when you ask for it.” I think I will make a poster and a tee shirt with those very words on it. Refreshed by this post. Many thanks. 🙂


    • pnissila says:

      Glad your are refreshed, sis. We need all the refreshment we can get, these days! There’s enough dread and weariness in the world at large. So glad that in the midst of it all, we still get to have the “joy of the Lord” which is our strength.


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