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No Need to Pray for Patience

There is an old saying that you don’t pray for patience because God will answer with situations that require that particular virtue, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

No, what I’m talking about is something of which I’ve been reminded many times through the years as I get tempted to ask God for more patience.  It’s not wrong to pray that, just not necessary, I believe.

Do we forget that one in the list of the fruit of the Spirit is patience (Galatians 5:22-24)? It’s already there and available so why would you have to ask God for it?

He demonstrates His patience with me in innumerable ways through His compassion, loves me, and comfort.

After all my screw-ups, failures, and missteps, I’m still here. I can still feel His presence.  His word and promise are transforming me. He cannot increase His patience with me, and I have access to Him (and therefore, His patience).

So what is my prayer?

He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

John the Baptist was talking about his ministry and prominence, but I believe you can apply it to anything. You and I simply have to decrease.

     I want the life of the Holy Spirit… then make room, says my Creator.
I want to live exceptionally in obedience… then die to yourself, says my Lord.
I want to let go of insecurities and distractions… then open up to me, says my Shepherd.
I want patience for the road ahead… then receive it, says my Father.

Come back to this simple truth: it is a gift.

The question is not whether God will give it. Before getting to the fruit of the Spirit, Paul uses much of Galatians to instruct the church on sonship and freedom: you are an heir. All He has is yours! Putting to death the deeds of the flesh and walking by His Spirit is the context for receiving this spiritual fruit in our lives.

He’s already moved heaven and earth, changing the course of history, so that you could receive. Will you give up selfishness, pride, secret ambitions, etc. so He can fill you? What good is it to pray “Lord, fill me!” if we don’t go about the business of dying to self and making room?

Here is my prayer (and I hope you’ll make it yours too).

Lord, I want You. More than I want to defend my rights and promote myself, more than my selfish desires or even fulfilled promises. You are the Center, the Top, my Reward, and my Source. Help me make room. I will surrender in death to these earthly things so I can open up and receive what You have for this moment. You are always faithful, and I honor Your holy name. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Agree or disagree? What are your thoughts? Did you pray with me?

4 Comments

  1. I’ve always loved that simple, yet profoundly true, statement made by John the Baptist. Yes, we must decrease in our own selves in order for God to increase His presence in our lives. Only then, can He give us that abundant life He so wants us to have.
    Blessings, Jason!

    • That’s it exactly, Martha! Thank you.

  2. Agreed. Excellent point about it being a gift. But we must seek Him to have it as He designed it. Wonderful prayer, Jason. I made it mine too.

    • True. It’s the constant fellowship (unity with Him is what Jesus prayed for us) that allows us to walk these things out. Thanks so much, Floyd.

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