Thursday, 18 February 2016

Learning how to wait

Jesus speaks about persistence in prayer through the parable of the widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-7), and the importance of 'not losing heart' i.e. being discouraged, when it seems as if there is no result, no change for the effort made. Awareness, concentration and persistence don't come naturally, they develop over the passage of time.

The scriptures provide powerful examples of of prayers eloquently expressing praise and penitence, sometimes at great length. These are often conceived by people in times of trial or great joy, when making time to pray is less of an effort, since it is a response driven by exceptional experiences. As desire grows to get to know and trust God, and work on the relationship in earnest however, it can be harder to make more time for prayer routinely, given the pressure everyday life exerts to divert us. This can be discouraging, and leave us feeling guilty and ashamed.

It is better to remember that God is always ready to welcome us, however much or little time we manage to set aside. God knows better than we do the conflicting forces at work in us, consciously and unconsciously, and awaits our response.

'Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.' (Matt 6:8b) 

'Lord you have searched me and known me, you know my resting and my rising, you perceive my thoughts from afar, all my ways lie open to you.' (Ps 139:1-2)

God is patient with us. From him we too can learn patience, with others and with ourselves. The word 'patience' has its root in the Latin 'patio', to suffer. Its meaning is given as 'the capacity to wait, to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.' In relating to God in prayer, learning how to wait, is part of learning persistence 

'Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find.' (Luke 11:9) Words of Jesus which reassure us that there is purpose to persistence. Even so, what we find may not be what we thought we wanted, but it will be what God gives us, and we will learn to recognise this, as we persist in prayer, and realise that we can be thankful in all circumstances.

'Wait for the LORD; be strong, let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!' (Ps 27:14)


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