Recently, the Holy Spirit has been teaching me more about faith and patience in prayer. I’ll like to share some of these things and I hope they serve as encouragement to someone out there.
Hebrews 11:1 lets us know that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. If something is visible and can be easily accessed, faith is simply not involved. The Greek word for faith here is “pistis” and it simply means persuasion or moral conviction. When a person is persuaded, there is hardly ever anything that can change their mind. This would mean that you’re so persuaded that what you hope for will come to pass and even though some things are not looking like they’ll happen, you’re still convinced they will. Wow! It’s no wonder faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit. Another definition I’d like to give is that faith is the ability to hold on unrepentantly to the word of God. Does God’s word say it? Yes? Then hold on to it, believe it, trust Him, He never fails. Even in the waiting, trust. That’s where patience in faith comes in and I’ll be talking about that soon.
Back to the second definition given, let’s look at 2 words: ability and unrepentant.
Unrepentant which means to be stubbornly persistent, and ability simply means the quality of being able to perform. An example of unrepentant behaviour is the Gentile woman who needed Jesus Christ to heal her sick daughter. Jesus had told her that it was not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs (Matthew 15:26 NIV). What?! With that response, a lot of people would walk out, be angry and even curse at Him. But her behaviour is one of great faith which Jesus acknowledged, she replied saying that even dogs eat of the crumbs that fall off the master’s table (Matthew 15:27 NIV). That behaviour is totally mind blowing, I tell you. Now to the second word- ability. It doesn’t just come like that. A person would not just be stubbornly persistent in believing something which isn’t yet seen, especially when it doesn’t look like it’s forthcoming. It’ll be so easy to give up, but not when you’re holding on to something precious like God’s word.
This persuasion, this moral conviction is built up in the place of prayer. Let’s look at our father in faith, Abraham, even while he waited, he still fellowshipped with God. I doubt he would have been patient for 25 years to have a son if he didn’t hear from God all those years. Jesus in Matthew 21:13 says His Father’s house, the temple, is a house of prayer. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul lets us know that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit which simply means we’re a house of prayer. We’re to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), we’re not just praying until something happens. Because even after what we pray for happens, we still continue praying. Say this: “I AM A HOUSE OF PRAYER”. And when you pray, don’t just feel like you’re blabbing words or praying to check it off your to do list. James 5:16 KJV says the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. When you pray, something happens. Persevering in prayer is an act of faith.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Just look how the Spirit of God in us brings beautiful things. Faith, a gift; patience, a fruit; prayer, a natural response. Patience isn’t just about waiting but how you act while waiting. One thing we need to understand as humans is that, there are times and seasons for everyone. Just because someone is in their final year of study doesn’t mean someone in SS3 (Grade 12) cannot achieve that. It’s all a matter of time.
There’s an example Pastor Laju Iren of Celebration Church gave in her book, Mirror Mirror, about the Chinese bamboo. The Chinese bamboo spends 4 years underground with no sign of growth, and in the 5th year, it grows up to 90 ft in 5 weeks! Isn’t that amazing? For a few seconds, imagine you were a tree planted in the 5th year, and you just see this bamboo sprouting, how would you really feel? Let’s be honest.
I don’t know about you but I’ll most likely be jealous and want to grow that fast. And maybe even wished I was a bamboo. But that bamboo knows its 4 year underground life of not being acknowledged by anyone and being invisible. In those 4 years, its roots would have grown so well and healthy. A lesson to be learned here is that even in the waiting period, we keep building up our faith in the word of God, strengthening our roots so well that nothing can shake us or our faith.
If a bamboo farmer was not patient enough and kept uprooting and replanting the bamboo, it wouldn’t grow when and how it was supposed to. The process would be longer and the farmer will end up being frustrated. Take the children of Israel for example, a journey which was supposed to take 40 days took 40 years, because they didn’t trust that the God who brought them out of Egypt would be able to keep them, and they wanted to do things themselves. And some of us are like that, we don’t trust that the God who died to save us has the power to keep our salvation so we want to help Him, like He’s not almighty.
Sarah is another example of someone who wanted to help God. God had promised them a son and he would be named Isaac, but some 14 years before Isaac was born, Sarah asked Abraham to marry her servant, Hagar so she could bear a child for her. The child was named Ishmael but God’s promise was still not fulfilled through him even though he was Abraham’s son. Yes, God blessed him and said he would be a great nation (Genesis 17:15-22) but it wasn’t that nation that the Messiah was born from. Sarah’s lack of faith or patience didn’t change God’s plan, in fact she was angry and jealous of Hagar (Genesis 16:1-6). She was trying to help God fulfil His promise like He wasn’t sovereign enough. If He could create the universe in 6 days, why wouldn’t he be able to give child to a barren woman?
Relating patience to the ability to hold on unrepentantly to the word of God, which is faith, I’ll like to give a small story of a pastor. I read the book “When Heaven Seems Silent” some years ago, and it blessed me so well. This pastor, one of the authors, the other being his wife, was born without an arm and for 20 years and counting, he has been holding on to the promise God made to restore his arm. Of course, in between those years was not easy but all in all, he could write a book about his faith in God. I was really anticipating a happy ending where he would tell us his arm grew back. But no, the book ended in his relentless unrepentant trust in what God has said, even without an arm. I found myself also believing in God for him and I know that for sure, his arm will grow back. That, my friends, is some really crazy faith!
Pastor Oge of Circle Church Global once said there’s no such thing as classes of faith. A mustard seed faith is great faith! It is faith that can move mountains. Hallelujah! There will be times we would need to step out or stay put in faith. But we would know what time through discernment. The human mind is limited and wouldn’t help much but the Holy Spirit at work in us will help us discern. Be sensitive to His leading. Listen to what He says. Pray, study God’s word and you’ll surely hear His voice.
Hope you’ve been blessed? Let me know in the comment section, and share with all those you want to hear this. Love and light,