Michel: Patience helps when using prayer for help

Published 12:07 am Saturday, October 22, 2016

I was reminded of my impatience when I went to lunch with several family members.

When I got to the restaurant my cousin Coy told me he had already requested a table. I looked around at the large number of people who were also waiting and walked toward the outdoor seating area and asked the hostess about the wait time.

“How many in your party?”


“Give me a few minutes, but don’t take your name off of the other list until I see what I can do.”

I turned to my daughter Monique who had followed me and said, “Go and tell Coy that we might get seated quicker out here, but do not, I repeat, do not let him turn in the pager.”

And just like that a simple Sunday lunch became stressful. But only for me.

Waiting is a challenge for me. And no less of one when I read Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

The good news is the Hebrew word for wait, qavah, figuratively means to hope, expect and anticipate. Its literal meaning is to bind together and twist, like a rope.

To make a rope, many thin threads are twisted together. The more threads that are twisted, the stronger the rope becomes. When pressure is applied, rather than pulling the rope apart, the strands come closer together and bear the weight.

The length of time between praying a prayer and receiving an answer may vary, and what we do in the interim is important.

My goal is to act better than I do when I’m waiting to be seated at a restaurant.

First, don’t look around at everyone else’s progress.

Monique laughed because I jumped every time a name was called at the restaurant. “How are they getting seated so quickly?” I asked her.

“They have a party of two,” she said, “We have fourteen!”

When praying, focus on the promises in God’s Word, not the problem or if anyone else receives a quicker answer to prayer.

Secondly, don’t give up. At the restaurant I was tempted to leave and find another place to eat. In prayer, persevere. Hebrews 6:12 reminds us that by faith and patience I’ll inherit the promises.

And finally, don’t ignore those around you. My family took pictures and talked while I sat on the edge of my seat near the hostess. When praying, we are in the presence of God. Enjoy every moment.

As we wait, hope and expect answers from the Lord. We are renewed in His strength. No longer are we thin strings that will snap under pressure, but part of a strong cord. The stress of problems won’t pull us apart from God, but closer to Him.

I know that prayer changes things, and I believe when we learn to patiently wait on Him, prayer changes us.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.