Watch + Wait + Pray = Patience


When driving in traffic, watch for drivers who are impatient and move from lane to lane even though they rarely get two car lengths ahead of the vehicles they’ve rushed around.  Wait for them to pass. It’s slow moving traffic, and in reality each driver has someplace to go, and doesn’t want to sit in the jam. Pray that the speeder, darting back and forth, doesn’t cause an accident. This has been my day’s journey on a New York thruway in bumper-to-bumper traffic, with rain pouring.

One Toyota decides to whizz from the middle to the fast lane, and then straddle the lines between a truck and a car. I slow down to get three car lengths away from the crazy driver. I wonder if he will go through that small passage. I shake my head—Does the driver realize he is not riding a motorcycle? If he gets on the shoulder, that will be safest for the rest of us travelers. Other drivers distance themselves as well.

I remain alert watching and waiting for the crazy driver despite my own eagerness to get to my destination. On this Sunday, I’ve been up since six in the morning, and those well-laid plans have gone awry—GPS missing, yellow jacket stings my mother, unexpected emergency room visit, three hours late for check-in, need to eat dinner, and the road is slippery as night descends upon us. And the only, and the best, thing to do is pray. Lord, keep us safe and slow that driver down.

I understand about being impatient. Patience is not my strong point. If I’m dieting, I want to lose five pounds by the end of the week. When I exercise, I want toned muscles and a six-pack in two weeks. Ha.  When I write a short story, I want it completed—revisions included—accepted, and published in six weeks. If I need to explain something, and the person doesn’t understand what I believe is a simple take, I grow impatient. Reality check.

Patience is an asset. It helps us become tolerant of others, including ourselves. It keeps us safe. It improves our ability to persevere when we’re waiting. And God calls us to have patience and to wait patiently on Him while he fights our battles, orders our steps, brings us through the storm, and tests our faith.

 So, watch, wait and pray.

Today’s Prayer:

Prayer For Patience

God, teach me to be patient, teach me to go slow,
Teach me how to wait on You when my way I do not know.

Teach me sweet forbearance when things do not go right
So I remain unruffled when others grow uptight.

Teach me how to quiet my racing, rising heart
So I might hear the answer You are trying to impart.

Teach me to let go, dear God, and pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace and I learn to know your will.

–  Helen Steiner Rice


Let Your Life Shine like the Pencil



Do you still use a lead pencil? I do; sometimes pencils are stuck in my hair or behind my ear, especially while grading or editing writing projects.

So, when  the pastor gave the youth message—Parable of the Pencil—my ears perked up. How could my life resemble that of a pencil? Here are the five qualities: 

  1. Allow yourself to be held by God and let others help you.  You are capable of great things, but can’t forget that God’s hand is guiding your steps according to His will.
  2. Trouble will come your way, but it will make you stronger. The pencil gets dull and needs to be sharpened. You, too, need sharpening like a saw.
  3. We all make boo-boos, but like the pencil there’s an eraser to rub out the mistakes. Correcting something helps us to grow deeper and more passionate.
  4. What’s on the inside—the graphite—counts; pay attention to what is happening inside of you. Use reflection, self-observation, and self-questioning.
  5. Leave a mark wherever you go. A helpful and teachable one that others can remember, cherish and use. A legacy.

Now, if you haven’t used a pencil in a while, pick one up and think about your life according to the pencil.

Today’s Prayer

Lord, open unto me

Open unto me — light for my darkness.
Open unto me — courage for my fear.
Open unto me — hope for my despair.
Open unto me — peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me — joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me — strength for my weakness.
Open unto me — wisdom for my confession.
Open unto me — forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me — love for my hates.
Open unto me — thy Self for my self.

Lord, Lord, open unto me! Amen.

What I Learned During 33 Days of Prayer


It’s been more than two weeks since the prayer journey has ended. Those 33 days, whipped, convicted and encouraged me to learn to increase my private prayer and openly prayer for others. It’s humbling, yet an absolute necessity.

I’ve learned a few things that I am putting into practice, so that I can become an effective praying solider.

I need to prayer continuously —unbroken, without stopping—all the time, and about everything. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul says to do this. Sometimes my prayers are SOS, sometimes one minute, and other times every hour on the hour.

And when I have this communication with God, I need to let it go and trust Him to fight the battle. This is not always easy, especially for a worrywart like me. I had to fast for five days—no worrying or anxiety. I prayed the familiar scripture: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns (Philippians 4:6 MSG).

This led me to realize I had fear and doubt about some stuff in my life—as we all do, but fear and doubt stems from the unknown. That got me thinking, if I trusted God, had unwavering faith, and took Him at his word, what did I have to fear.  Then read an unfamiliar verse—Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. It is punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made perfect in the person who fears (1 John 4:18,19 NCV).

Now, I’m trying to imitate the disciples and asking the Lord to teach me how to pray.

One more thing, while my daughter was at a ten-day leadership conference, I sent her prayers every morning via text message. And  actually prayed publicly during a Tuesday night prayer circle.

How about you? Is your prayer life effective changing and encouraging you, your family, community, friends and colleagues, the nation?

Today’s prayer

Dear God, Help us to dream big, so we can accomplish a lot more without worry, doubt and fear. Not just commit to our goals, pursue them with intensity and passion and unwavering faith. And don’t let someone tell us that we can’t do something, not even our own self-doubt. Amen.