As I wait for my second grandchild’s arrival in our world, I’m learning to pray for the 3Ps – patience, protection and perseverance. These are good things to pray for regardless of our circumstances or individual petitions!
Patience is not something which comes easily to us. Most of us wait impatiently most of the time, whether that’s for the bus to come, the child to be born or God to answer our prayers! We are like the woman who asked for prayer for patience and said ‘Give it to me now, Lord!‘ Patience means trusting and hoping in God’s timing rather than our own and learning contentment in the now instead of always looking ahead and living in the hypothetical future. The present is the only moment we have and is God’s gift to us: ‘this is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps 118:24)
I pray for protection for my family and friends daily, for life is a hazardous business. Labour and delivery of a child are hard work, but all of life has its ‘dangers, toils and snares’, as the hymn writer puts it, and God’s protection is needed. Ps 121 is a wonderful prayer to pray, acknowledging God’s protection at all times and His involvement and presence in our daily lives.
Perseverance is also needed in every situation of life. The mother may well feel at times during labour that she can’t carry on, that the pain is too much. She needs encouragement and help to keep going, with the hope of the baby’s arrival the motivation to persevere. We have the Holy Spirit with us as our encourager, reminding us of the words of Jesus when we perhaps feel like giving up and giving in. Paul tells us that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Rom 5:3-4) Just as the suffering of labour is forgotten in the joy of holding a baby in arms, we are reminded that our present suffering is temporary when compared to the glory to be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18) We are urged to persevere in running the race marked out for us. (Heb 12:1)
Patience, protection and perseverance are good things to pray for, no matter what our circumstances!