Patience and Perseverance in Prayer
I enjoy photographing nature. And because my husband and I love hiking together and discovering new nature parks in our beautiful Comox Valley, I get plenty of opportunities to capture flora and fauna through my camera lens. The Lord often speaks to His people through creation, and I’ve learned lessons about patience and persistence while taking pictures of it.
These same lessons are also applicable to my prayer life.
Romans 1: 20 NIV says:
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Although God’s patience is clearly demonstrated within the intricacies He has pieced together in creation, patience isn’t something I was naturally born with. But God has certainly used many events in my life to teach me how to be long-suffering. My husband and I needed patience as we waded through over a decade of infertility. Then we needed it as we raised three children who were close in age (feast followed the famine of infertility in our family).
And now we’re needing it more than ever as we tread water in the raging river of parenting teenagers and young adults in a culture that mocks God and His Word like never before.
Photographing birds also requires patience and perseverance, though obviously the stakes aren’t as high as they are in parenthood. It’s not a big deal if I miss a great shot, but it’s a tragedy if I miss out on an opportunity to show grace to my kids. So I’ve rarely prayed about my picture taking except to ask that my art and writing be used to glorify God.
Nevertheless, I’ve experienced His still small voice many times concerning my nature loving hobby. He’s frequently whispered for me to stay in the moment and enjoy what I see without always feeling compelled to capture everything on my camera. He’s also nudged me to slow down and watch and wait for nature to offer me a gift or two.
God has blessed me with pictures when I’ve said yes to a walk with my nature loving son who likes to get out several times a week. This happened recently while we were walking along a local beach chatting about mutual acquaintances and the memories we have of them. As we walked, I noticed a Great Blue Heron wading in the shallows of low tide. It appeared to be fishing as it craned its long slender neck this way and that, while its stick-like legs followed its spear of a beak.
I’ve captured some wonderful shots of Herons holding onto fish that looked way too big for them to swallow, but this time I was hoping to get a shot of one taking off in flight. I’d tried many times before. But the problem with Herons is that they’re unpredictable, they don’t give you any warning when they’re about to fly away.
You just have to keep showing up and keep hoping you’ll eventually capture the coveted shot.
So we stopped walking and watched the bird for a moment. And then suddenly the yes I’d given my son to take him to the beach turned into a yes for me to see the Heron launch into flight just as I had my camera focused on it.
In that moment, I captured my best shot ever of a Great Blue Heron. All those times of showing up and hoping I’d get the shot birthed the picture I’d been dreaming of getting.
Praying is like that too. I keep showing up in my writing room each morning to read my bible, meditate on the verses I’ve been touched by, and kneel and pray beside the cot that’s covered with a handmade quilt. As with parenting and photography, I keep showing up for prayer time, so that one day I’ll capture a picture of answered petitions concerning others and myself.
Perseverance in photography pays off; the bible says that’s also true for prayer. In fact, Jesus instructed His disciples through the parable of the persistent widow to keep praying and not give up. And in Matthew 7:7-8 we’re encouraged to ask, seek, and knock because God’s ears, eyes, and heart are open to our requests. We can trust Him to say yes if He thinks our desire is a wise one. God’s so passionate about prayer that there’s even a two word verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:7 NIV that says:
My most exciting answers to prayer are for the ones I’ve written in my journal. Once I had a prayer for a relative be answered exactly as I’d scribbled it down. My cousin had asked me to pray for him. And when I did, I wrote in onto a list and added details to it that the Lord seemed to have prompted me to. Years later the repeated words I’d prayed were answered so miraculously that I knew it was the Lord who’d penned it in the first place. My cousin is in full-time Christian ministry, so I can see why God wanted those prayers prayed in that particular way.
Faithfully showing up, faithfully praying, and faithfully believing pleases God, because sometimes you just have to keep showing up and hoping until faith becomes reality.
And by the way, on one of my recent visits to the beach, I captured video footage of a Great Blue Heron catching and swallowing a fish.
Just keep showing up, friends; God’s pleased with our perseverance.
watching a heron
as his persistence pays off
I learn a lesson
Persistent Blessings ~ Wendy
I’ve also shared this post as a podcast on HopeStreamRadio here:
And if you’re curious to see an example of a Great Blue Heron’s patience and perseverance, here’s my YouTube post of one catching a morsel for dinner: