…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…” Romans 12:12
In his sermon recorded in Ecclesiastes 4:12, Solomon states “though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Solomon is writing in the context of the value of camaraderie and relationships. I think we can apply Solomon’s principle of multiplication of strength as individual strengths are added together to this passage in Romans chapter 12. Hope by itself is good. Hope braided together with joy, patience and prayer is even better.
“…continuing steadfastly in prayer…”
Prayer is conversation with the LORD, God Most High. It is a natural result of our ongoing relationship with Him. Sometimes, prayer is for giving thanks. Sometimes, it for making a request. Other times, it is simply a means of reinforcing our connection to Him. Paul is encouraging the Romans to pray steadfastly; that is, with constant attention. Our confidence in our relationship with the LORD of the universe serves to strengthen our hope. Regular and steady prayer will serve to strengthen our hope.
“…patient in tribulation…”
In Romans 5:3-4, Paul develops for the Romans what we have discussed as “the process of hope” (see Day 2) Experiencing tribulation, Paul tells us, should produce in us patience. Here in chapter 12, Paul is reminding the community of Jesus’ disciples in Rome of this by exhorting them that as we experience tribulation and trouble, our response should be a patient one. We can wait on the LORD expectantly in the midst of trouble – He will deliver us. We can be patient in our trust of Him. Patience in combination with prayer will reinforce our hope in our good LORD.
“…rejoicing in hope…”
To be hopeful is to have a confident expectation that something that has not happened will happen at some time in the future. Built into our hope is the reality that what we hope for has not YET come to pass (see Day 4). While we are waiting, what should our disposition be? Paul encourages us to REJOICE while we wait. That is not my natural disposition. I dislike waiting. I avoid lines and traffic. I use self-checkout and the drive-thru to avoid waiting. But Paul tells us not only to have patience in the waiting, but to rejoice while we are hopeful. Joy strengthens our hope and enables us to pleasantly endure as we continue to hope for what is “not yet” to one day happen.
Prayer, Patience and Joy – a threefold cord that strengthens our hope. May it be so in us, LORD Jesus, today!
- How is your prayer life?
- Do you need more patience?
- Does joy well up in your soul as you hope for the things He has promised?
If you find yourself to be deficient of any of these, take a moment and pray, asking that the LORD would strengthen these in you for the benefit of hope in Him.