I was always told patience is a virtue for which you should never, ever pray. “Don’t you dare start praying for patience,” the old church ladies would preach from beneath tightly wound hair-buns. “God will give it to you and Lord knows you do not want the sort of lessons that lead to patience. No, no, no, no! Never pray for patience! Don’t you ever, ever do it! You hear?!?”
Maybe those bible totting, polyester-dress wearing, old ladies knew something the youth group didn’t? Maybe. I don’t know. I do know that if one of us started to foolishly pray for patience, against their advice, the world came crumbling down in every imaginable way.
Automobile trouble? “You prayed for patience, didn’t you? Well, God is trying to teach it to you right now!” Girlfriend/boyfriend issues? “Prayed for patience, eh? Well, God is teaching you how to wait. How do you like that! The longer it take you to learn to wait … the longer you’ll wait! You might be waiting for 10 more years, you know! Serves you right, I say!” You were fired from your job for something you didn’t do? “Patience prayers, I bet! See, now God is learning you some of that good, good patience! Good luck with that! You shouldn’t have asked God to give it to you! Oh, such foolish youth! Praying for patience … have they no sense at all?!?”
We were told never to pray for patience. We were told to avoid praying for it., for our own good. Maybe the old, pious, church ladies were right? Maybe they were right!