“Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” -Romans 12:12
“…Patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”
This is the line that struck me most as I contemplated this verse. While the word “tribulation” usually puts a word picture in most of our minds of physical persecution (which it can mean), that is not always the case. Like so many words, the word tribulation has a number of different meanings. Two of the meanings are “trouble” and “pressure.” Does that sound a bit more familiar? Is that what life is like at times? When was the last time you had pressures in your life?
“…continuing instant in prayer”
Again, if we look up the word “instant” we find the definition to be – steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing. “Instant in prayer” is continual communication with God.
As I sat in my living room and prayed that God would speak to me regarding “reconciling” these two concepts (patient in tribulation and instant in prayer), a “light bulb” went on and a question – one that I had never thought of – flashed into my head. “How do we know what kind of tribulation (pressure, trouble, persecution or burden) we are experiencing unless we are in constant prayer? I think there is a tendency to look at all hardships as if they are the same.
I would like to put the challenge to you to go deeper with the Lord every time you experience pressures or troubles. Is it from the devil who cometh not but to steal, kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). The only way we are able to recognize that in the middle of the battle is if we are instant in prayer.
Maybe the “tribulation” is when we are challenged about a “doctrine” we have believed all our lives (but never took the time to actually investigate it) and God is just trying to give us a correct or more complete understanding of His Word. In reality, God may be applying pressure to conform us into more of His image (Romans 8:29). Or, maybe the challenge is simply a “reproach for the name of Christ” (1Peter 4:14).
We will only be able to perceive what God desires to do if we are in constant prayer –communicating and listening to the Holy Spirit.
I pray that we all can develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be “… continuing instant in prayer” so that no matter what our current circumstances are, we can rightfully discern what kind of tribulation we are facing. Upon His insights and the revelation given we can walk victorious, knowing that he is not slack concerning his promises (2 Peter 3:9) For it is then and only then that we can truly be “Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).