Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
We are used to productivity gurus and time-management geniuses giving us the number one rule – have one main thing on your list, have five things, have as many as you can think of but only to the top two, etc. etc.
In this verse, the Apostle Paul puts three things on our to-do list.
Hope. Patience. Prayer.
The same three things every day.
Hope – elpis – to anticipate, to be expectant, to have confidence.
Patience – hupomenó (this is the only occurence) – to endure, to remain, to have fortitude, to persevere.
Prayer – proseuché – to pray, to worship, to be earnest in prayer.
Paul is always quite clever in the way he gives us the ‘big focus’ of our faith but also adds in qualifiers almost without notice.
Not only are we to have Hope, Patience, and Prayer, as central to our days, but we also have rejoicing, affliction, and constancy.
We are to rejoice in our hope – chairó – be glad, cheerful, calmly happy.
We are to be patient in affliction – thlipsis – trouble, burden, under pressure.
We are to be faithful in prayer – proskartereó – to continue, be diligent, to adhere to.
Paul’s to-do list isn’t one to be ticked off and consigned to the ‘completed’ archive or filing cabinet of diaries, it remains our priority everyday. We may not tick the items off everyday, but we still have the chance to do it the following day.
So rejoice in the hope of our lives with God.
Be patient in difficult and troublesome times.
Be faithful in our Prayers to God and he will lead us in both hope and difficulty.