Expectant Perseverance

Psalm 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Psalm 123:1 Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.

2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Daniel 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.

12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Hebrews 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

MEMORY VERSE: But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. —I Peter 4:7

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Earnest prayer often involves waiting and watching; waiting for the assurance one is being heard and for the word of promise; and watching until the expectation is fully realized.


Psalm 5:3 “Will look up”: watch expectantly.

Psalm 123:2 “As the eyes of servants”: “Watch for the slightest sign that he may give of his will. Such signs were usually given by some movement of the ‘hand.’ Masters were waited on by male slaves; their wives by handmaids—both equally anxious to do their will, and therefore equally watchful of all the signs that indicated it. ‘So our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.’ We wait for the least sign that he is about to help and deliver us” (Pulpit Commentary).

Daniel 10:3 “No pleasant bread”: “bread of desires,” such as was made of the finest of the wheat, and was eaten in the courts of princes where Daniel was. According to some [Jewish Rabbins], hot bread is meant; but in general it means the best of bread, such as had good qualities to make it desirable” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible).

Ephesians 6:18 “Watching thereunto”: keep awake; stay alert. “Perseverance”: steadfastness; persistence.


Our beginning scriptures for this lesson from Psalms and Isaiah suggest the concepts of praying with expectancy and looking to God for the slightest movement of guidance or command from His hand, and they give an awesome reminder that He has prepared wondrous and glorious treasure stores for those who thus wait in expectancy upon him.

We then move to Daniel and the account of Daniel’s three-week fast. There are several suggestions as to the cause of his burden: the Jews remaining in Babylon who had not taken advantage of the freedom granted them to return to Jerusalem; the opposition being met by those trying to rebuild the city and temple which had slowed or even stopped progress altogether; and the vision of the future of his people and the Messiah, which showed their sin in cutting off His life. This story is encouraging to us because it shows clearly how God heard Daniel’s intercession at its very beginning. He explained to Daniel the spiritual warfare going on and the reason for the delay in bringing an answer to him.

The New Testament verses show the necessity of the persevering kind of prayer that is alert to the opposition of the adversary, and aware of both the soundness of mind required of saints living in the end times, and the patient endurance which sees the fulfillment of the promise.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. The Psalmist shows us two things which characterized his prayer. What are they?
  2. Discuss the quality of heart (expressed by the illustration of a servant looking to his master in Psalm 123) necessary for the waiting spirit we must maintain in fervent prayer.
  3. Describe the quality of what God has prepared for those who wait for him. How can that thought encourage us when we pray?
  4. What lessons can we learn from Daniel’s experience in his three-week fast?


Not only the importance of praying is expressed by these scriptures, but also the characteristics of expectancy, vigilance and perseverance are clearly set forth as vital elements of the prayer that avails with God.

I have been made aware of the difference between having expectations of God (keeping our control on things), and having an expectancy of God (releasing control to God). With one, we severely limit God and what He will do for us, while with the other, we free God to surprise us with answers we have never seen, heard, or imagined. When we wait before Him in this manner as we pray, we find our prayers mingled with more faith and praise.

Sometimes our attitude in prayer has been like a petulant child.

“I doubt you’ll ever give me anything that good.”

“I’ve prayed and prayed, but I’ll never get it.”

The secret to long-unanswered prayer is revealed to us in Daniel’s experience. There are workings of God we do not realize or see. We think He is not hearing, but the truth is, He hears us! There are good reasons for being patient! Let us believe the truth in this passage and be willing to persevere in prayer, watch with a ready and sound mind, and wait with expectancy.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


Our late sister Edith Cole Lara’s life was an example showing us that waiting on the Lord is the best choice to make. Edith’s heart’s desire was to do God’s will. Instead of thinking of having a career that would make life easy for herself, she wanted to do something for God. What should she do? Where was a place for her to work?

Soon after she finished nursing school a door opened up for her to care for an elderly sick sister. It wasn’t what she had envisioned as working for the Lord. Her visions were perhaps working in an orphanage in some country far away. She was from a large family, loved children and wanted many children of her own. However, taking care of the elderly lady had opened up for her, so she accepted it as being where God needed her.

She moved 1600 miles across the United States to California, and was confined to helping one sick woman, while she dreamed of helping many children. In times of discouragement these verses encouraged her to keep waiting on God: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5).

While she was patiently nursing, the Whittenborn family moved to Baja California to work with the Pia-pia Indians. When they realized they needed a teacher for their children, they asked Edith to come live with them. In a few years Edith had mastered Spanish and was not only the head teacher in the public school on the Santa Catarina Indian Reservation, but was also teaching the adult Bible class as well as sewing, gardening, etc.

Later she moved away from the reservation and built up a congregation near Mexicali. A few years later, she married a widower in that congregation. He had five children that she already loved. Later they adopted five more children.

Edith now had the desire of her heart—to help many children and have a large family.

—Sis. Charlotte Huskey