Praying in Faith
Saturday, February 19, 2011

 

“I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.”  (Romans 1:10)

 

Praying in faith may very well be the hardest task of the Christian faith.  We, even in our finite and limited view of ourselves and the world around us, know our needs.  If we are hungry, we know we need something to eat; if thirsty, something to drink; if hot, something to make us cool; and if cold, something to make us warm.  But we also know when we are sick, to remain alive we must receive healing; when we are broke, we need money; when we are out of work, we need a job.  We know what we need, and the Bible promises us that “in all things God works for good for those who love Him” and “ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open.”  We know that Jesus said, “If you ask, and believe you have already received it, it will be yours.”  And we want to believe those things, but our own experiences have taught us that our loved ones have died in spite of our prayers; we have lost our jobs while praying earnestly to keep working; we go to the mailbox, preceded by prayer, in hopes that one client has relented and sent us what he owes us; we have asked for a fish and it seems we have received a snake; a loaf of bread and received a rock.  And so every time we pray, our experience is pitted against the promises of God, and so often we lose heart.

 

We have many problems praying in faith and the Bible gives us lots of hints as to why our prayers are not answered:  harboring sin in our hearts; not believing; treatment of our spouses; wrong motives, etc.  But I challenge that one of our greatest problems  lie in not understanding how God is answering our prayers.  Take Paul for example.  In the above passage he is praying that God would provide for him a trip to visit the Church at Rome.  Let’s look at that for a moment:

 1.       Paul’s motives were good.  He wanted to impart spiritual gifts to them.2.       Paul’s life seemed to be lived fully for the glory of God.

3.       It doesn’t appear he was harboring in his heart some dastardly sin.

 

In short, it looks like everything was in place for God to send Timothy to Paul bearing an all-expense paid trip to Rome so that God could be glorified.  But any reader of the Book of Acts knows that did not happen.  From the point of Paul’s prayer forward for the next couple of years, he was beaten, tried, imprisoned, shipwrecked, bitten by a snake, and had more than one attempt on his life.  It looked like God had totally turned His back on both Paul and His promises on prayer.  But you see, that is not what was happening at all.

 

When Paul prayed, he prayed in faith.  And he trusted God completely with his prayer.  He might have been pleasantly surprised if Timothy had shown up with the all-expense paid tickets, but he neither expected it nor demanded it from God.  He simply prayed, expected God to answer that prayer, and patiently awaited the results.  And the end result was God’s answer to Paul’s prayer.  He went to Rome – but not as the heralded apostle – as a prisoner for the gospel.  From the time Paul prayed this prayer, few were the days he would live in freedom again.  Lest you feel sorry for Paul, listened to his words from prison:  “Rejoice in the Lord always!  I will say it again.  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and thanksgiving, present your request to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

David was the anointed King of Israel, yet he was a fugitive from the king he vowed to protect.  He was hunted and hounded in the desert for years by his jealous predecessor.  And out of those times, traveling with the knowledge that God would answer his prayers come the most beautiful prayers and songs ever written.  “The Lord is my Shepherd;” “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”  We don’t know the times David wrote most of his Psalms, but we do know that much of David’s life was lived, not in the luxury of a king, but in the need of answered prayers.  And the key for both David and Paul was their faith to “lay their requests before God and wait in expectation.”

 When we pray in faith, we must know that God will answer our prayers.  That is a promise.  However, we must trust God enough to answer those prayers in His time and for His glory.  Don’t expect an all-expense paid trip to your dream vacation (or cruise with some Christian minister); don’t expect the prayer to be answered with a solid testing of your faith.  If we think we deserve more than Paul or David, maybe we could expect more, but I know I am not.  But what you can expect is that God will answer your prayer, in His way, in His timing, and for His glory.  So when you pray, make sure the prayer is important enough to be done in God’s way, in His timing and for His glory and then wait in expectation.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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