For my devotional time this year, I bought the book, "Streams in the Desert". Today's devotional is on praying in faith. You may have an earnest desire or hope for something, but that is NOT faith.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (NLT)
Jesus tells us in Mark 11:24
I tell you, you can pray for anything, AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED IT, it will be yours.It struck me like lightning this morning, quick and out of the blue - that this is what is wrong with my prayer life. I do not pray in faith. The book of James tells us that if when we ask God for something (wisdom, or whatever), if I do not ask in faith that He will do it, I am like a double minded woman and should not expect that He should do anything for me (James 1:7-8).
So, I spent time meditating on that and that alone. I must ask in faith. Then the Holy Spirit nudged me to think about the fact that God's will must be taken into consideration when I ask Him for anything. You see, He has a will and a purpose and a plan for each and every person, place and thing that He creates. So we must ask that whatever we want is in accordance with God's will and perfect plan for life.
For example, if we are praying for the salvation of a loved one, God's Word tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
We can, therefore, take comfort in knowing that God's will is not that any man should perish but that all should come to repentance, and we can pray for people's salvation in faith.
But then, once again the Holy Spirit nudged me and reminded me of a verse in John 14:13:
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
We must, therefore, include in our prayers and petitions, the name of Jesus Christ. If we ask in faith, in accordance with God's will and in Jesus' name, we can ask in full assurance that it will be done! Knowing that this is so, we must also include our thanksgiving to God for His hearing our prayers, and for His response.
Maybe this is so simple to some of you reading this. Maybe it hits you like it hit me. I have been struggling in prayer. I have asked for some things over and over and over again, but as I look back and reflect, I don't ever really remember asking in this way. I immediately asked the Lord to forgive me; for my lack of faith, lack of asking accordance to His will and plan and for not giving Him the thanks and glory that is due to Him.
The Holy Spirit then nudged me one more time in the direction of thanksgiving. Do you ever have a hard time thinking of things to thank God for besides family, friends, health and home? I do, but the Lord showed me today that when we see Him as He is: the giver of all life, the sustainer of all life and that He holds everything in place by the power of His will, and that He is the redeemer of all that should believe on His Holy Name, then we will think to thank Him for EVERYTHING: the color red, the soft summer rains, the beautiful flower growing in my yard or on my window sill, any and everyTHING. We can look at people who are in our lives and realize that there are no coincidences with God; He is in charge and always working according to His plan, and then we can see that He uses all people to work in our lives, and we can thank him for everyONE. He places us in locations at times in which we have little to do with it for His purpose and plan, so we can thank him for everyWHERE we are located.
Needless to say, my worship this morning was transformed simply by looking at God for who He is, what He says, what He's doing and for what He is going to do. I hope this helps just one other person to worship God in spirit and truth today.
Lord, Thank you for your word, for your Holy Spirit who teaches us all things, and for your great creation, ability and desire to hold it together. Thank you that you who have such power would think to notice one who is such as me. I have no goodness, no righteousness, nothing that would make you notice me, but in your wisdom, before the world was created, you knew me and called me, and in Jesus, you made me your child. How can I ever say thank you for that? For in that you thought I was worthy for such love and sacrifice, you showed me that I have value and purpose in this life. I, therefore, in knowing this and applying it directly to you, have no recourse but to give you my life, whatever is left of it, to use as you see fit.
I ask that you would bless the reader of this, and if by some mistake of mine, I have misrepresented you, that your Holy Spirit would bring clarity and truth and understanding. I ask these things in the mighty, matchless name of Jesus, my savior. Amen.