As we look at the transforming power of the Road to Pentecost, we turn our attention to prayer. As we've seen in sessions 2, 7 and 12, prayer allows us to bring our needs to God, we discovered how to overcome distractions in prayer and we discovered what happens when we give ourselves to continual prayer. Today, we discover the type of person we become when we make prayer a regular part of our lives.
Through prayer we build our faith (Jude 20). How does this work? How can our communication to God grow our faith in Him? Is it because he supplies our needs when we pray? (Philippians 4:19) But he doesn't always give us what we ask for. (2 Samuel 7:4-13) Is it because he talks back to us when we pray? (Psalm 138:3) But sometimes he doesn't answer when we call (Psalm 13:1) No, our faith isn't built on what God does, but on who God is in our lives.
God tries us to build our faith (James 1:3)
When we face a trial in life, the natural inclination is to cry out to God for help and deliverance. This is absolutely okay, but what if God doesn't answer, at least right away? What if God has something greater for us? (Romans 5:2-5). In that case, the only way to build our faith in Him is to accept the trial we face. We must embrace the trial and praise and worship God believing that through this trial we will be perfected. People like David, Peter, John and Paul all praised and worshiped God in the midst of their trials. Through their trials, God made them greater in His Kingdom and they also saw God in a greater way than before. They realized they could make it through anything as long as they trusted God, even when it didn't seem like He was there.
Praying the Right Way
We will become faith-filled followers when we start praying the right way. This doesn't mean we don't ask God for our needs or even desires when they line up with His will. They mean that we pray for them according to His will. Here's two examples:
Notice the difference. It's not the length of the praye by the way, but the attitude of the prayer. Both express that there is a want/need. Both express faith in God that He can provide the need/want. However, the latter prayer concedes that this need may not be met right away or even ever. This prayer is willing to receive it whenever, or, if the need/want is not what God wants, the prayer states that it wants God's will to be done. If we will pray with this kind of attitude, we are becoming faith-filled people and not results-based believers.
Thought for the day:
All prayers are answered, but those with true faith understand and know what the answers are.
Faith-filled people aren't built by the prayers God answers, but by belief in God and that He will lead them to what He wants for them. They know that God has everything under control and He will not leave them or forsake them. They know that God is always near, even when He doesn't answer right away. They know that He is working on their behalf for their good (Romans 8:28). More importantly, they believe in God because they know He is God and that is good enough for them. If we can get this mindset, we will find ourselves living as a faith-filled believer!
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.