For the last few weeks, I have been somewhat anxious. Several things took up space (rent-free, I might add) in my mind from whether my daughter would get admission at a particular high school to whether the huge layoffs announced by my husband’s company would affect him. As I write this post, the answers to both those questions are still, 'I don’t know'. But I do believe my anxiety is being replaced by a peace that is not based on circumstances. How did that happen? I would put it down to prayer and time in Scripture.
As we enter God’s presence, as we spend time at His feet, as we express our fears to Him and allow His Word to counsel us, a calm descends on our souls. From praying from a place of fear, we find ourselves praying from a place of faith.
For me, at least over the last few weeks, it has meant contending with this question that Jesus poses to two blind men who come to Him for healing.
He asks them a simple question: 'Do you believe I am able to do this?' (Matthew 9: 28; emphasis mine)
Those words jumped right out at me from the pages of Scripture.
Jesus doesn't ask, 'Do you believe I will do this?'
Instead, Jesus asks a nuanced question that shifts the focus from what they think they need (healing) to what they truly need (The Healer).
In focussing on Who God is and basing our prayers on the character of God, He fills our hearts with a peace that passes understanding. That, to me, is praying in faith.
It is trusting that our God is able—and able to do more than we can ask or imagine.
It is trusting that our God hears our prayers—and even inclines His ear toward His children.
It is trusting that our God is Sovereign—and that nothing and no one can stand in the way of His plans and purposes.
It is trusting that our God knows best—and will not give substandard gifts to His children.
It is trusting that our God knows all things and sees all things—and if He says no it is because His ways are infinitely higher than ours.
Of course, our Heavenly Father wants us to ask Him what we need and desire. He even encourages us to persevere in prayer (I have often resorted to pestering Him, but I wouldn’t recommend that!) But as we approach His throne of grace, may we go with humility and never think that we can demand things of Him or dictate terms to Him.
May we never fall into the trap of thinking that praying in faith means that we determine what is best for us and then simply declare it into existence. That kind of prayer puts the emphasis on our faith rather than God Himself. And if those prayers are not answered the way we had planned, it can lead to a crumbling of faith, a crisis of belief.
So, how do we pray? Where does faith come in?
Praying in faith doesn’t take place in a vacuum. It takes place in a relationship where we follow Jesus, as the two blind men did. Jesus wasn’t their fallback option. They went to Him because they knew Him to be their only option.
Jesus only requires mustard seed faith from us. He only requires that we come to Him, trusting His character and putting the entirety of our burdens on Him. If He doesn’t answer the way we believe that He 'should', we can still rest because through praying in faith, we have discovered more of Who He is and found that He is always enough.
Do I have butterflies in my stomach when I think about the ‘what if’ scenarios associated with my daughter’s school admission and husband’s job situation? I would be lying if I say I don't.
But as I return to His throne of grace, He reminds me that ‘even if’ the fig tree doesn’t bud and the vine has no grapes, if the admission doesn’t come through and the layoffs affect us, we can still rejoice in God our Saviour. Yes, I believe He is able to bring breakthroughs and open doors. I trust His sovereignty and power. But I also believe that He is too good, too kind, and too wise to always answer my prayers my way.
Heavenly Father, even as I am up against uncertainty and often give in to anxiety and fear, I pray that I would come to You first as my only option and cast every ounce of those burdens weighing me down at Your feet. I believe Lord that You are able. I believe Lord that You are able to open doors that the world dismisses as too tightly shut. I believe Lord that You still specialise in doing the impossible. But, Father, in those times You say no, help me to hold on to who You are and trust Your way is better than mine. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash
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