(Jesus said) “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing,you will receive”
Too often, we divorce prayer from its source of power. If we see prayer as an activity to perform and check off our list of spiritual deeds for the day, we miss the heart, substance, and opportunity it offers. Jesus reminds us that prayer is connecting with the God of the universe, the One who spoke the stars into existence, and the one who orchestrates all of history. His power is matchless, and His Love without limits.
Christ’s promise that we will receive anything we ask for comes with a condition. We must believe. A torrent of words – even eloquent or flowery ones- doesn’t always please God, and intense emotions don’t necessarily move His hand. But faith – even small, fleeting faith in God – makes Him smile and connects us to His heart and His purposes
“Believing prayer” is characterized by a genuine commitment to God’s desire. We long for God to be honored, not us. We want Him to touch lives, not for us to be in control. To know what God wants, we search the scriptures and we listen to the Spirit’s whisper as we sit silently with open hearts
This kind of prayer never demands that God act a certain way. Instead believing prayer acknowledges our inadequacies and limitations and focuses on God‘s greatness and goodness to direct both the prayer and his answer.
“Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.”
Our world needs help. Our nation needs help. The church needs help. Our families need help and we as individuals need help. Where shall we find help? Over and over again we read in the Bible that help comes from God.
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], A very present and well-proved help in trouble.
Behold, God is my helper and ally; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul [my upholder].
“For I the Lord your God keep hold of your right hand; [I am the Lord], Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
So the question then is, how do we access this help? The answer is a simple one: ask!
Again the Bible give us instructions.
I love the Lord, because He hears [and continues to hear] My voice and my supplications (my pleas, my cries, my specific needs). Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call on Him as long as I live. The cords and sorrows of death encompassed me, And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord , please save my life!”
Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.”
“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile; for the same Lord is Lord over all [of us], and [He is] abounding in riches (blessings) for all who call on Him [in faith and prayer]. For “ whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”
We must wonder if prayer has such power as to invite and invoke the help of the Creator of the universe, why we do not utilize it more. I think sometimes it’s because we have been convinced that we don’t know how to pray. Perhaps we have listened to eloquent prayers said in church, maybe we don’t know how to express ourselves to God, or perhaps we aren’t sure that we are qualified to speak to God and to expect Him to hear and answer. In the verses of Romans, Paul says that anyone who calls upon God will be saved and if that’s the case for salvation then certainly it also applies to us after we become the children of God. James says we have not because we ask not. Now coupled with the asking is belief. Believing is a choice. We choose to accept the scriptures as fact and we operate on those facts as we pray. The few scriptures I’ve included- and there are many more- declares that we can turn to God for help and He is willing to help. Notice the language: “God is our,” “God is my,” “I the Lord your God.” These verses personalize the promise of God to help us- little old us.
The instructions to receive such help has the same language with us being the initiator. In Psalm 116 we see “I will call.” In Psalm 50 it is implied in the instructions that we call upon God in the time of trouble. Psalm 91 gives God’s promise: “ He shall call….and I will answer.”
To use Ziglar’s words, “believing prayer” is the honest acknowledgment of our need and the trust that God will not only hear but that He will answer also. It is the matter of bringing our need before God, laying it out with honesty and detail, holding nothing back and then letting God work it out according to His wisdom and grace. It is believing in the goodness and love of God. It is believing that we are His child. It is trusting that we are qualified not by performance but by relationship.
So if you need help or you see the need of others that need help, why not come as a child of God and call upon Him for that help. Prayer is simple but prayer has power. May God increase our belief and practice of prayer.
Dr. John Thompson