Friday, June 19, 2020
Praying without Believing
But they said to her, “ You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” Acts 12:15
You can say prayers in your mind but doubt in your heart. At times God will answer such prayers as He did when Peter was in prison, scheduled for execution. The believers in Jerusalem were powerless to free him, so they prayed. When God released Peter, their reaction revealed the doubt in their hearts. They argued that Peter could not possibly be free, even as he stood outside knocking on the door! Is it possible to be a “person of prayer” and yet not have faith ? Is it possible to fool yourself into believing that because you ask God for help, you have faith in His ability to meet your needs? Is your faith so weak that you are surprised when God answers your prayer? As a child of God, you ought to expect God to answer your prayers. Do you ask God to do something without adjusting your life to what you are praying? If you are praying for revival, how are you preparing for its coming? If you are praying for forgiveness, are you still living with guilt? If you have asked God to provide for your needs, do you remain worried and anxious? Ask God to increase your faith, and then begin living a life that reflects absolute trust in Him. Out of His grace, God may choose to respond to your requests despite your lack of faith, but you will miss the joy of praying in faith. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
I was lead to borrow even the title of today's post from Blackaby. People look around for evidence they often want to see and not the evidence God presents and then dismiss an answer to prayer!
Look at that wording again. Evidence they want to see.
God doesn't always answer with a yes or a no. He does often answer with not right now....it's not time yet. Or, lastly, He answers with...just wait...I have something better in mind.
The children of Israel as a whole in the wilderness are prime examples of that which people individually exhibit today.
Regardless of who you are there's a part of you who thinks you should SEE the answer to prayer you ask for soon after you pray it. If it doesn't happen you start to either dismiss it as a no, you get upset at God, or you start reexamining your life to see if there's some reason why there was an apparent no given.
Read in Daniel. The Angel of the Lord apologized for His delay in coming. Could Daniel have sunk into self-incrimination and doubt? After all he had been through with God and now He wasn't answering, what did he do wrong? No, he persisted in prayer.
Jesus taught us to keep praying. Why? Why not just answer? Because sometimes our prayers really need reworded. Sometimes they need repealed. Sometimes we ourselves need more convincing of the importance of what it is we ask. We need the doubt removed from our lives. Not to mention what Daniel experienced is what the New Testament tells us. We battle not against flesh and blood. Look, you need to really get this, there's a war going on. It's a war being fought over the souls of people. While people are in their physical bodies the war is fought as to who controls the mind. Your mind and mine.
Distractions and temptation are everywhere. Doubt is easy. It's why we are told to set our minds on things above not on things down here. It's why we are to fill our hearts with Heavenly things and thoughts. It's why there's armor mentioned in Ephesians 6.
Interestingly, in the science fiction world of the X-Men, Magneto wears a special kind of helmet. It isn't for protection from bullets or other things. In this fictional world he easily deflects them. The purpose is to keep others who can mess with his mind from doing so.
In our REAL world, the helmet of Salvation is what protects our mind from doubts and influences of the world. But we must be wearing it to make use of it!
Look at your prayer life today. I know that I do. What thoughts are we thinking when we aren't praying? Are they God centered or self centered? Can only be one of the two if you are saved. Those not saved yet are influenced by the world of demons or of God or themselves. Those not of Christ can be possessed by demons. Those in Christ cannot be. But even those in Christ can be influenced by demons if they aren't wearing their armor!
Examine the reasons for your prayers before you start wondering if God's going to answer them. If it's spiritually important enough you won't stop until an answer comes. If it isn't then maybe you need to rethink it or reword it. Maybe also you have sin in the way of your prayers. Unconfessed sin prevents prayer. Why?
Well why would any child be rewarded with good things when they are disobedient?
Before any sacrifices were accepted prayers were made for cleansing of sin so that the prayer would be accepted. Now we aren't into the sacrifice thing, but we are told to boldly come and ask for cleansing of sin through Christ alone.
Before you start reacting on God, look at yourself first. Before you doubt, look to see if you gave yourself reason for an unanswered prayer. Daniel was right before God. He had been through a lot and knew to be patient. The explanation from the Angel of the Lord was for your benefit and mine.