Faith & Prayer

What is faith?  Is it being confident that God will do whatever we ask?  Is it doing the right things so God will be happy with us and bless us in the way we want? Is it hoping enough until God responds?  Is it any of these things?  These questions come, not out of academic curiosity, but rather out of a desire to understand what it means to truly follow Christ.

I daresay that our view of faith in the western world has been affected by our individualistic culture which thrives on the attainment of our goals and the fulfilling of our desires.  We’ve all heard that If we work hard enough, we can become whatever we want.  And so, it’s easy to approach God with the idea that if I do the right things, pray hard enough, believe long enough, that He will do what I ask Him to do.  Most of us would avoid associating with the idea of health, wealth and prosperity, yet that has probably tainted our view of Christ in some form or fashion.

So when when real life hits and we realize that God has not answered our prayers and that He has, in fact, taken us in the opposite direction we asked Him to take us into, how do we reconcile that?  What does that do to our theology?  Some feel let down, maybe cheated, and they walk away.  But for others, it causes us to dig deeper frees us to really see God for who He is.  He’s God.  I Am.  Alpha & Omega.  The Lion of Judah.  The sovereign God of all creation who does as He has determined and is not counseled by any man.  That’s who He is.  He’s not a slot machine.  He’s not ebay.  He is the Lord of all creation who has determined our very days and who has, for some reason beyond logic, has extended grace to us through Christ, that we who respond in faith, might be called His children.  He has opened the door that we might come into His presence with confidence.  Not so we can get what we want, but so we can know Him.  We express our desires, concerns, frustrations, praises, petitions, thanksgiving in prayer because He has asked us to and so that we might see Him respond by doing what He has determined is best.  He has directed us to pray according to His word (John 15) and that He will answer the prayer given in faith.  However, His answer may not be what we have asked.  Paul tells us in Eph 3 that God does more than we can ask or imagine, not less.  So when God doesn’t answer our prayer the way we want, do we recognize that He’s answering out of a character that is perfect and that does what is best.  He works all things for good, even when we don’t understand how that is.

Ok.  Maybe I’m the only one (but I doubt it)…I still get frustrated when God doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want Him to.  I get disappointed and then I go through the process of reconciling my expectations to who He is, and come back to seeing that, even when I don’t understand it, He is doing what’s best.  I take comfort in knowing that the Christian life was a process even for guys like Paul.  Even he had to learn to be content.  I suspect it will be a lifelong lesson.

*This blog came in part, from a conversation over coffee with a friend named Tim Holler.  You should check out his blog when you get a chance.  Smart guy.

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2 Comments

  1. maybe a quote from Legh Richmond, 18th century Anglican priest (back in the day when the Anglican church was still standing for Someone and not falling for just about anything/everything), will help you decipher what faith is: “Faith is the hand which stretches forth to receive the benefits of Christ’s blood!”

    remember the psalmist’s word that God grants us the desires of our hearts? The condition is that the desires of our hearts align with His desires.

    just more to ponder,
    Wesconsin Twin

  2. You know, this is so great. I am grappling with this following my mission trip to Kenya. Do I love and worship God so he will answer my prayers ad bless me or do I love and worship God because I understand sin and my doom apart from him. Hmmm. I think youre right ! Our culture has tainted us to an extent. So lets all go to Africa so we can have our eyes opened 🙂 Sign me up!


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