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.



I’m learning a little something about faith in my journey. I’m learning that my idea of faith (as a Western culture Christian) isn’t the same as the Bible teaches. My version tends to be more along the lines of asking God for something, doing the right things and then expecting God to give me the outcome I want. Experience is teaching me that it doesn’t work that way.

God makes it very clear that His ways and thoughts are above mine and that He is the One who determines the end from the beginning. Faith is accepting (not necessarily understanding, mind you) that God is in charge and that what He wants and does is what’s best, even when it something entirely different that what I wanted to begin with. I either follow because I believe He is God, the Savior of all creation, or I go my own way because I think I know what’s best. Not much of a choice after all, is it?