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"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD." Psalms 134:2
Grover Laird, Editor
7030 Dorsey-Evergreen Rd
Fulton, MS 38843
April 2020 Sermon
THIS COULD HELP YOUR PRAYER LIFE
By Grover Laird
Pray In Faith
Faith is very important in reaching God in prayer. Once two blind men followed Jesus crying for mercy. After going into the house Jesus said unto them, “Believe ye that I am able to do this”? After they said that they did, He touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith be it unto you." They went away seeing. (Matthew 9:29b) After a centurion ask Jesus to heal his servant who was “grievously tormented,” we read, "And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." (Matthew 8:13) When Jesus healed the demon possessed daughter of a Syrophenician women He said,"... O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt...." (Matthew 15:28) These verses surely teach us that faith can add power to our praying.
In Matthew 21:22, Jesus made a strong promise concerning prayers that are prayed in faith. Notice closely: "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Faith is a factor in reaching Heaven. Though it is easier not to brother with trying to believe when we pray, the Lord commands us to believe--"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:24)
Once Jesus told a troubled father that He would heal his son if he could only believe. Though the father felt weak in faith, he mustered up all the faith he could and said with tears, "... Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24) The Lord honored the faith that he did have and healed his son. We need not expect much from our prayers if we do not try to believe.
The Lord does sometimes answer earnest prayers when the faith is not too strong. After Peter was cast into prison, "... prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." (Acts 12:5) Though there was surely some strong faith in those prayer services, they seemed somewhat surprised when the Lord set Peter free. (Acts 12:13-16) Though our faith may be sometimes weak, if we will exercise all the faith we have God will bless.
Consider some things that will help us to pray in faith. (1) Pray regularly for the Lord to increase our faith. Praying for more faith surely pleases the Lord. (Luke 17:5) (2) Walk by faith. In other words, exercise the faith that we do have. (Study the parable of Matthew 25:14-30. Notice carefully verse 29) (3) Spend much time reading the Bible. Faith comes when we read the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) (4) Thank the Lord that He will answer us. This has been very helpful to me. Mark 11:24 commands us to believe that the Lord is going to answer our prayer. Philippians 4:6 tells us to pray with thanksgiving. Thanking the Lord ahead of time for His answer is one way to pray in thanksgiving, and also get more faith. When we start thanking the Lord for meeting our need, or handling our problem, faith begins to come.
Does all of this mean that there is a way we can obtain everything we ask for, just the way we ask it? No! Since the Lord gives the final touch to our faith, (1 Corinthians 12:9) we cannot exercise faith that would carry us beyond God’s will. Therefore the “full assurance of faith” cannot be exercised out of the will of God.
When we pray we should not ignore the leading of the Spirit. We really do not know what we should pray for with out His help. (Roman 8:26,27) We should also be deeply concerned about what would please the Lord, (1 John 5;14) and would bring glory to His Name. (1 Corinthians 10:31) It is actually wrong to ask amidst just to consume it upon our lust. (James 4: 3) Wrong kind of praying will not only hinder our praying, it can damage our faith.
Since “we know not what we should pray for as we ought,” it is often best to just turn our problem over to the Lord and trust Him to work out the details--"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." (Psalms 37:5) When we leave it to the Lord to work out the details according to what He knows is best, it will be easier for us to believe. Remember Mark 11:24.
Paul once prayed for help with a thorn in the flesh. Though the Lord answered his prayer by giving him peace concerning his problem, God did not answer Paul’s prayer just as he prayed it. The way the Lord solved the problem was, He adjusted Paul to the problem, rather than the problem to Paul. The end result brought Paul what he was really searching for (peace), and he liked it better the way the Lord did it. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) But regardless of how the Lord may answer our prayer, we should always pray believing.
There are many things that can make our prayer life more effective. But they all end up helping us to pray in faith. And though our Heavenly Father may not always answer our prayers just as we pray them, we never waste time going to our prayer closet and humbling, sincerely spending time with the good Lord. And this we all can believe.
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