We have both the Word and the Spirit to enable us to pray in faith in all circumstances. When we fix our eyes on Him and seek His glory in all things, He works so that His purposes are fulfilled in everything.
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)
The past two weeks have been eventful, to say the least, and reminded me of a few things that impact our lives as believers. Some are truths we all know, but it’s good to reconsider them and take hold of twin truths – we can take God at His Word, just as He takes us at our word. We can be absolutely sure that we will receive exactly what we ask for, something that should make us pause and consider our prayers before we speak. To pray in faith, we must pray with a sure knowledge of what we are asking for and how this fits in with God’s will. We must also remember that God expects us to ask. He knows our needs so technically, we don’t need to ask at all. But His desire is that we come to Him in full assurance of faith for everything we require.
To pray in faith always has context.
The background to all of this is that I headed off for a two-week trip through Lesotho, the Free State, Johannesburg, and finally wound my way back home yesterday. While it was a work trip, I had arranged to meet over the weekend with two precious people. I have had the privilege and blessing to walk with them for many months. Theirs has been a nightmare journey of intense and vicious oppression by the enemy. I knew up front that this wasn’t simply a visit but a time ordained by God for a specific work in their lives. I also knew there was strong resistance. Over the last three months, the enemy has tried everything to turn me aside from helping them, even to trying to claim my life. Through it all, my gracious Father has given me the grace and faith to pray in faith along with my church.
Our prayers have been both for them and to overcome the virulent attacks against me. I know without a shadow of a doubt I’ve been in God’s purpose. On the Thursday before the meeting, my car was broken into in full view of a security camera – which the perpetrators managed to reposition – outside a store I called on. To say ‘my life’ was stolen isn’t an exaggeration – my laptop, my back up hard drive, all other electronics including my Garmin, along with passport and drivers’ licence. My first response was typical: “Lord, how could you allow this when I’m doing Your will?” Of course, along with that was a very healthy dose of sheer rage which was not pretty. In His grace, He allowed me to vent. Then He reminded me that everything belonged to Him anyway and that I was required to forgive the thieves and repent.
We pray in faith when we pray in the Spirit.
I kicked my heels for around three and a half hours, trying to get a case opened at the local police station. While zealously guarding my spot in the queue – which seemed prone to shift when I wasn’t looking – I realised something. My habit while on the road is to pray in faith every morning that myself, my car, and my possessions are protected. That morning, possessions were left off the list. The Holy Spirit reminded me of this which perplexed me as it’s something of a habit. It was only much later, while in conversation with another store owner that I realised why. The stretch of roadbetween this store and the next is a ‘hot spot’ which I didn’t know. My ‘friends’ must have followed me as the little security footage available indicates that it wasn’t a random drive-by incident.
A few months ago, a priest was hijacked on this same road and buried in the field nearby. Those perpetrators proceeded to drive straight into a road block and were apprehended. Had my lot not worked out that I would visit the next store along the route, I might have met the same fate. The Spirit reminded me that my life was important to God, not the possessions. Had He not led me to omit that particular part of my daily prayer, things might have gone very differently. When we pray in faith, we pray in the Spirit and we pray according to the will of God. Of course, self was quick to point out that He could have simply protected everything, including the possessions. This is absolutely true, but then I would have lost out on so many other lessons.
We pray in faith when we pray according to the Word and discernment.
Still lurking in the police station, I recalled Mark 29-30 which talks of God restoring a hundredfold in this life – with persecutions – of all we lose or give up for His sake and for the Gospel. While the ‘with persecutions’ wasn’t quite what I wanted to acknowledge at that point, I got the message. If I ignored self’s whining about turning around and going home – I did have valid justification for this choice – God would restore what was lost. The main impetus of the trip was the Gospel and the outworking of His purposes. He gave me the right Word to enable me to pray in faith. He also reminded me that resistance would never simply go away. We have to press through and onward when we are given clear commands by God. When God is working, the enemy is working too.
What I realised at that point was that what God had planned was way bigger than I expected. It had to be. The enemy were doing their level best to turn me aside. There had been concerted attack for months, and this was simply another attack to divert me from God’s plans. The Spirit also, a day or so later, gave me a picture of a little dog. It was a kind of terrier cross oh-my-goodness like those that lurk on verandahs and go for the ankles when you’re not looking. I felt very strongly that the worst had passed. He was telling me that nothing the enemy would throw at us was strong enough to thwart His purposes. I was encouraged to persevere and pray in faith that His purposes, even though He hadn’t revealed them in full, would be fulfilled.
God moves when we pray in faith.
Two things happened which are beyond explanation. As I spend long hours on the road, I use my old cell phone to listen to sermons. This was removed from beneath the car mat but placed on the passenger seat. It should have been stolen along with everything else as it was a fairly good model. I can only assume that God’s Word on it protected it. The other is that my daily thyroid medication – which I absolutely have to take every day – was also on the seat with the cell phone. It had previously been in my travel first aid kit. This contains my rehydrate and sinus medication which lives in the car where I have ready access to it. It’s bizarre that car thieves would retrieve only this from the kit and leave it behind. When we pray in faith, we often don’t realise the full implications.
I’m convinced that when we pray in faith, God steps above and beyond to work necessary miracles we don’t even think of. It struck me that I had prayed for protection for myself. This includes both the body and the spirit. These two things are essential to my health – one for the body and the other for the spirit. Now, the thieves actually emptied the rubbish packet onto the floor of the car and took the packet. In the light of this, I realise how significant these two somewhat bizarre ‘coincidences’ are. Neither of these were replaceable. To be honest, I find it easier to believe that God Himself rescued the medication as I cannot see how the thieves would know – or care – what it was for. In addition, they did not take my suitcase containing my clothes. God truly does move in marvelously mysterious ways.
God fulfills His purposes when we pray in faith.
While I still wrestled impatience in the police station, today’s verse came to mind. With it came a particularly crazy impetus to pray for something I wouldn’t ever have thought of. It all started with a sudden desire to see God glorified in and through the situation. I found myself praying that the stolen items would be anointed so that anyone who touches or even looks at them will come under a spirit of such conviction and repentance that they cannot help but come to the cross. After seeing the wonderful work He did over the weekend, I have no doubt that He will make this happen according to His Word and for His glory. I now pray in faith that one day, I will see a multitude in heaven who have come into the kingdom through those things that were stolen not from me, but from God.
Thank You, Lord, for these reminders of what it is to pray in faith. Help us to always remember that our prayers should always be only about Your will and purposes, and that what we own is really Yours to do with as You will. Thank You for the reminder that You desire Your glory to be revealed in all things. Strengthen us to look only to You, no matter what the circumstances, and to remember that all things are possible.