Have you ever prayed and felt like God wasn't hearing you, or wondered if He was EVER going to answer your prayer? Does it seem sometimes that, no matter how deeply you cry out, it doesn't seem to matter to God – as if He's brushing you off? That the promises you try so hard to claim just hover out of reach?
If you find yourself there sometimes, as I do, you know that it is very easy to get stuck there. I know. I've done it too many times. When that happens, my heart cries out "I don't understand! You've promised .." whatever it is "and it just isn't happening in my life. What's going on?"
In those places of frustration and discouragement it is all to easy that He isn't hearing or doesn't want to fulfill those promises in your/my life. A huge battles goes on between faith that wants to believe and claim the promises and expect them to be fulfilled, and doubt that, because it doesn't seem to be happening, that it never will and He isn't going to come through, this time, for me. I know that when I get into a place like that I generally can't get out of it on my own, at least not in the sense of getting to a satisfying resolution of my feelings.
Eventually I have to take hold with my will and simply stop asking the questions and remind myself that I can't see the whole picture. Something is going on that I don't see. Maybe something has to happen before the promise is fulfilled, or maybe I don't correctly understand the promise, or maybe I'm not seeing the answer He is providing because I'm so focused on getting the answer or fulfillment I want. Whatever the reason, I'm not getting an answer, or so it seems. With an act of will I change my focus and turn back to look at shat I do know, from Scripture and experience, about who God is and His faithfulness. I start to simply praise Him for who He is and what He HAS done. I may not get an answer to my anguished questions – often I don't – but I am able to step back into a place of grace and peace with the knowledge that His ways and thoughts and mine aren't the same – they can't be.
It sometimes helps to remember that I'm not the only one who gets into these kinds of funks. Even David, the man after God's own heart did, as evidenced by the plaints in any number of Psalms. If he could feel that way, with all God did in and through him, it's surely OK when I get to feeling that way and cry out to God in similar fashion.
Psalm 89:49 "Oh Lord, where is the unfailing love Your showed in times past? And where is the proof of Your faithfulness to David?"
Be at Peace in Him,
Do we really expect miracles when we pray? Or maybe a better way to phrase what I am getting at is, why do we so often hesitate to ask for miracles?
Perhaps you don't struggle with this, but I know I do. I absolutely believe in a God that not only can but does still work miracles, even in today's skeptical and even largely athiestic society. But I find myself hesitating to ask for something that would be termed a miracle, by most people – supernatural healing, instant provision, a dramatic sign indicating the choice He wants me to make in a given situation, instant deliverance from addictions or demonic oppression (another sort of healing), things like that. Periodically I find myself asking why I (all too frequently) don't ask for such things, or expect that type of answer, if I believe in a miracle working God. Is my faith so weak?
I find the answer to that question is both yes and no. My faith in God is absolute – He can and does and will work miracles. However, all too often, my faith in myself or my calling is far less secure. Am I confident that what I am asking is His will? Even if I am, for example when asking for healing (God's nature is to heal, the scriptures make that abundantly clear), I find myself, on some level, asking will God listen to MY prayer? Am I "good enough" to ask for such a dramatic or powerful action from Him, or for him to use ME in such a powerful way? There's that self-doubt I have written about before showing its ugly head again.
Another facet is, am I really supposed to be doing this? Am I praying out of my own strength and desire for whatever it is, or am I praying because the Holy Spirit has laid it on me to pray? Praying out of our own desire isn't necessarily a bad thing. If we are sure that what we are asking is His will, I believe we can still expect Him to respond favorably. If we are praying only because we want something and haven't made any effort to discern His will in the matter, not so much. If the Holy Spirit has laid it on us to pray in a particular instance, we can be certain He will fulfill whatever it is He has asked us to seek Him for.
So why is it so hard to ask for miracles? For myself, most often it comes back to that spectre of self-doubt. In the example of healing, I know that it has been prophesied over both myself and my husband that we will be used of the Lord for healing. So why do I still hesitate more often than I am bold enough to ask for supernatural healing? I really wish I knew how to conquer/release that burden of self-doubt once and for all, but unfortunately I don't. I have sought the Lord over that issue more often than I care to count. Each time I do, it seems like things are better for a while, then I "forget", or whatever, and it crops back up to hobble me once again. May you be more successful, if it is also an issue for you!
Father, forgive me for doubting the callings and giftings you have placed on my life. Forgive me for the reverse conceit of my attitude that I'm not worthy for you to use to bring healings and other miracles into being through me. You have chosen me for this work, and therefore I AM adequate to the task. It isn't me anyway, but your Spirit in me doing the work, so help me to step aside and let you do what you have purposed to do through me from the beginning of time. In Jesus name, Amen.
Grace and peace be with you,
Focus prayer with the Ten-Day Prayer Guide, available in pdf format online. Unite the prayers of your congregation with churches across the globe on Pentecost Sunday using the “Prayer for the World.”
- One day of prayer on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013
- Ten days of continuous prayer, May 9-18, 2013
- Ninety days of blessing, May 20 – August 17, 2013
Since the dawn of this decade, Christians all over the world have gathered on Pentecost Sunday for a day of repentance and prayer. Many gatherings have been large-scale public events. Even more have been small gatherings in churches and homes. Find all you need on the website: a downloadable ten-day prayer guide, resources to help congregations pray “A Prayer for the World” on Pentecost, and an all-new guide for the ninety days of blessing. For info and prayer guides go to GDOP USA or Global Day of Prayer.