This is a Legacy question because so many believe that with enough faith anything is possible. The only thing standing in the way of a healing is the right amount of faith, they say. Some of you believe this and others don’t, but it is a fair question to have an answer to for your children.
Matthew says that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer if you believe. 1 John 5 says that if you ask anything according to His will He hears us. So, in praying for one another, we are simply to pray in faith says the Bible. “But the true question,” says Alister Begg, “is faith in what?”
Let’s clarify. It is not the faith in prayer. So many say that there is power in prayer. Actually, that is not how to interpret the Bible. The power and faith is in God. Prayer is merely the catalyst to God. “Our faith is not in the power of prayer, but in the promises of God,” says Alister. Here is the bottom line to the ultimate question about getting what we want in prayer. It is faith in the promises of God and our pleading with God to fulfill those promises.
Therefore, when we ask God to fulfill His promises, we are merely pleading our legitimate case. Where there is no promise, we cannot pray in faith. Does that make sense? Have you ever heard a Christian say that whatever you ask for in Christ’s name, you will receive?
We live in a “me generation” of narcissists. Consumerism is prolific, so getting what you ask for is very appealing. Is the acquisition of stuff the real purpose of life? Who gets the blame when someone asks for something and doesn’t receive it? You get the blame. There are pastors who will tell you that you did not ask it with a pure enough faith!
When you don’t receive something after praying for it…it does not mean you have little faith.
Anyone who claims otherwise is contradicted by Paul when he says three times I asked for relief from pain and three times I was rejected. God says my strength is made perfect in weakness. Don’t you think Paul asked in faith and believing?
“So, to pray in faith is to pray on the bases of God’s promises.”
We all know people that have been stricken with diseases or pain or some affliction that we would do anything to help heal. We want to believe that through faith and prayer they will be healed. Non-Christians will point to those situations as examples of a God that does not care. I have experienced more than once examples of people who turned against God when he did not heal a loved one who was suffering or dying. I have seen some experiencing unbearable pain with no cure who cursed God for what they were going through. The irony is that we are told prayer never fails because He always answers our prayers…right? So, it is logical to assume we just lack enough faith.
The key question to ask is: Are praying for a promise of God in the Bible?
There are some things that God absolutely promises to His children. We can confidently pray for the answer to a promise from God and know we will receive it. Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good to those who love God who are called according to His purpose.” Therefore, I can believe with confidence in this promise that no matter what my circumstance in business or personal life that all will work for good according to His purpose. But what is His purpose? That is what we should seek!
I can also be confident that if I pray for wisdom, I will receive it because in James 1:5 “If anyone who lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who will give to him liberally without finding fault.” God will always give us wisdom no matter how many times we ask, without finding fault in us.
Take for example the Lord’s prayer and pray with certainty that God will fulfill what He has planned. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…forgive us our debts…lead us not into temptation…” We can be absolutely certain that God will be true to these things.
We can pray the prayer in John 17, “Father sanctify them, father unify them, father glorify them.” So, I can pray with absolute certainty that God will sanctify His people and unify His people and will glorify His name through His people.
“Every command of God is an implicit promise.”
Every command when we seek him, He promises to answer. But what does that mean? God commands us to witness. If you say that you don’t find witnessing easy, then pray about it with absolute certainty that God will help you witness with confidence.
If you have a hard time being thankful then ask God to help you be thankful and be confident that He will enable you. He will give you the grace to be able to be thankful, forgiving and compassionate because he has commanded us to do so. Pray for these things and the grace of God will be poured out to us to help us fulfill God’s commands.
Here is the answer to prayer and God delivering on our prayer:
“If we pray the way the Bible calls us to pray concerning the matters of Kingdom and we make the Kingdom affairs the real priority issue in prayer, then all the promises of God’s word cover everything.”
But you will say that does not include a lot of what I pray for. What is the answer to that? Search the scriptures. I can find no categorical promise in the Bible that God will heal all the Christian sick. Furthermore, I know He has not healed all the Christians that are sick or in pain. I also know that there is no promise in the Bible that I will have success in my exams or business or become wealthy.
No matter what the intensity of my desire, can I squeeze from God health out of sickness, success out of failure, and wealth out of poverty. And, unfortunately, Christian television is replete with these promises and emphasis. It does not further the gospel or the confidence in Christianity to tell non-believers or our children that these things will happen. Now is it wrong to pray about them? No! Because the Bible says we should pray about everything. Phil. 4, 1 Peter demonstrate this point. It is not wrong to pray for them in hope, but they are not promises of God. To “name and claim” is not a truth in the Bible.
It does not further the case of Christ to share with others the certainty of an answered prayer when it is not a promise of God. This confidence is merely a presumption.
“Faith implies a promise and there is no such promise of healing or wealth or success… The ultimate healing is to be made like Jesus Christ.”
This has been a bit long, but the message is one that is so important that we communicate it rightly with our children and those that question us.
Thank you to Alister Begg for his sermon on prayer that helped me unpack this issue.
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