You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
Do you act on the conviction that God hears and answers prayer? A commitment to Prayer always involves acting. How do we receive God’s blessings? The answer to that question is a lot simpler than we often make it first:
- We ask.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” — Matthew 7:7-8
Ironically people are often willing to do great things in return for God’s blessing yet these things are not what God requires or wants, they are unwilling to do the one small thing that He actually requires, pray. Why? Because they want to earn it and they think they can earn it. They’re operating on a merit basis, not a grace basis. The problem for many of us is that we are using the wrong “currency”. The currency of this world is works, merit, and getting what you deserve. The currency of God’s kingdom is grace. It’s like going to some South Sea Island where the economic system is based on barter and livestock, and trying to buy things with paper money, they would laugh at you. The reality is that it insults God when we try to pay for His blessings with our works and try to earn them. First, it makes His relationship with us one of economics, rather than love, like trying to “pay” for dinner at friend’s house. Second, what we have to offer is so pitifully small it just devalues His blessings. In 2 Kings 5:9-14 we see the pride of Naaman getting in the way of healing and blessing. Often people are willing to do anything except what God asks, because His way requires humility. It requires an acknowledgement that we are dependent on Him, that we are indebted to Him, obligated to Him; that we can never repay Him for His blessings to us. So instead they want to bargain with God, make sacrifices, give money, etc. etc. but they refuse to do the one small thing that God requires. In reality, that one small thing is the biggest, most difficult thing that God could possibly ask of them. Because it requires them to humble themselves and come to God, hat in hand, asking for His mercy and grace, and their pride just cannot permit them to. Is there something getting in the way of your asking?
- In faith.
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” James 1:6-8
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Often we try everything before we come to God and when we do we say “I guess all we can do now is pray” prayer becomes our last resort because we don’t see the power in it. We cannot come to God with an attitude of, “Well, I’ll try praying and if that doesn’t work, I’ll try something else” because that is not faith, it’s just covering your bases. God is not willing to be just one option among many, He will not be satisfied with a piece of our love, a piece of our devotion, or a piece of our trust. He wants all of us and as He claims His rightful place at the center of our lives He demands that we trust in Him, and Him alone. God is not willing to be put on the shelf with all of the other deities, to be installed as part of our personal pantheon of gods. The key to answered prayer is not the amount or strength of our faith, but the object of our faith because the power doesn’t come from our faith, the power comes from the One in whom we place our faith. Are you asking? Are you trusting?