Prayer – Fear or Faith?
Living in a foreign country can put life into perspective from time to time. Sometimes my perspective can also be warped by my surroundings. This particular subject is a bit puzzling and though not fully noted here, there are some fine lines that are not easily distinguished. Therefore, if you have some thoughts about the subject that you would like to share, I would be glad to hear them. You can send me an email or comment on this post.
Prayer is a powerful tool. Many times it is misused, misunderstood or abused. To many it can bring comfort, peace, strength and empower us to accomplish he tasks that God has placed in our lives. The question is, how do you use prayer?
At times in the Bible, God has said that he would not hear the prayers of His people. Some of these times sin or disobedience was the main factor. Isaiah 1:15 demonstrates this perfectly. Reading the context of the verse we understand that Judah was compared to Sodom and Gomorrah and their sins were as scarlet. This is where God when speaking of prayer says, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”
You may say, “I am a faithful Christian. I ask forgiveness for my sins and therefore God hears me.” Yet, I challenge you to examine your own prayers. Do they demonstrate faith or fear?
Do you pray because you are afraid? Do you pray because you are afraid you might be hindered by a certain situation? Are you praying for relief? The Bible says that God has not given the spirit of fear. (II Timothy 1:7) We should question our motive for prayer. Some may think that as long as we are praying, our motive should not matter. Yet the Bible says that “ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3) Yes, our intentions and our motives do matter!
What has been bothering me over the past few weeks is the matter of my prayers and my faith. Do my prayers show faith or a lack of faith? How can our prayers show a lack of faith? Faith is trust. Sometimes we pray because we do not trust God to do what is right. We may pray because we do not think He is controlling the situation. Sometimes the outcome is not what we would like. This leads us to pray for change.
Faith, on the other hand, cannot be equated with a lack of prayer. True faith is confidence in God! So there is a battle ground here in our prayers. Do I pray because I trust God or because I do not trust Him. The easy thing for us to do is to say, “If I did not trust Him, why would I pray?” Many times we pray because we have been taught that God is able. God is all powerful, therefore, He can solve my problem.
Jesus demonstrated His confidence in the Father in several ways. Just before Jesus raised Lazarus, He prayed, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” Now that is confidence! In the garden He also prayed, “not my will, but thine be done.” Again, this is confidence and trust.
So, do your prayers reflect your fear or your faith?