This week's command goes hand in hand with last week's, which was to 'Be a House of Prayer.' By the way, how are you doing on that? ; ) This week the command is to 'Ask in Faith.' The disciples were amazed that a fig tree withered up at the command of Jesus. Jesus told them if they had faith, they could not only do that, but could even cast a mountain into the sea. He said to them, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
It seems that in the past year, and even months, there have been more and more heart-wrenching prayer requests brought to my attention. As I am praying I find it hard to have faith that what I pray will be answered. This command is not just asking us to pray, but to ask believing that we will receive. This faith is not a confidence in my own understanding of the issue or a mental persuasionthat it WILL happen. This faith is a faith that God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or even think. It is a confidence in the promises of God, knowing that He can and will do what He has spoken.
For me, this does not come naturally. I do not have the answer of how to increase our faith so that we could move mountains, but I do know what worked for me in the past. A few years ago I was taking an Old Testament Bible class that required me to read huge portions of the OT per week. I was spending hours a day just reading through chapter after chapter of what God was doing for His people. One day, in the midst of my studies, my parents were delivering an extra washer we had to someone from church. Then we got the call that it wasn't working. So my parents drove back and took it to the appliance mechanic and it looked like it was going to be $100 to look at it, plus more to fix it. When my parents told me I was disappointed, because we were trying to do a good thing by giving the dryer to someone in need and it was going to cost us hundreds of dollars! I continued on in my reading of God's powerful acts and such a feeling of faith in God welled up in me that I literally jumped out of my chair to run and tell my parents that it would not cost us anything to fix the dryer, but that it would be free. I was so excited about this I was beaming (my parents probably thought I was going a little crazy.. : ) It wasn't but 10 minutes later that the mechanic called and said that it was an easy fix and that he wouldn't even charge us for looking at it. Praise the Lord! It wasn't that I had a confidence that I was right, but I had a confidence in the exceedingly great power of God. If we want to have faith, we need to know Who we have faith in. Immerse yourself in the Word, remind yourself constantly of what God has done and is doing, keep a journal of answered prayers and read through some of them weekly. Keep God's goodness before your eyes continually.
Somethings to consider when asking in faith are:
1) Ask according to the will of God. Many times we pray according to our own lusts and desires rather than what God truly wants. "Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3).
2) Be persistent if needed. (See Luke 18:6-8; Luke 11:5-13) The man begged his neighbor for bread in the middle of the night and he finally gave in because of his persistence. God likens this to us asking of Him to give us our requests.
3) Realize your solution may not be God's solution. Be careful that you do not demand God to do something. Be prepared to receive differently than you asked; God will give us all good things according to His will. "If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? " (Matthew7:11).
George Mueller recorded in his journal 50,000 specific answers to prayer. Read testimonies of heroes of faith and it will increase your faith.
-How would you describe the quality of your prayer life?
-What are you doing to increase your faith in God?
-What can you pray for in faith in the coming days, weeks, months?
P.S. Here are some prayer requests, would you mind praying for these right now?
-Little Emily Minten, she is only weeks old and her liver is not working, she may be in her last days.
-My friend whose husband just got diagnosed with cancer.
-A marriage of someone that is looking hopeless to repair.
"He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God" (Romans 4:20).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide