Psalm 145:18 ESV
Matthew 17:14-20 ESV
James 4:3 ESV
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
Thoughts on Scripture and Life
Several years ago I worked with a team of pray-ers who came together weekly to meet and pray for folks who were in need of extra support.
We prayed for those who had cancer.
We prayed for people who needed help with a relationship.
We prayed for those who struggled with anxiety.
We pretty much prayed for anyone who had any request they had when they needed help.
When I first started working with this team, I found that what the pray-ers needed was having the courage to be bold and to the point.
I encouraged them to keep the verbiage to a minimum and not to use big words. That’s because people don’t care if you have an extensive vocabulary. They simply need you to ask God to heal and help them.
Psalm 145:18 tells us, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
See, prayer is simple.
But prayer is hard.
Prayer requires mustard seed faith.
Matthew 17:14-20 says, “And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Now a mustard seed is very small. Because of the size of the seed we don’t thin it takes a lot of faith. But we also know that mustard seed packs a punch when it comes to flavor. I’ve often wondered if that is a factor.
The volume of the mustard seed is small, but the flavor it provides is big.
I discovered from years of working with children’s ministry why faith is easy. It’s because when a child has been told by someone they trust that God can do anything, they believe it without question.
Prayer is easy for children because often times they don’t over think it.
I’ve prayed with very young children who KNEW without any doubt that God would answer their prayer.
They knew it.
I discovered from working with adults in prayer ministry why prayer is hard.
Mustard seed prayer can be difficult for adults because of doubt. If they’ve experienced a time, just one time when God didn’t answer like they expected they carry with them a seed of doubt.
The problem is that while God always hears our prayers He loves us and has a plan for us. Because God loves us He won’t do anything to harm us.
James 4:3 tells us, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
I have asked for things that could have brought me great harm and I’m glad God said no. I was passionate about it, but it wasn’t the best thing for me. I wasn’t glad at the time, but when I came to a point where I fully understood the circumstance, I understood why God said no.
The key is found in Hebrews 11:6.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
The great reward in prayer is communication with God. When we believe in God and turn to Him, God will reward us with the gift of His presence.
There are ways we can connect with God to know if He says yes or no to our request, and we will cover that in ‘Listening’. For now I encourage you to understand that God loves you more than you know. If God says yes to your prayer it’s because that is the best thing for you. If God says no to your prayer it’s because it’s the best thing for you.
That’s because God is all about YOU.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Pray
Think of a time in your past when God said no. Can you see the reason why? If you can’t, ask God to show you.
In God, Deborah