To be filled, you must eat. To be filled with the things of God, you must partake of the things of God. God’s words are like seeds, full of life. When we put them into our minds by reading, studying, and meditating upon them, we are taking into ourselves life. A seed has life within it, a “quickening power” God built into it. It is the same with His Word. When we study the Word and get it inside us and takes root.
When we begin to take in His truth, we find we have a basis for faith. Faith is the opposite of sight. Faith has to accept and expect the answer before it comes and before you feel or see evidence of it. The Bible tells us that our faith itself is evidence. (Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.) Faith substantiates the things that are hoped for and asked for. Read Matthew 17.
And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
The man had brought his son to the disciples and they could not cast out the demon. So He came directly to Jesus. And what did Jesus say to the father of the demon-possessed boy? “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” The father cried “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief. Then Jesus delivered the child from demon possession. The father admitted that he believed. But he also admitted his unbelief. In other words, he realized that human belief (even the devil believes and trembles) is not enough and that he needed a supernatural belief that only Christ could provide I’m pretty sure the disciples “believed” but they, too, were perplexed that they were unable to cast the evil spirit out. And Jesus told them, “this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. So the type of faith that can cast out demons doesn’t just spring from the power of our imagination or our ability to “conceive of” something.
Does God expect us to declare a fast before we cast out a demon? Does he expect us to tell the demon-possessed to come back in a week after we have fasted? Perhaps fasting and prayer are meant to be regular practices for the believer, in preparation. Perhaps the kind of faith that moves mountains only comes after much prayer and possibly some fasting. The principle of fasting is self-denial. Whether we fast from food or the internet or television, or other worldly pursuits, it is with the intention of seeking the Lord with our whole hearts. The praying we do is not what brings about the life-changing power. It is what connects us to it. God doesn’t hand it over to us. He sends it through us like the wires that carry electricity.
There is no such thing as big faith or small faith. There is one faith. We either have it or we don’t. We can’t muster it up. We must seek the Lord, know Him and absorb His truth from the Word. Then faith will be born in us.
So let’s look at that definition of faith again. The substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith seems to be like an ingredient in the hoped for answer. Just like God took the dust of the earth and made man, is it possible He takes the substance of our faith and uses it as an ingredient as He makes the answers to prayer? Hey, it’s His recipe. If He calls for the faith of man as an ingredient, who are we to question that?
Now consider the things you have been praying for. Did you pray, believing? We are not creators. But the Creator has designed spiritual laws and principles and apparently one of them seems to be that He chooses not to answer prayers that are not backed by faith. Faith seems to be a called-for ingredient in His recipe for answered prayer.
Faith is also evidence of things not seen. What is evidence? It is an outward sign, proof or testimony. Faith is our testimony? To believe He will answer is to testify His dependability to an unbelieving world.
So when we pray, we are not to merely seek an answer, we are to seek the Almighty God who gives answers. When you do that, the answers come with the God. God, who gives the answer, also gives the power to know you have obtained what you asked for. Therefore we should refuse to rest until we believe. We think the job is done in one “asking”. But God requires our persistence: the “effectual fervent prayer” (ardent, passionate, zealous-pray like you mean it!) Like Jacob, we must “wrestle with the angel and not rest or go away until the blessing and assurance are given, even if there is a long interval between the prayer and the peace, He expects for us not to give up. When the burden to pray lifts, you’ll know it has been accomplished, even if you don’t see it yet. Remember, sight is the opposite of faith. .
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. I don’t know any righteous men. It is the Spirit within the man, not the man himself, who is righteous. So it must be the Holy Spirit in us who prays the prayer that avails much.
Pray in the spirit for all saints. Eph. 6:18.
Have you walked with the Lord for years and yet are stagnating? Are physical ailments, depression, anxiety, and discouragement your companions as you walk? Maybe you have received grace unto salvation and eternity, but not grace for the Christian walk. That sort of faith does not come naturally. But the Spirit sees what we can only hope for. We often falsely accuse our Lord of being a “hard master”, even without realizing it. We think God expects more from us than we can accomplish, so we don’t even try. We limit our expectations to what we know we can accomplish. But think about it. God, who is omniscient, already knows you can’t do it. Someone who fore- knows the outcome, can’t possibly “expect” a different outcome. He knows our frame, we are but dust. “To expect” implies the possibility of disappointment. How can you disappoint someone who already knows what you will and will not do, even while He also knows your intentions?
If you worry you may be insufficient and inadequate, I’ve got great news for you. You can stop wondering, because you are! It’s established, it’s said, it is out there in the open for all of the world and the devil himself to see and now he can quit taunting you with those doubts, because the truth is, God knew it all along. It was you, and it was I, who thought we ought to be able to be a better person. God says otherwise. God says “apart from me ye can do nothing”.
So we must get down on our knees and go to Him for all we need because He shall supply all our needs according to His riches in Glory.
Victory = circumstances, divided by prayer + thanksgiving, minus doubt, plus faith and works times God to the infinite power.
That is a formula found in scripture. Philippians 4:6-7 says “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Whatsoever things ye ask, believing, ye shall receive. Mt.21:22 Subtract doubt and add faith. When doubt arises in your heart, reject it as irrelevant, because all obstacles must bow to God’s omnipotence. If I jump off of a building because I doubt that gravity exists, I am still going down. My doubt doesn’t change a single thing. Doubt is just an irritant. Acknowledge that it is there, and proceed to expect God to do what He has promised. Like and oyster, apply the nacre of the Word to that doubt-irritant, and keep applying it until that doubt becomes a pearl. As your faith grows with each answered prayer, before long you may have an entire necklace!
I once heard a story of a teenage girl who had prayed and prayed that her brother would be saved. The preacher who told the story was this young girl’s pastor. After service one Sunday, the teen excitedly ran to the pastor and told him that while she was at the alter praying for her brother, the Lord told her that her brother was in the parking lot and if the preacher would go out and share the gospel with him that moment, her brother would be saved. The pastor, having just preached on faith, was yet skeptical of this young girl’s enthusiastic claim, and confessed to having to muster his own faith to go out and look for the brother in the parking lot. At first, they didn’t see him there, and the preacher said to the young girl “are you sure the Lord said this to you?” The girls own faith began to waver just a bit, but as she turned to make one more sweep of the parking lot, she spotted her brother on the far end, slouched behind the wheel of his car. The pastor did approach the brother, and due to the boy’s surly expression and large size, was more than a little intimidated, but forged ahead nonetheless. He greeted the young man, and introduced himself, and asked him if he minded if he visited with him for a few minutes to talk about the Lord. The boy sort of grunted his permission. When the pastor asked the boy if he had given any thought to where he would spend eternity, to his utter surprise, the boy stated forthrightly that he “thought about it all the time”. When the pastor asked him if he would like to ask Jesus to be his Savior, the boy answered in the affirmative, and the two of them knelt right there in the parking lot and the boy was saved. Even in telling the story, the preacher’s amazement was still evident. Faith without works is dead. That girl and that preacher added action to the faith, and just look what God did!
I find that when we ask God for something, according to His will, and we add some sort of action to the faith, God will do it. If I turn to my friend and tell them I am trusting that God is going to save my brother, I have expressed confidence in my God. I believe He particularly delights in answering those prayers. It is His expressed will in the Word, that none should perish. Prayer for the salvation of another is a prayer we can pray with much confidence. God hardens whom He hardens, and saves whom He wills to save. How does that not violate the human will? Simple! God is Sovereign. The heart of the king is in his hand. Proverbs 21:1. He has mercy on whomever he will have mercy and hardens whom he will harden. Romans 9:18.
Now, God never handed over His power to us. Whatever effectiveness we have, is due to His power in His indwelling Spirit within us. That is vastly different than the “prosperity gospel” which essentially teaches that all the bounty of this world is ours if we just claim it, and all sickness will flee if we just rebuke it. Satan always has a counterfeit to offer. If he can appeal to our human nature, which loves to believe we can be “as gods”, he is happy as long as we don’t get hold of God’s real blessings. So we have millions of people, calling themselves Christians, who have bought into the idea that we can speak our wishes into existence, circumventing God altogether. I have known some of these confused folks to even rebuke God when He isn’t cooperating. They call this the “Word Faith movement” and those who adhere to it would have you to believe that if you are poor or sick, you are in sin and should be ashamed. In John 9:2 the disciples asked Jesus whether a man who had been blind from birth, was blind due to his own sin, or that of his parents. Jesus answered that it was neither, but that he was afflicted that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
That doesn’t mean that we have to just roll over and let sickness and depression rule us. Sometimes God removes the thorn, and sometimes he uses the thorn to help us turn our thoughts toward Him. We can choose to set our mind on things above and not dwell upon what is painful or disheartening. Philippians 4:8 and 9: Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things which you have learned and received, and seen me (Paul) do, and the God of peace shall be with you. Notice the difference in these verses as compared to the one that promises the peace of God. If you pray about everything and remember to be thankful, the peace of God will keep you. If you dwell on all these good, pure and lovely things, the very God of peace will be with you.
God doesn’t promise health or wealth or ease. He promises that “in this life you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”. He promises He will never leave or forsake us. So we cannot arbitrarily interpret the Word any way that we want, and then expect God to “perform on demand”. We must yield to Him as both Savior and King, have a new heart and new desires placed within and allow the Spirit to pray in us according to God’s will and teach us how to pray “as we ought”.
If you have ever looked around and thought to yourself “there is more to this Christian walk” and you have not sought the Lord with your whole heart, and loved Him with all your heart, and mind and strength, it may be that you have not received the full measure of His grace and allowed the Spirit to reign in you and in the whole of your life.
“Ye will find me when ye seek me with your whole heart.” Does that sound like He wants a casual relationship with you? Abundance is in the Spirit. If this does not reflect our own lives as a Christian, maybe it is time to get on our knees and pray until we receive that full measure of His grace! God is not a Pez dispenser. He is not a big blessing-dispenser in the sky. He didn’t come to save us out of pity. He came to save men because He created us to be holy and to glorify Him. Faith itself comes from God. What He requires from us, only He can give us. Have you gone to Him for it? Have you asked?