We are encouraged to be fervent in
prayer and to pray in faith throughout the scriptures. But how?
The obvious area where faith is needed in the context of prayer is when we do not see immediate miraculous results after we have prayed. How do we react in this situation? How 'should' we react in this situation?
Wrong thinking could make us feel that God is not hearing our prayers!
Someone might tell us that it may not be in His sovereign will!
But may I suggest that actually God always wants to grant His people's requests and we should remember that the scriptures say, for instance that, “we will lay our hands on the sick and they will recover”. To recover is to get well over a period of time. That means the time period is not always instantaneously!”
The question is how do we wait in faith while we or our loved ones recover?
The answer came to my mind as I was meditating recently on the passage in Matthew, Chapter 15, where a Canaanite woman was asking Jesus to heal her daughter. This whole incident seems to have been engineered by God to tell us about saving faith and it's been put in the bible for our benefit.
So let's see what it says about how faith applies in prayer.
Let's first of all read Matthew 15, verses 22 - 28...
15:22-28 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out
and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my
daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not
answer her a word.
That's the area of scripture. Now let's see what we can learn from it section by section.
Mis-Perception No. 1. - God is not hearing our prayers.
When the incident opens the woman is crying out to Jesus for her daughter to be healed yet Jesus apparently ignores her and carries on walking!
How do we react today if we pray and we feel that our prayers are not being heard; that they are not getting above the ceiling; or that we don't know how we ought to pray and feel our prayers are inadequate?
Often we let doubt and unbelief enter our minds and heart because 'the heavens are like brass', and so we don't press in tenaciously, and we may even stop praying.
But what did this woman do? She kept pressing in to Jesus and she kept on asking, - "Lord help me"!
This is what we should do also. Don't give up. The bible tells us in Romans 8:26...
Rom 8:26. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.
There you see how much God wants to answer your prayers. We know that
Jesus is our intercessor in heaven, but here we learn that
Holy Spirit joins in when we need help and intercedes for us also.
Mis-Perception No. 2. - It's not God's will to help.
Next the disciples come to Jesus and tell Him to send her away. This protracted hue and cry isn't good for the image. We've got a reputation for compassion and for healing and this doesn't look good!
But now Jesus speaks and effectively tells her - 'I haven't been sent to you. It's not the Father's will for me to help you. I was only sent to help the '"Children of Israel"'.
What would we do if were told that by someone of a different fellowship or someone who does not know our God very well? What if they said, 'God may not want to heal you; it may not be according to His will'? Or, 'God isn't healing in this age; now we have good doctors!' Some might let doubt and unbelief get into their thinking and affect their faith so that they may not be fervent in prayer and press in and they may even stop praying about the problem entirely.
But what did this woman do? And remember she wasn't told that it 'might' not be God's will - she was told it definitely wasn't God's will to heal her daughter at that time! Well, effectively she said to Jesus, "I've got a REAL problem here – Lord help me"!
how we must react also! Don't let other people put you off
regarding receiving healing or any gift that God has promised us.
Mis-Perception No. 3. - You are not worthy to be helped.
The next comment from Jesus tells her that God will not take something that's meant for one group of people and give it to another. They have to qualify!
How would we react to this? What do we do if it's suggested, for instance, that our sins separate us from God so we cannot expect Him to help us every time?
might let doubt take over and give up fighting for our blessing
to be manifested; and we may stop praying if we think that we are
not good enough.
The bread that God supplies is available for all. The 'bread of life' or 'The word of God' is all sufficient for everyone. Even a crumb of that bread has everything we need for salvation, healing, wholeness and every blessing God has for us.
Just as even a mustard seed of faith is enough faith to send a tree into sea, so a crumb of God's bread is enough for all we need. That is why God is known as El Shaddai. That means the God who is more than enough!.
this woman kept on pressing in to Jesus. She in effect said,
"You're the Messiah. You're the Saviour of Israel, the
chosen people, and I'm not trying to take anything from them.
But, you're also the Saviour of the world; and in there I
And Jesus said...
Mat 15:28 "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire."
And her daughter was healed instantly.
This true incident was put in the bible to show us how we should react when Satan or anyone else tries to take away our blessings. We should resist and fight to press in to Jesus for whatever we are asking of Him.
knew that this woman would react in faith and I believe He
deliberately engineered this incident to leave a record for us on
how to live by faith!
Faith - a tenacious, fighting belief that Jesus will do every good thing that we ask of Him.
And then, 'effectual fervent prayer' could maybe be defined this way....
Effectual Fervent Prayer - Prayer built on the foundation of a tenacious, fighting belief that Jesus will do every good thing that we ask of Him.
So let's all exhibit that kind of faith; The faith this woman had and which Jesus has placed within us, since we all have the same faith of Jesus that the Apostles were given! God has actually given us this faith; it's up to us to use it! Let's see that in print together...
2 Pet 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ:
See! You have obtained this same precious faith that is just like the Apostle Peter's, through the righteousness of God and Jesus Christ.
So let's "press in" to receive God's promises. God's always keeps His promises. We have to put out our hands to receive them and keep them out!
The ball is in our court. Let's "press in" in faith to get the answers for all the good things that we ask for, for ourselves and especially for others, realizing that God blesses us to be a blessing to others."
As Jesus said, “Have faith in God”.
God has promised us a lot in His word. We have to believe Him and follow the promptings of Holy Spirit as He leads us to achieve them! We are unlikely to achieve 100%, at first, but we should just realize that Jesus showed what a human being perfectly surrendered to following Holy Spirit could do - we typically have some growing to do to reach His maturity!
So let's be believers who actually believe, and "press in" to grow in faith and receive God's promises.
wishes for grace and the peace of Jesus.