Becoming A Woman Of Prayer-Online Study
Praying in Faith
(Becoming A Woman Of Prayer, © Cynthia Heald, June 2005. Used by permission of NavPress, all rights reserved. www.navpress.com)
"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."
James 1:6-7 (NIV)
Every bride remembers how she felt on her wedding day. For most, it would be classified as one of the most memorable and significant moments of their life. Is it weird that I remember the distinct emotions I had approximately 2 weeks later? We had just returned home from our honeymoon and we'd had two lovely weeks alone traveling up the west coast. We were settling into "our" home together and what that would look like mixed with the duties of life, work, and family. I remember laying in bed suddenly having this panicked feeling of "What if he changes his mind?". I'd never contemplated it before and all of a sudden, I couldn't shake this fear that my husband would figure out how lame I am and decide that he was leaving. I laid there on my side with the sounds of his deep sleep (aka snoring) keeping time with the rhythm of mine yet, while his was peaceful, mine was anxious. I HAD married a good man who love the Lord, who had good character and who loved me in return. When I prayed and asked God to calm my heart and to keep my husbands heart in unison with mine, my Lord reminded me that my job was to cling to HIM and love Lance the way I vowed to and He would take care of the rest.
Putting your heart in the hands of another is a huge act of faith. It's saying, "I trust you with my life and my future and we're going to do this together". Oddly enough, we have trouble trusting the One who gave us marriage, who designed it and who, unlike people, is unwavering and 100% faithful to what He has promised. We, all too easily, put our faith in people but how many times do we fail to trust the Lord? How many times do we believe our prayers are unheard, never going to be answered or even ignored?
Our verses in James 1 tell us to "... ask,... believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."
Not doubt?? I don't know about you, but I struggle with that. I'm a realist and what that means for me is I believe in realistic expectations and realistic limits, but I sometimes forget that I am in relationship with an unlimited being who has made and continues to make the impossible happen all the time. His scriptures are a testament that His plans are bigger than mine, his promises are true and that He is faithful to keep them. As we are invited into intimacy, it's key that we (that I) remember that God CAN do anything, that He IS doing something and that EVEN if He doesn't answer my specific prayer, His will is better because...again, He is faithful.
In the book, Cynthia breaks up this chapter into two parts: Faith in God and Faith in His will.(1)
Without these, it may be difficult...ok, impossible to be able to pray in faith. You must believe God is God and He is capable....on the same token, we pray to align ourselves with His will because His purposes are huge. Yet, Christ tells us several times that if we ask God with a sincere faith , and using the power of Christ's name, He will respond (John 14:8-14). Christ also says it takes only the faith of mustard seed. It only takes a smidgen of faith and when you know your faith is small, ask God to grow it. Ask him for more faith...again, He invites us, right? Do you think He makes all this effort to have intimacy with us and yet ignores us? Sisters, it is not so.
Cynthia shares in this chapter:
"And so it is with God: It pleases Him when we turn to Him in dependence and trust. When we ask in His Son's name, according to His charachter, God delights in proving His love, His wisdom, and His trustworthiness. As we experience His faithfulness we can sing, 'My faith looks up to Thee, Though Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine!' Our faith is never misplaced when it is placed in Him." (2)
I'd like to share a video with you from youtube of Pastor Matt Chandler from Dallas, TX who shared not long ago re: his journey through faith as he is suffering from a malignant brain tumor.
It's God's story of the faith of three men, God's faithfulness and now, it too, is Matt's story as He leans on and trusts a trustworthy God.
"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'"-Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)
This weeks challenge: Pray bigger this week. Ask God for the things that you've failed to ask Him for before. Pray for it because He is able, He will and even if He doesn't, it's better. Again, post this week's verse in a visible spot for you and read it every day.
Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you that you have revealed yourself over and over through scripture and in my life. Lord, it seems dumb to me that I should need more faith because you have never failed me. Lord, I want to pray bigger because you are bigger than this finite life. You make the incapable capable. You make the impossible possible. Thank you for hearing us, for loving us and saving us from the fire we deserved. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
**Please leave a comment! :)
(1-2) Becoming A Woman Of Prayer, © Cynthia Heald, June 2005. Used by permission of NavPress, all rights reserved. www.navpress.com