LEAP OF FAITH
THE only survivor of a shipwreck was washing up on a small, uninhibited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but noneseemed forthcoming. But he kept praying. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.
EARLY the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
IS prayer something we use only to solve impossible situations? When and if we cannot change situations ourselves? We may think prayer is a final bid for something desperately needed, a last ditch effort instead of rightfully placing it as first priority. Like the man in this story some people think God does not hear our prayers or if He does, we cannot see how He can or will fulfill them. Being human we want to have Him answer immediately. We dont want to sit back and wait.
IF you have ever gone to a Mortgage company seeking refinancing for your home you know you will have to answer the numerous financial questions and build a relationship of trust and worthiness before a loan officer can offer us a check. Well, God expects us to build a relationship with Him too. I Peter 3:12 tells us For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers."
WHEN we need something we go to those we know best; members of our family who love us, a trusted friend or neighbor, or perhaps church clergy. We feel confident that they are approachable, will listen and perhaps help if they can because they share a common bond with us. And so it is with God. Before our needs can become acceptable by God, we must be in His friendship for effective prayer. If we do not know God, we are, in essence, strangers to Him. He knows who we are but we really do not know Him. But if we are His sons and daughters, through trust and faith we can go confidently and ask for His help.
JESUS says in Mark 11: 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And then again Mark11:22 He states Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says TO THIS MOUNTAIN, Be removed and be cast into the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. Now does this mean we can have everything we want? No, James 4:3 tells us You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly, with a view to squandering what you receive on your pleasures. If we believe in Jesus Who taught us the way we should live this life, we will ask for things pleasing in His eyes, accepting His answers when He says no or Wait. The closer we come to God we begin to be selective in what we ask for, asking only for things we know are in accordance with His will.
NO prayer goes unnoticed when we genuinely petition the Lord. Throughout the bible God has commanded us to come to Him in prayer. Jesus taught us how to pray, giving us His perfect example of constant prayer, and He invites us to share our burdens with Him. He will listen with loving care and through this connection we get an insight that we may not have had before. He may also tell us to be patient and let Him take care of our worries. But we do not give up on prayer. We continue to pray even when we cannot get the answers we seek.
WHEN we believe in God, we are willing to take the leap of faith that He will come through for us. Once we lay our concerns at His mighty throne of grace, we, in trust, can sigh with relief that it is in the almighty hands of an infinite and loving God. With confidence that our loving Father will take care of whatever we ask of Him, we go forth in trust knowing that He will make things right.
PRAYERS lose value without faith. St James 1:5-8 reads If any of you is without wisdom, let him ask it from God Who gives generously and ungrudgingly to all and it will be given him. Yet he must ask in faith, never doubting, for the doubter is like the surf tossed and driven by the wind. A man of this sort, devious and erratic in all that he does must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
IF we go to God in sincere and trusting prayer, we are leaving behind all earthly and selfish desires, giving us the strength to say within our prayer, not my will but yours be done as Jesus taught us. We are offering our pain and suffering to the One Who said Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest (Matt12:28). Prayer is the mainstay that defines and simplifies the purpose God has for each of us. Through prayer we discern and discard the things that do not matter enabling us to ask for the things that do. When we yield ourselves to God in prayer, He has promised He will give us peace of mind when our problems in life rob us of joy and leaves us sad. He will give us serenity and peace to go forth and hold our heads high with the knowledge we belong to an eternal King Who loves and generously gives His blessings to us.
OH yes, there will be times when I will feel abandoned, when Satan will gleefully whisper in my ear, "He's not listening to what you have to say, he doesn't care about you", but that's when I must spiritually and mentally stand up and proclaim that as an heir of the living God, my heavenly Father will never leave me to face my trials alone. He will walk through the valleys and shadows of my suffering and keep reminding me He will have an answer for me. I won't give up, for He has numbered each hair on my head (Luke 10:30) and He knows when each hair falls. If He knows even this, doesn't He care about the whole of me?
PRAYER is not a magic tool that works exactly when and the way I want it; it is a power that sustains me and you through the trials we face throughout our stay on earth. Keep remembering that the tangles of life that we cannot unravel will bring us closer to prayer. Dont be afraid. When you pray, ask God to give you the trust to make that leap of faith in Him.
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