3:19 am. Jack’s cries fill our bedroom.
Maybe he’s hungry. We try feeding, but he doesn’t bite. Jack continues to cry.
Maybe he’s in dire need of a diaper change. We check, but the diaper is clean. Jack continues to cry.
Maybe he’s cold. We give him a blanket. Jack continues to cry.
Maybe he’s warm. We strip off the onesie. Jack continues to cry.
I know. He just needs some bro time. I take him downstairs, and walk through our darkened kitchen with him gently cradled in my arms.
Jack calms down.
For about seventeen seconds.
Then he continues to cry.
And as I continue to pace back and forth with our crying infant in my arms, I think to myself, “If only he knew how to articulate what he needed, then I could give it to him.”
And right as that thought came to mind, God said to me, “That’s why most prayers don’t get answered.”
Christians are really good at crying. Experts, in fact. “Why does this always happen to me?” “Why do things never work out in my life?” “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”
We are very good at vocalizing how terrible things are. We are also fairly decent at (erroneously) attributing all of our woes and troubles to God. But I’d venture to guess that 9 times out of 10, we never actually ask for a solution. We just whine about whatever is going on, then blame God when things don’t get better.
For example, if you feel a fever coming on, complaining about how you always get sick isn’t praying. Accepting the sickness because “God works in mysterious ways” also isn’t praying. Even silently hoping that you miraculously get better isn’t praying. To make it a prayer, you need to verbally ask God to heal you. Confessing a scripture or two that promises to give you what you need is an absolute plus (in the case of sickness, Isaiah 53:5, Exodus 15:26, Luke 9:11, 1 Peter 2:24, and James 5:15 are just a few). Then you need to sincerely believe that God will deliver. And to finish it off, promptly praise God for His goodness and mercy and love.
That’s the prayer of faith.
My son Jack couldn’t tell me what was wrong because he doesn’t speak the English language. He’s just a baby. And most Christians are unsuccessful in prayer because they don’t speak the language of faith. They are spiritual babies. Now Jack will naturally grow up as time progresses. But Christian growth isn’t automatic. It takes deliberate and intentional action. And unfortunately, most people are unwilling to put in the time.
The language of faith is simple:
- Ask God for what you need (Matthew 7:7, Romans 10:9)
- Continually confess a scripture that promises you what you need (Joshua 1:8)
- Believe that you receive (Mark 11:23, Romans 10:9)
- Thank God for always meeting your needs (Philippians 4:6, Acts 16:25)
So stop complaining, stand on the Word, and have faith in God.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
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