In the book of James it says we ask and have not, because we ask amis. That means there is both a correct and appropriate way to exercise our faith when we pray and bring our needs before the Lord, as well as an incorrect or inappropriate way. Over the past two letters, we’ve been discussing some of the things that could very well cause our prayers to be fruitless, and prevent our faith from working and appropriating what the Word says is ours to have and enjoy.
If you’ve been asking and believing the Lord for a particular breakthrough in your life, but feel as though your prayers have fallen short of reaching heaven, these letters are here to encourage you, and perhaps answer why your faith just doesn’t seem to be working.
We’ve already discussed how doubt and an incorrect perspective of God and His Word could be neutralising your faith and making it inactive. Since we’ve established that God desires to see us blessed and walking in the fullness of all His promises; we have to conclude that the problem with our faith not working doesn’t lie with Him.
I believe the problem lies with us not understanding certain principles in His Word that activate our faith instead of crippling or making it ineffective. In this letter, we’re going to discuss two important truths we should pay attention to before we come to the Lord in prayer.
The first one being obedience - which by the way, is key!
The Bible teaches that even if we do have faith, and speak God’s words over our situations, if we are not obeying God’s voice, whether it be His spontaneous, rhema Word in our spirits, or His written Word, we won’t receive what we ask for.
In John 14 and 15, Jesus clearly says we must be vitally connected to Him, to the point where His Word must be alive in our hearts and we must obey it, if we want to see what we ask for. A living, intimate relationship with Jesus certainly involves obedience to His Word. If we aren’t doing this, He says we have no right to expect anything from Him.
We are so quick to say we love the Lord and profess Him to be on the throne of our hearts, but Jesus makes no qualms about what His opinion of that statement really means.
Take a look at what John 14:21 says, “The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]”.
Then in verse 23 He says, “If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.”
In John 15:7 Jesus says, “If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”
There it is, loud and clear - loving God is far more than lip service, it’s a daily decision to invest in a living relationship with Jesus, through His indwelling Holy Spirit, where His Word and ways become our own. When they do, we are guaranteed that whatever we ask, will be done for us - it’s that simple.
Having said that, I want to share one of these key principles we find in God’s Word we are expected to walk in, when we profess to walk in His ways. It’s the second truth we should pay attention to when we come before the Lord in prayer.
It’s the principle of turning our back on sin!
It’s true Jesus did deal with the sin issue on the cross. The Bible says he broke the curse and power sin has over us, by His redeeming blood. He has given us a brand new nature, His very own in fact, that is not cursed and tainted with the bondage of sin. Hallelujah! Now we can live by the power of God and His Spirit in His ways! We don’t have to succumb to the temptation to sin any more.
We can daily choose to live sin free. His power that’s at work in us, and our minds continually being renewed to His Word enable us to do this. When we live like this we stop shrugging our shoulders saying, “Oh, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” No, we begin to boldly declare that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! Do you see the change of perspective?
In 1 Timothy 1:19, Paul tells us that when there is sin in our lives, our consciences are seared before the Lord and our faith becomes shipwrecked. This is not what we want to happen because we know without faith, we will never receive God’s promises. So choose to turn your back on sin, give yourself to living for God, and you will receive all He has promised you.
So, what have we learnt from today’s letter? Firstly, according to Jesus, a life of daily obedience to His voice and His Word will cause us to have whatever we ask Him for. And secondly, when we choose to see ourselves as God does - empowered to live free from sin - our faith becomes strengthened, not weakened!
Understanding we are made righteous through the blood of Jesus, and have a brand new nature that is free and able to live for Him - sin will have no pull on us and we can continuously turn our back on it. This fuels and strengthens our faith instead of shipwrecking it so we can believe in God’s good character and His promises.
In the next letter we’ll look at another key principle we need to pay attention to that will activate our faith and give us confidence when we come before the Lord in prayer.
All my love,