Say the magic words, it is a sad thing to say, but that is how a lot of individuals look at prayer, a magic incantation based on hope and not faith.
There is a telling reason for this, we are told “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14) And even when we are assured within our minds that we are not asking amiss, even when we know that it will glorify God as best as we can determine, our prayers in a specific area are not answered, and so we return to the last resort, “It must not be in God’s will.” Any unsaved person would look at this recipe, so to speak, of prayer and call it nothing more than wishful thinking, a string of words that if they come about then “Praise God,” if they do not, “It must not be in His will.” In those instances where the prayer is answered either indirectly or over a period of time, then circumstances surrounding the individual’s life can generally be found that would have allowed the request to be seen in some means anyway.
For many, prayer is “hit or miss,” sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, when not answered, faith decreases, when answered, they feel fortunate, or blessed, if you like. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) Only those who have been crucified with Christ understand faith, faith in Christ holds firm no matter the physical pain or mental anguish, faith in Jesus Christ presses us forward when we have no energy left, when we are deprived of sleep, when the pain seems unbearable, when our prayers are not answered. Unanswered prayers and the continuation of service to the Lord are the signs of faith, and when not based on any past verifiable miracle, it is an unwavering faith.
There is not something within us that pushes us forward, that gives us hope that tomorrow will be better, there is someone, the Holy Spirit of God Himself dwells within those who know Jesus Christ as Lord. “Thy will be done” can only be said in all confidence and with joy by those who know for a fact that God is Sovereign, that what we are experiencing is what He wants us to go through, and that it really matters very little our interpretation of it, if it is glorifying God, then that is all that matters. Many times He allows or even sends certain circumstances to enter into our lives that are meant to show us where an opportunity for growth in our faith to increase, and fail or succeed, the lesson will be learned.
If we are to “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18) Then we must be increased in our faith as well, and God does not give those who are earnestly seeking Him many rest periods, there is a long way to go, and life is short. Pain is an incredible motivation, it will either draw you closer to Christ, or it will pull you away from His presences, the choice is ours.
Prayers that are answered inevitably draw us closer to Him, those that are not are those that will do the same as the pain, the choice is ours. I would ask all of you to begin seriously contemplating this verse, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15) Written by a man who knew pain, heartache beyond what many of us have ever known, physical pain that has driven lesser men to suicide, contemplate this man and his words of faith, for pain is coming upon us all, in one form or another.
How do you handle your pain, when there are no doctors, no pills, or medicines to be prescribed, no one to speak to in the professional field about your broken heart. The great physician healed all who came to Him with just a word or a simple touch, He does not do that very often anymore, not every time we hurt are we healed. Here is your foundation, here is where the chaff is separated from the wheat, here is where the just shall live by faith. “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:8)