Focus: Building your faith through prayer
Mark 11:22-24 (NKJV) So Jesus answered and said to them, “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 be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Prayer is a beautiful way to build your faith and strengthen your confidence that God hears you and loves you.
After I finally turned to the Lord as an adult, sometimes I had trouble believing He would really accept me—knowing how much I had failed. I knew scriptures about forgiveness and restoration, but it was hard for me to believe I really ‘belonged’, at times.
I wanted to believe—I just didn’t know how to believe. I know the enemy of my soul was busy feeding my mind with doubts about ‘certain sins’…and whether God would really forgive every sin I had committed. My faith just wasn’t all that strong, and I really didn’t know how to get over the feelings I struggled with.
One day, I was asking God how I would ever really know if He had completely forgiven me and if I was truly His. Right away, the thought came to me to ask for specific things in prayer—and when the specific prayer I had prayed was answered—I would know God had heard me.
Right after that, another thought came to my mind that was so simple but true. I had the picture in my mind of how good parents take care of their own children and make sure they have what they need, and so on. I felt God was trying to communicate to me that if I asked Him for something specific and my prayer was answered, it wasn’t just an answer to prayer—it was a sign that I was His child—because He doesn’t answer the prayers of those who don’t belong to Him.
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Through a series of prayers I prayed that were extremely specific, God definitely proved He heard my prayers. As I asked and He answered—my faith grew and grew. Through prayer, I came to believe not only that I was forgiven, but that I was truly His child.
I needed the assurance of forgiveness more than anything I might have prayed for. None of the specific things I asked for were necessities. Some of them might have even been frivolous—but what I was asking for wasn’t the important thing and God knew it. It was the fact that what I was asking was something only God knew. When He answered—the excitement I felt was because He heard me. The fact He heard me meant more to me than what He did for me, by far.
Since that time, I have received many specific answers to prayer…ranging from crazy little things—to all out miracles. I know without a doubt God has restored me and that I’m His. What He has done for me has strengthened my faith so much that now I am able to bring encouragement to others who may have doubts about their own true relationship with God and their faith.
I seriously doubt you have done anything that I haven’t done. I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame for so long. I spent much of my time wondering how in the world I could have gone so far and fallen so short of what God had probably hoped I would be.
When we are willing to use what the enemy of our soul intended for evil—for God’s glory—it helps turn the wasteland we created into a watered garden. If someone else is able to receive their restoration because of the extent of our failures—then everything turns out good, after all—and the victory is multiplied.
If you feel like your faith isn’t as strong as it should be—pray specifically. If you wonder sometimes whether you are eternally ‘lost’ because of your own failures—pray specifically. God wants you to know His grace is sufficient for all of your sin. He doesn’t want any of us to continue sinning—He wants us to love Him more than we love to sin.
The Lord really wants to help us believe. He wants our faith in Him to grow. He is able to relate to each of us on our own level—in relevant ways. If you are still under bondage to sins that you haven’t been able to stop, or haven’t wanted to stop—God can help you have the desire to turn from those things. All you have to do is ask Him to give you the desire. There is nothing too hard for God. No matter how difficult something may seem to you—He can help.
Declaration: I will find new strength by asking God to increase my faith through answered prayer. As I pray specifically—and He answers specifically—I will know He hears my prayers–and that I am truly His.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.