The most important secret of having and keeping real faith is found by doing one thing. Before I tell you what that is, let me back up to about nine years ago. About nine years ago was a really good time in my life on one hand; but in other ways it was really difficult. There were some issues that my wife and I were going through that were hard to navigate. Not marriage issues, that part of our life was great. These were things that affected my ministry. In fact, at that time I came the closest that I’ve ever been to giving up on ministry. Fortunately God had a plan to help (He always does by the way).
There was a pastors conference that I had the opportunity to attend. It was a three hour flight to get there…and it was scheduled to last for several days. So for a little while at least, I would be out of my usual element. Sometimes it’s a good thing to remove yourself from the daily routine in order to get some perspective.
At the conference, I poured out my complaints to God. I grumbled. I let Him know where I stood on some things. For those of you who don’t think that a Christian should talk to God that way, just let me remind you that He already knows your heart anyway. Sometimes it’s better to just get it out there. And that’s exactly what I did. It took nearly the whole first day and night of that conference to get it out there.
The second evening we gathered for a main service in the auditorium. The place was packed. It was electric. The worship started. All at once I sensed the presence of God like I hadn’t in several months and God broke me. See, I don’t cry very often. Not because I’m to tough to do it…It’s just not really my nature or temperament to cry. But that night during worship, you would’ve thought a dam broke somewhere in me. Tears where literally hot rolling down my face. I cried out to God like nobody’s business. It set me up for the message that was to come.
The pastor stood to preach. He related a story about his life that was similar to what I was facing. Basically, he wanted to quit. My ears shot to attention. I wanted to quit too.
He continued by saying that the secret was, he quit every Monday morning. He just didn’t tell anyone else! Sometimes you feel like you have to quit…You can want to quit…You can need to quit…You can dream of quitting…but the secret is, don’t quit.
Let me ask you a question:
Do you have faith that accomplishes anything? Do you have faith that moves God’s hand? Do you have faith that get’s your prayers answered?
Sometimes you feel like the answer is, “no”. In reality, though, scripture says that even faith as small as a seed can move mighty mountains. The secret to seeing your faith accomplish your dreams, answer your prayers, and move God’s hand is found in not quitting.
- You must have hope that God will answer.
- You have to ask and keep on asking.
- You need to prepare for what God is going to do.
- You should begin to speak with faith about your prayer.
But what’s it going to accomplish if you do all of that and then you decide to quit?
Here’s the deal…
Real faith doesn’t quit. It keeps going through the steps until God answers.
As a pastor, I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen someone go through all the steps to get their prayer answered. But then because their answer didn’t come in their sense of timing…they quit.
The answer to your prayer won’t come if you quit on your faith.
There will be times in your life where you feel like you are never going to hear from God. But even in the darkest time of your life…Even when you feel like giving up…God still has the answer if you will have the “stickability” to not quit. If you’ll refuse to give up on your prayer, you’ll find that God hasn’t given up on answering it.
Here’s a list of things to help you identify if you’re on the right track in your faith as you pray:
1.) Am I asking something that is God’s will for my life?
We know if our prayer is connected to a promise found in God’s word that it is His will. 1 John 5:14 says, “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
2.) Do I have sin in my life I’m holding on to?
This is an uncomfortable question; but scripture says in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity(sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear (me).”
3.) Are my motives for prayer centered on me, or on God?
James 4:3 says, “you ask and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your own pleasure.”
4.) Do I really believe God will answer?
Remember, the first step of answered prayer is hope. Hope is the basis for all faith.
5.) Is it possible that it all has to do with timing?
What if God is doing far more every time you pray than you realize He is? What if every time you pray He is putting another piece in the puzzle, and you just can’t see the whole picture yet? What if you just kept on praying? Maybe soon, everything would be in place for God to answer.