We are now in the middle of week 5 of our 7:14 prayer initiative. This week, our prayer focus is on faith.
The concept of faith can feel a bit tricky at times because it can mean a lot of things at one time. Faith is a confluence of belief, trust, love and loyalty all mixed up to result in us accepting/ believing certain things as true about God and what he has done in the world. The Greek term for faith comes from the word pistis, Theologian R.T. France has a helpful definition of pistis when he states, “The language of faith is essential to human relationships in general, but gains its special biblical connotations from the interaction of God with humanity, his reliability and our response of trust in him” (from the “Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels”).
So essentially faith boils down to one idea: TRUST
Chapter 11 of the Book of Hebrews has long been a helpful means for defining what it means to have faith. It gives us not only a strong definition of the word but also is filled with examples of men and women who have proven themselves to be faithful to God. The beginning of Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen … And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” From this definition the author retells the stories of the forefathers of our faith: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses and others, citing their unyielding belief that God would accomplish all that he had promised them.
Think about these men’s lives for a moment: All of them were put in bewildering circumstances. They were pressed at every point and yet they retained a deeper trust that kept them undeterred in the face of opposition. The testimony of their lives forces me to ask the question: Do I really trust Jesus to sustain me in the darkest moments of my life? Do I really believe he will do what he says he will do? Is he really good and trustworthy even when my circumstances suggest otherwise?
In my reading this week I came across a quote from Thomas Merton that really kicked me in the teeth (in a good way 🙂 ). This quote really forced me to ask how much faith do I actually possess in key moments of in my life. He comments:
Cowardice keeps us double minded – hesitating between the world and God. In this hesitation, there is no true faith – faith remains an opinion. We are never certain, because we never quite give in to the authority of an invisible God.
This hesitation is the death of hope. We never let go of those visible supports which, we well know, must one day surely fail us. And this hesitation makes true prayer impossible – it never quite dares to ask for anything, it surreptitiously seeks by human prudence to construct a make-shift answer.
What is the use of praying if, at the very moment of prayer, we have so little confidence in God that we are busy planning our own kind of answer to prayer?
As a planner and processor this nailed me. How often have I hedged my bets to play it safe, rather to believe God for something greater? How often have I shut down the vision God has given me at the first sign of resistance or complaint from our congregation/staff/elders, instead of pressing in through prayer to ask God to make that dream come to life? How little have I believed the possibility that the hard relational issues in my family could be overcome?
But it is in these moments of doubt that we must look back over the course of our lives and cling to the times where we have seen God move, the times that he has made a way for us that once seemed impossible. We must hold onto these moments as we embrace the future with hearts full of faith and trust that he will do it again!
Let’s not miss the opportunity to press into the Lord’s heart through prayer. My encouragement to each of us is to fan the flames of faith within our hearts – believe again that God fully intends to do amazing things through WRCC. Pray with expectant hearts – believing that God will perform a miraculous work within your homes, your places of work and in your relationships.
So I encourage you to read through Hebrews 11 this week and learn from these saints of old. They serve as examples of how our own faith in Jesus should be expressed in our lives. Not shifting like the sand with the sea, but steadfast and resolved – committed to following Jesus no matter what the costs. So as we continue our journey with #714 Prayer, ask God to increase your faith so that you can see him for all that he is: good and trustworthy!
God has called his people to pray! Our families, communities, and world are in need of healing and God makes a conditional promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that we want to live out. God is calling us as his people to humble ourselves, pray, seek his face and turn from our wicked ways. Please join us by:
- Praying daily at 7:14 a.m. & 7:14 p.m.
- Fasting one time per week
- Quieting your heart 10 minutes before service to pray
- Joining us for corporate prayer at the church, Saturday 7:14 p.m. & Sunday 7:14 a.m.