“And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.” Mark 11:22-23
Do you ever pray for something and then wonder whether God will answer? I think it’s something we all battle with from time to time. We know God answers prayer. We also know that Jesus told us that all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed. That’s such a tiny portion of faith – I mean, who doesn’t have faith that size?! So why is it that we so often still struggle with this issue of prayer? Why is it so hard to believe God will answer that particular prayer – that one thing you’ve been longing for?
A slight shift in emphasis
Here’s a thought: what if you were to read the first part of that verse again, slowly, several times. Let it sink in. Except this time, instead of focusing on the word faith, emphasise the word ‘in.’ “Have faith IN God…”
When we allow the Holy Spirit to make that small shift in our hearts, we take the focus off ourselves and all our self effort and our need to drum up faith, and fix our gaze on the One who makes and keeps promises.
Faith is required in prayer, but the most important thing is our personal relationship with the One we are praying to. When we know Him – His beautiful character, the height, depth and width of His great love for us, His faithfulness and willingness to care for us; then we start to understand that it is His heart’s desire to answer our prayers.
The more we get to know the heart of our beautiful Father, the more we understand who it is that we are placing our faith in. The closer we become with Him in relationship, the more clearly we see the kindness of His heart, hear the tone of his voice, and feel the tenderness of His words.
Paul wrote: “for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” 2 Timothy 1:12
The Passion Translation puts it like this: “for I have an intimate revelation of this God. And my faith in him convinces me that he is more than able to keep all that I’ve placed in his hands safe and secure until the fullness of his appearing.” 2 Timothy 1:12
Paul could say this with confidence. He knew that God was faithful to answer prayer because he had intimate knowledge of the heart of God and knew that God was both willing and able. Paul had faith IN God, not just “faith in faith.”
When we seek to know His heart more intimately, drawing near to Him; faith flows – not the other way around.
Today, if you are longing for and have been praying for something, shift the focus of your attention from your need to the heart of your Father who loves you beyond measure and seeks to connect with you. He has heard your prayers; Remember, the Psalmist wrote; “You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.” Psalm 139:3