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Does your faith waver when you pray?

[ WordBytes on Spiritual Growth ]

The answer to what you pray for is just over the horizonIs your faith wavering because God has not answered some of your prayers? Maybe your faith is still strong but you’re getting frustrated, because when you pray, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Well, maybe he’s trying to get your attention so that he can assure you that his goodness is just over the horizon, just beyond your vision.

In the book of 1 Kings 18:41-46, God spoke to Ahab through the prophet Elijah. Read it as if he’s speaking to you, too — because he is. If what we pray for is good, if it’s part of the good life he wants us to have, if it will help us move forward on our journey of holiness, he’s saying: “Your prayer has been answered!” But we don’t see the answer, so he says, “Look again!” And still we don’t see the answer. Elijah’s servant had to “go and look” seven times before the tiniest hints of the drought’s end became visible on the far horizon.

How many times do we have to look again? In scripture “seven” means “the full amount.” In the fullness of time, the answer to your holy prayers will be manifested before your eyes. Until then, it’s developing beyond your view, where you can’t see anything but drought.

God has told you to ask for his help, and he loves you (and those for whom you are praying) more than you can imagine. So of course he’s already working on the answer to your prayers, but he’s doing it in the way that’s best for you and for all those who are affected by the situation.

But I don’t want to wait very long, do you? I want to see God’s plan working now and in a way that makes sense to me in my limited ability to understand. You, too?

Notice what Elijah said to Ahab before the first cloud appeared: “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” What rain? Where? Such powerful faith! He knew God’s will and thus could envision it happening. We need to ask Saint Elijah to share with us his ability to envision the future. We need to put our confidence in God like he did.

It’s easy to figure out what is God’s will: Find a scripture that applies to your situation — not pulling a verse out of context but understanding it within the truth of the entire New Testament — and you will see his will. Absolutely. But to have the faith of Elijah, we have to keep our eyes on the rain that God promised, not on the drought that we see.

There is a very good reason — in fact, many good reasons — why the rain does not come immediately. If we could see what God sees, we wouldn’t want the drought-ending process to be shortened. The full process will benefit us and it will benefit others. Perhaps the wait is benefiting others more than it helps us, but that’s okay, isn’t it? We care about them, too, don’t we?

God is responding to every holy prayer request. Although it’s absurd to put on a raincoat when there’s not a cloud in the sky, this is a good picture of Christian living. Let’s continue our prayers while carrying the umbrella of expectation.

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© 2010 by Terry A. Modica

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