in the school of prayer - lesson eleven

Want to learn more about building a life of prayer? Me too. Meet me here on Wednesdays for an ongoing series exploring prayer using Dr. Andrew Murray's book, With Christ in the School of Prayer. I'm honored to learn alongside you.

Last week we learned that “Prayer must be definite,” this week’s lesson is a companion to that and asks us to “Believe that ye have received.”

“Therefore I say unto you, whatsoever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received them and you shall have them.”  Mark 11:24

First the context:

“The WHATSOEVER is unconditional: the only condition is what is implied in the believing.  Ere we can believe we must find out and know what God’s will is; believing is the exercise of a soul surrendered and given up to the influence of the Word and the Spirit; but when once we do believe, nothing shall be impossible.”

Jesus is teaching disciples to pray and exercise their faith.  He is not some candy store or magic genie to supply our wants.  The conditions of the promises are met in the surrender of our will to the Father’s and the praying is born from His Spirit.   All along God has been inviting us to enter into maturity; to join confidently in HIS work and to set aside the earthly, temporal concerns of our flesh.   Within that framework, as living, maturing disciples, He is teaching us to add faith to our prayers.

“As children we make known our desires in the countless things of daily life, and leave it to the Father to give or not as He thinks best.  But the prayer of faith of which Jesus speaks is something different, something higher.”

"What a promise!  So large, so Divine, that our little hearts cannot take it in, and in every possible way seek to limit it to what we think safe or probable; instead of allowing it, in its quickening power and energy, just as He gave it, to enter in, and to enlarge our hearts to the measure of what His love and power are really ready to do for us.”

What thing has the Lord told you to pray for?  What thing do you dare not believe? 

Last week I shared about a need at our house.  Immediately as I began to ask specifically for the complete resolution and provision for the problem, my faith began to waver.  Every day the situation looked worse to my eye, every day I felt more helpless and less sure that God would come through.  I was asking Him, but I wasn’t believing.  Dr. Murray’s teaching pricks my heart and dares me to exercise faith.  Will God do what He has told me to ask Him for?  The road is dark ahead and I can see no answer coming.  Will I believe Him?

“Believe that ye have received! now, while praying, the thing you ask for.  It may only be later that you shall have it in personal experience, that you shall see what you believe;  but now, without seeing, you are to believe that it has been given you of the Father in heaven.  The receiving or accepting of an answer to prayer is just like the receiving or accepting of Jesus, or of pardon, a spiritual thing, an act of faith apart from all feeling. […]  I believe that I have it, I hold it in faith; I thank God that it is mine.”

We must ask; we must believe; all before we receive.  We are stretching our souls, strengthening spiritual muscles, daring ourselves to go boldly – foolishly, to earthly eyes – into the promises of God. 

I am stumbling forward, trying to apply these unbelievable promises to the reality of my world.  I don’t know what will come of it at all.  But I know God is true and never lies and so I will take Him at His Word and believe.  Will you come with me?

Next week I’ll be taking my regular Sabbath time away from the blog, but in the following week we will head into the next section in our lessons, learning how to stretch our faith and practice it in the day to day.  We’ll begin with Lesson Twelve:  “Have faith in God or The Secret of Believing Prayer”

You can find all the entries in this series here:  Wednesday prayer series

Let’s pray:

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 Dear Lord,

 You keep stretching us, pushing us to go further into the mystery with You.  We confess our fears, the doubt that creeps and presses in.  Give us boldness, we pray, to take You at Your Word and believe.

Speak to each one of us this week about where You would have us apply our faith.  What is the thing You want us to believe You for?  Enlarge our hearts and minds to take in all that You want to show us about Yourself.  Lord, root our faith, our belief, our prayers, in You and Your will.   May we be planted in the soil of Your Spirit, filled with the Word and walking by Your light as we step out in this new faith. 

 For those of us who have no faith to believe yet, will You take us by the hand and draw us forward?  Give us what we lack.  When we come to Your throne may we find the faith to do as You are calling us to do.  May we find courage and hope and confidence from Your hand.

In You we live and move and have our being Lord.  Lead us on in Your truth.

In the precious name of Christ,

amen