“Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”
— Matthew [21:22]
On an early spring morning, while taking a long walk, I felt I had lost the ability to pray. In that moment, all that I wanted seemed gone. A long ago desire to be a faithful Christian seemed lost forever. The fire I had started as a youth had burned down to a tiny ember. It appeared to be burning out. I began to pray that I could learn to pray. It was at that moment my greatest desire. I needed to rekindle my connection to God. To return to a connected life of thankfulness and humility. No other desire in that moment stirred within me. Later that day and for many days to come, the ember began to burst into flames. After I had thought it was burned out.
“Fundamental to prayer is a sense of need that we ourselves cannot meet, and faith that God is both able and willing to meet that need.”
Charles L Allen, a mid-twentieth-century author and pastor, describes prayer as follows: “Fundamental to prayer is a sense of need that we ourselves cannot meet, and faith that God is both able and willing to meet that need.” When we search for something to meet our need, we search in many places. We search at work, in our relationships, and in our readings. The further we search, the more we seem to just miss. But some search directly to God. They are patient and faithful. Charles Allen was the pastor of a Methodist church in Atlanta during the 1950’s. Each Sunday night he would hold a service on prayer. Each Sunday, over a thousand would show up to pray. Each person strung together Sunday by Sunday a life sculpted by prayer. A faithful request to be connected and renewed.
“Faithful prayer is the recognition that God is the source of our strength and the provider of the answers to life.”
Jesus tells us to pray. But he also tells us to pray with faith. A faith that our prayer will be answered. A faith that we will watch the events of our lives respond to our requests. A faith that isn’t based on selfish desire, but based on an authentic desire to be redeemed. A faith that our thankfulness is pointed to God. With this faith we will receive. The desire to receive being based not on ego, but on a spirit-led connectedness.
There are many times Jesus prays in the Gospels. In the Garden, while in the desert, and early in the morning. In his prayers, he is in dialogue with God, a searching for answers and an examination of the heart. In the Lord’s Prayer, he lays out the fundamentals of prayer: praise and petition. We express our recognition of God’s value and place a request. A request that through our faith we will receive an answer. When we engage in silent prayer, this request becomes molded by our dialogue with God. Our prayer request shape changes as the spirit helps formulate our requests. At times the prayer becomes something different than our original intent, an internal mediation with the spirit.
It is with faithful prayer that we let go of our human desire to shape our lives and through faithful prayer we let God help shape our lives.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
What dialogue do we have with the spirit when we pray?
Why is faith important?