Summary: How to overcome the common struggles to pray.
Growing in Faith to Pray
Making the Impossible a Reality – Part 1
ILLUSTRATION. PRAYERS FOR RAIN
There had been a severe drought, and the members of a rural congregation were deeply concerned that their crops would be ruined.
One Sunday, therefore, the minister said to his congregation, "Brothers and sisters, I understand your deep concern about the harvest. There is nothing that will save us, except a special service of prayer for rain. The Lord promises that if we pray in FAITH, He will hear us. So go to your homes now, fast for a week, and pray. Then, next Sunday, we shall hold a service to claim the Lord’s promise because I just know it will rain next week at this same time!"
The people fasted during the week, then returned to church the following Sunday morning. But as soon as the minister saw them, he was indignant. "Go away!" he shouted. "How can you expect to claim the Lord’s promise if you have no FAITH?"
"But Reverend," they protested, "we fasted and prayed, and we have come believing that the Lord will be true to His word."
"Believing?" exclaimed the minister. "Believing?! Then where in the world are your UMBRELLAS?"
I want to talk to you today about growing in faith to pray. I want to begin this new year calling on you to pray. Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing. God says that when we pray He goes to work. The Holy Spirit prompts us to pray. So prayer is essential to the Christian life. Then how come do we not pray?
Let us be honest, how much time do you and I spend in prayer? Now I am not talking about praying for others. I am talking about praying for yourself. How often do you and I spend praying for what God could give us.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about praying to win the lottery. I am not saying that you should pray for God to solve all your problems the easy way. I want to talk to you about praying for promises that God has given in His word.
Now, I am going to be speaking specifically to couples today. This principle will work for singles and it will work for people who are praying for just about anything. If you need something, you need to learn to ask.
Now, James says to ask in faith without doubting.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
(James 1:5-8 NKJV)
But you say Pastor, that does not apply because that is about wisdom, not about what I want. Well, if you don’t know how to get what you want, then you need wisdom to get it. So, this verse very much applies.
First, let me share with you the struggles that you and I may go through when it comes to growing in faith to pray.
STRUGGLE #1 – We often pray in faith more for others than we do for ourselves.
This means it is easier to ask God to help someone else and believe it will happen. I think every husband should want to pray for their wife. They should ask for God to help them. I think every parent would find it easy to pray for their child. They should ask for God to help them. We should believe it is possible. When our child wants to go to a certain school, we should be praying for it. When our child wants a certain job, we should be praying for it. Many times we can help. At the very least, we believe it is possible for our children. We believe it is possible for our wives. We believe it is possible for our friends.
Now, if you don’t pray in faith for others, then you need to learn to do that. You need to go through that struggle. There is a reason for this. If you pray in faith believing it will happen for your wife, your husband, your children, your friends, your family – and God answers (and He will answer), then you learn that God answers prayer. You grow and God helps you. Now you don’t pray for the other person because you think there is something wrong. No, you pray because you love them.
If however, you pray for yourself and you struggle, you may get distressed and think it is not possible for yourself. You may quit believing God to fulfill His promises because of some problem you think is within you.