Summary: If God reveals to you that he is going to do something, you should believe it and not doubt it. If God reveals to us that he will do a marvelous thing when we step out in faith, we should step out in faith. If we don’t step out in faith, we will miss the
Prayer Keys - Faith
“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’” Mark 11:22 24
Until this study, I had not noticed how often Jesus expressed disappointment that his disciples and even the people who came to him for miracles lacked faith.
“And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” Matthew 13:58.
“He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith.’” Matthew 17:20.
“He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” Mark 4:40.
“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here: see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’” John 20:27.
At least three times he told them what they could do if they had faith. At least three times he referred to the unbelieving generation. At least five times he said, “O you of little faith.”
R. A. Torrey wrote in “The Power of Prayer and the Prayer of Power” that when he saw these verses shortly after becoming a Christian, he became so excited. All he had to do was work up his power to believe and he could have anything he wanted. A a a n n n y y y y thing.
Can God choose to give us anything? If God chooses to make your numbers come up for a Publisher’s Clearing House Super Prize, can anything prevent those numbers from coming up? God can give us anything. He can do anything for us. The Bible says that what is impossible for men is possible for God in Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 1:37, and Luke 18:27.
In writing about what God can do, Paul struggled to find the words. Can you imagine him telling his scribe to take a letter to the Ephesians. As he dictates it, he gets to the point where he wants to say that God is able do what we ask, then he thinks, “No, that’s not good enough.” He wants to be more emphatic. “To him who is able to do ALL that we ask.” No, that’s not good enough either. “To him who is able do all that we ask, OR THINK.” That’s better. I can think of a lot of things, and God is able to do all of them.
Yes, that’s better. But it’s still not good enough, because God is able to do things that have never occurred to me. “To him who is able to do ABOVE all that we ask or think.” That still seems to be too limiting. “To him who is able to do EXCEEDINGLY above all that we ask or think.” That’s getting closer. “To him who is able to do exceeding ABUNDANTLY above all that we ask or think.”
That is the God in whom we are to have faith. That is the God who tells us, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
I understand why R. A. Torrey thought this was such an exciting verse. But is it possible to abuse this verse? Can we build up our faith so much that we can force God to give what he does not want to give? I have read sermons and so called “Bible studies” that come very close to saying that.
You probably know my answer to that question. Faith is NOT a way to force God to give what he does not want to give. Faith is a way to receive what God DOES want to give. Faith is a way to receive what God would be DELIGHTED to give. I suspect that most of us never receive most of what God wants to give. If Jesus walked the earth incarnate today, would he look at me and say, “O you of little faith.” Do you think he would say that to you?
In 1973 or 74, I was teaching a Bible study for deaf college students. Just before the study was to begin, the phone rang. Someone was calling because they needed an interpreter for a revival service on Friday evening. They wanted to know if I knew any interpreters. I told them I was an interpreter and I was available.
They said it was for the United Pentecostal Church on N. Main Street. The night before, someone had been speaking in tongues during the service and the interpretation was that on Friday, they were to bring the blind, the deaf, and the lame. After the revival, they would have a healing service.