There’s a second Biblical condition to answered prayer. Jesus makes some amazing promises about the power of intercession, then attaches some contingencies. You can check out Thursday’s post if you’d like to explore this more. Bottom line: God has put himself on the line with audacious promises!
Yet as bold as these promises are, they come with specific conditions – if/then. Jesus includes some lines of fine print at the bottom of the contract: “If and only if…” God will honor his promise to answer prayer… when certain conditions are met. Asking is the first. Here’s a second:
Faith: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘be uprooted and planted in the sea’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17:6). Jesus places “faith” as a condition for response. What does he mean? Faith as the Bible defines it is an action based on a conviction that something promised with be delivered, even before any evidence appears that it will be so. Faith in God means a Christian is to begin prayer from a posture of confidence, knowing ahead of time that God listens and keeps his word. Jesus invites his followers to pray to God knowing that he already knows what they truly need. But God enjoys the relationship that grows from the asking and responding process. Prayer is not a broadcast shot into the skies, but a direct and focused communiqué that will be received.
How can foster this kind of faith when it’s hard for me to trust anyone I can see let alone God who I can’t see? There’s a simple answer: the first condition – ask. If I don’t have faith I can ask for it as a gift. I may not be able to manufacture it myself, but God can give it. If you need faith, ask for it… It’s all a kind of circular experience, I admit, but this seems to be the process. I can’t have an answer to prayer without faith, but I can’t get faith without prayer. One man who Jesus addressed answered this problem by saying to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief.” That’s a good prayer. Take the little sliver of faith you and spend it asking for more faith.
God always answers the prayer for more faith… Try it.