"Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"
- Luke 18:8 NKJV
Luke 18:8 belongs to one of my favorite passages in Scripture. Jesus used this parableóthe parable of the ďUnjust JudgeĒ--to teach His disciples about persevering in prayer, without giving up or losing heart. The Lord has used it many times to encourage me when I was tempted to quit praying about something He was challenging me to believe Him for. But this time, when He led me to this Scripture, He opened my understanding to it in a new way. He reminded me of a teaching I heard years before which said that while persisting in prayer demonstrates a high level of faith, there is an even higher level of faith that the Lord wants us to reach for. Itís the kind of great faith that Jesus spoke of in Mark 11:24 (NIV), when He said: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." This is the faith that believes that whatever it has asked God for has already been accomplished in the spirit realm, and the manifestation of it is on its way.
This is the kind of faith that Abraham had. Even though he was 100 years old when the Lord told him that he and his wife Sarah would have a son, he didnít focus on the obstacles that stood in the way of Godís promise coming to pass. On the contrary, the Bible says that he actually took the Lord at His word, and didnít wait until his son was actually born to thank God for him. Scripture says: "But Abraham never doubted. He believed God, for his faith and trust grew ever stronger, and he praised God for this blessing even before it happened. He was completely sure that God was well able to do anything He promised." (Romans 4:20-21 TLB) This is the kind of faith that honors and glorifies God the most. Itís the faith that thanks God before it knows where the money is coming from, or before the healing actually manifests itself. It praises the Lord before the bad habit or evil addiction is actually broken. And it breaks out in thanksgiving before the rebellious loved one actually has a change of heart.
Having this kind of faith isnít easy. It involves an unwavering commitment to Christ, and a devotion to His Word and prayer. And it takes Holy Spirit-inspired discipline. Why? Because our natural inclination is to become doubtful, fearful, and discontented when we donít get ready answers to our prayers. What we have to remember is that when we complain or feel sorry for ourselves, we cut off the flow of Godís blessings into our lives, and we put out a welcome mat for the forces of darkness. Anytime that we are grumbling or giving in to feelings of self-pity, we are not in faithówe are in doubt. And doubt will always rob us of Godís best. When we are in a difficult situation, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to look around and find things to be grateful for, and then express our gratitude in heartfelt thanksgiving. Godís command to us in every situation is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMP): "Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be; be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus.Ē Sometimes, the pain we feel may be so devastating that we will find it difficult to be thankful about anything. Thatís when we need to thank God by faith, knowing that as we obey His command, He will reveal Himself to us, and reward our obedience.
If you have been praying about the same thing over and over, with little or no results, perhaps the Lord is just waiting for you to begin thanking and praising Him in advance for the answer, believing that itís already a ďdone dealĒ. When you do, you will find yourself experiencing more peace, joy and contentment than you ever thought possibleóand you will glorify God!
Prayer: Lord, give me the wisdom I need to know when You want me to stop praying about a matter, and You simply want me to begin thanking You that itís already been done. Help me to cooperate with You for the growing of my faith by regularly reading and applying Scripture. Thank You that as I come up to a higher level of faith, You will bless me and use me in new and exciting ways for Your glory!
- J. M. Farro