Hannah was the mother of Samuel, one of the greatest prophets of Israel. But there was a time when she was childless, and because of her barrenness, she was often taunted unmercifully. Her misery eventually became so great that she became depressed and lost her appetite for food. Then one day, she poured her heart out to the Lord in His temple, asking Him to bless her with a child of her own. What's most interesting to me in this passage is that right after she offered up her prayer, her entire outlook changed. The Scripture says that she "went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad". (1 Samuel 1:18 NKJV) Hannah didn't wait until her circumstances changed to leave behind her sorrow, but she left it behind right after she poured her heart out to the Lord.
What made the difference? Hannah's "believing" prayer. As Hannah made the decision to put her trust in God, and in His willingness to act on her behalf, she immediately began to be filled with a fresh sense of hope. And Scripture bears this out. Romans 15:13 (NKJV) says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Hannah became filled with so much hope, joy, and peace that it actually changed her appearance and her actions. These changes were proof that she truly believed that the Lord had heard her prayer, and that her answer was on its way. How many times do you and I seek God in prayer, without it ever changing how we behave or look? Do we really think that this kind of prayer can move mountains?
The Bible says, "For only we who believe can enter [God's] rest." (Hebrews 4:3 NLT) One way we can tell if we are praying in faith is that we will sense our whole being entering into an indescribable "rest". We will notice that we are not talking about our problem so much anymore, or even thinking about it. And if it does come to mind, we will often dismiss it with a declaration of faith such as, "God is taking care of that for me. I don't have to worry about it anymore." There are times when something is causing me so much worry that I have to stop and say, "Lord, help me to enter Your rest in this matter". That is a prayer that He is eager to answer when we are doing our part to live free from worry, by walking in close fellowship with Him on a daily basis.
Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:24 NKJV) As the Savior teaches us about mountain-moving faith, He instructs us to believe that we receive the answers to our prayers "when we pray". Jesus doesn't want His followers to have a worldly attitude that says, "I'll believe it when I see it". On the contrary, He wants us to have a mindset that says, "I'll see it when I believe it". What is it that the Lord is challenging YOU to believe Him for today?
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You've given me a "measure of faith," so that I can pray "believing" prayers. (Romans 12:3) Teach me how to exercise my faith, so that it will continually increase. Make me sensitive to Your Spirit's leading, so that I can pray Your will in every situation. Thank You that as I believe when I pray, I will experience Your peace, joy, and rest!
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