One thing that has not changed very much at all over the past couple of decades is the reluctance that many people have to pray for God to do something life changing, whether it be in our own lives or that of a friend, family member or even a stranger vs. not praying at all.
What is it that keeps us from not praying prayers of healing, deliverance or even salvation when we know with nearly 100% certainty that these are all things that God promises to do in answer to our prayer throughout scripture?
Not too long ago, I knew the Lord had spoken a word to my heart about giving an invitation at the close of a message that I had been asked to bring on a particular weekend. This was something that I had been accustomed to doing for many years when I was preaching regularly, so it was not at all out of my comfort zone.
However, when the actual time came for the invitation at the Saturday evening service and at the Sunday 9:15 service in Wexford I found myself rationalizing my way out of giving the invitation. I won’t complicate this by telling you in any detail what was going on in my mind except to say that I somehow didn’t feel that the circumstances were “right” to give an invitation at that moment and so I simply chose to allow my concern to overpower my conviction.
That’s difficult and humbling for me to confess even though it’s been a few months since it happened. On the other hand, I can think of multiple other occasions since then when I have likewise evaluated a particular problem that I was facing, or more often, that someone I cared about was facing, and instead of believing God’s promises as clearly spelled out in His Word that He has both the desire and the power to address those problems, I somehow did not act on how I believe God was prompting me.
It’s not actually disobedience in the defiant category but it certainly is negligence in allowing my problem to be bigger than my confidence in the size of my God.
If this is something that you struggle with you’re not alone. Because many of our problems are so on-going, and the ones that are the most difficult are usually the ones that have been around the longest, it’s not unusual that our “big” problems are unconsciously overwhelming of our faith in the power of our “big” (remember the meaning of the word sovereign which is literally ‘over all things’) God.
Finally, in the third service of that weekend that I mentioned above, I realized that I had one more attempt that God was granting me to chose to obey His leading in my life – His prompting to my heart, or to simply write it off as not being the right time to do so.
Thankfully, I remember vividly that when I moved out of my message and into the invitation it flowed very simply and easily from my heart to others and the Holy Spirit did exactly what God had promised He would do. In that one service alone somewhere between 12 and 15 people openly acknowledged their desire to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior, the One who forgives our sin and brings us the hope of eternal life.
After all this was past, I was rejoicing on the one hand that there was significant fruit that was evident when I had obeyed the Lord; but I will also say that it was somewhat limited because I knew that I had missed two opportunities to do the same for others in the earlier services. That was an opportunity I will never have again with that same group of people.
I want to encourage you to chose to believe in the greatness of God toward you and the promises of God to meet your every need so that whenever you’re called upon to pray for someone else or even for yourself, don’t even hesitate to declare what God has said in His word as being true for your loved one or for yourself. Do so before the enemy has time to talk you out of it and somehow make you think that your problem is bigger than your God.
In a simple but very powerful verse which I find myself quoting all the time no matter what the problem or obstacle that I’m facing I believe that “I can do all things through the God who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13