It is because very many of God's children do not understand this connection between the life of faith and the prayer of faith that their experience of the power of prayer is so limited. When they desire earnestly to obtain an answer from God, they fix their whole heart upon the promise and try their utmost to grasp that promise in faith. When they do not succeed, they are ready to give up hope; the promise is true but is beyond their power to take hold of it in faith.
Listen to the lesson Jesus teaches us this day: Have faith in God, the living God. Let faith look to God more than to the thing promised; it is His love, His power, His living presence that will awaken the faith.
A physician would say, to one asking for some means to get more strength in his arms and hands to seize and hold, that his whole constitution must be built up and strengthened. In the same way, the cure for a feeble faith is to be found in the invigoration of our whole spiritual life by intercourse with God. Learn to believe in God, to take hold of God, to let God take possession of your life, and it will be easy to take hold of the promise. He who knows and trusts God finds it easy to trust the promise too.
God's promise will be to us what God Himself is. It is the man who walks before the Lord and falls on his face to listen while the living God speaks to him who will really receive the promise.
Though we have God's promises in the Bible, with full liberty to take them, the spiritual power is wanting, except as God Himself speaks them to us. And He speaks to those who walk and live with Him.
Therefore, have faith in God. Let faith be all eye and ear, the surrender to let God make His full impression and reveal Himself fully in the soul.
Count it one of the chief blessings of prayer to exercise faith in God as the living, mighty God who waits to fulfill in us all the good pleasure of His will and the work of faith with power. See in Him the God of Love, whose delight it is to bless and impart Himself.
In such worship of faith in God the power will speedily come to believe the promise too: "Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them." When you do in faith make God your own, the promise will be yours too.
The precious lesson that Jesus has to teach us this day is this: We seek God's gifts; but God wants to give us Himself first. We think of prayer as the power to draw down good gifts from heaven, Jesus as the means to draw ourselves up to God. We want to stand at the door and cry; Jesus would have us first enter in and realize that we are friends and children.
Let us accept the teaching. Let every experience of the littleness of our faith in prayer urge us first to have and exercise more faith in the living God, and in such faith to yield ourselves to Him. A heart full of God has power for the prayer of faith. Faith in God begets faith in the promise, in the promise too of an answer to prayer.
Therefore, child of God, take time, take time, to bow before Him, to wait on Him to reveal Himself. Take time, and let your soul in holy awe and worship exercise and express its faith in the Infinite One, and as He imparts Himself and takes possession of you, the prayer of faith will crown your faith in God.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was an ordained minister in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa and the author of numerous devotional works that have become classics, including Abide in Christ, Absolute Surrender and With Christ in the School of Prayer.
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