I love listening to sermons, and then listening to the Holy Spirit as he develops further revelation for me.
My pastor delivered a powerful sermon this morning here in my home town of Branson, Missouri. This article, while different than what I heard this morning, is a result of God's anointing on his life and on the teaching he brought.
A New Prayer Strategy That Will Set You Free
"Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" (Mark 4:40)
When I consider going to God with my issues, concerns, troubles, needs and other personal trials, I first ask myself a question. Is God going to respond to me by asking, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" It's quite possible that I should not bring my issue to God at all.
I realize that God loves it when we pray, and there are many types and ways to pray that are applicable for various situations, but I have learned to consider my heart condition and motive behind the prayer. Both matter.
It's extremely easy to function from a place of doubt when we consult with God. It's common, for example, to doubt our needs will be met, and this can manifest through prayer, hoping that God does something to remedy our situation. While it's good to have any sort of conversation with God, we also need to know that his response will be tied closely to our faith that's connected to our prayer.
Let's look at the entirety of the well-known passage in Mark 4:
That same day, when the evening came, He said to them, "Let us go cross to the other side." When they had sent the crowd away, they took Him in the boat just as He was. There were also other little boats with Him. A great wind storm arose, and the waves splashed into the boat, so that it was now filling the boat. 38 He was in the stern asleep on a pillow. They woke Him and said, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"
He rose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" Then the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is that you have no faith?"
They feared greatly and said to one another, "What kind of Man is He, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" (Mark 4:35-41).
Don't Bother Jesus
The obvious thing for Christians to do when in a time of trouble is to go to God. I want to propose you may have more success at times by not going to God.
If you are in relationship with him, and are living a life of overcoming faith, and you know your authority, it's not necessary to have a consultation with God every time you have to make a decision or every time the going gets tough.
Quite often, the correct step is to refuse to bother Jesus. He was asleep on the boat in the midst of the storm—and he should have been left alone.
This principle is true for us today as well.
Many of us have a habit of attempting to shake God awake to our situation, and instead of him resolving the problem, he asks, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"
The correct thing to do would then be to resolve the situation ourselves!
When God Sleeps
In the midst of storms, or at the point of decision, God may "sleep" (be unresponsive to our petitions) for at least a couple of reasons:
- The storm or situation needs to play out. Possibly God is using the situation to help us reach our destination. The disciples were attempting to go across to the other side, and though the storm was threatening, was it possible that the winds would assist them in their journey? Maybe.
- We are to stop the storm or make the decision ourselves. This is the scenario more often than we realize. It's extremely common for my wife and me to make decisions, to power through obstacles and deal with attack without nervously yelling for Jesus to wake up and come to the rescue. We've been granted authority to bring the resolution ourselves. Don't forget, this is only possible since we are in relationship with Jesus and we are submitted to his plan for our lives. It's possible that the disciples could have silenced the storm themselves. Jesus' stern reaction to them awakening him revealed that they needed to relax and know that all will be well, whether they rode the storm out or commanded it to end.
But let him ask in faith, without wavering. For he who wavers is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed with the wind. Let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:6-8).
The disciples were afraid. They doubted. They were blown and tossed by the wind and the waves. If they would have responded in faith, the wind and the waves would have been under their command and would have either settled down or carried them exactly where they needed to go—to the other side.
Who Then Is This?
""what kind of Man is He, that even the wind and the sea obey Him" (Mark 4:35-41).
Instead of being asked, "Why are you so afraid?" people will be asking about us, "What kind of man [or woman] is [this]?"
The passage indicates that there were other boats in the storm as well. The story most probably should have been quite different. With Jesus still asleep, those on the other boats would have pointed to the disciples and fearfully and joyfully asked with great passion, "Who then is this!"
The answer would have been remarkable as they directed everyone's attention to a sleeping savior. Jesus would receive all the glory and his power would have been undeniable—calming the storm as he slept, manifesting his plan through the authority of his followers.
Knowing Our Authority Is Critical
It's important that I make it doubly clear that I in no way am attempting to say we are to advance without Jesus or without living a life of fervent prayer. We must be so intimately connected to Jesus on a continual basis, that our prayer shifts from mostly needy, clueless and concerned to mostly relational. We can pray in the Spirit, make decrees and declarations and legislate from a place of great strength and spiritual authority because of our life of relational prayer and intercession.
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. 2 And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2).
When casting out demons or praying for the sick, we never have to go to God petitioning Him to deliver the oppressed or make the sick whole. Why? We can let God "sleep" and do it ourselves. We are to cast the demons out. We are to heal the sick.
Twisted and Afraid
When they came to the crowd, a man came to Him and knelt before Him, saying, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not heal him."
Then Jesus answered, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me." Jesus rebuked the demon, and he came out of him. And the child was healed instantly (Matt. 17:14-18).
In the above passage, Jesus should not have been disturbed. His disciples should have handled the situation themselves, but they couldn't. They didn't have faith (even the faith the size of a mustard seed). The result? Jesus called them twisted!
Not only don't I want God to respond to my prayer by asking why I'm afraid and why I have no faith, but I really don't want him calling me twisted.
The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us through Your name."
He said to them, "I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:17-19).
We have been given authority over all the power of the enemy! Nothing shall hurt us. No storm is powerful enough! We can let Jesus sleep as we administer his truth and power in the world.
Instead of being called twisted and afraid, this generation will be looking on from their boats and ask, "Who then is this?"
God is ready to promote you from a life of struggle to a life of power, peace, strength, confidence and breakthrough!
Jesus might be sleeping, but he's not disconnected. He's waiting for you to manifest His peace and his power as you annihilate obstacles, calm waves, move mountains, heal the sick and set the captives free!
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