Ephesians 3:16–17 “I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” (NET Bible)
This week, Thrasher reminds us that “the Spirit empowers us to believe God.” Not only does God want us to pray, and to pray within his will, but he wants us to believe that he will answer. The story that Richard Harvey recounts of the unbroken flask reminds us that God does work in mighty ways on His behalf and ours—when we pray and believe. But we must remember that “in his will” part. When we pray outside God’s will, we must expect the answer “no.” When we come to God in prayer and “ask Him what He desires us to believe Him for,” then we can and must expect the answer “yes.”
Dare I pray for an unbroken flask?
I struggle with knowing how to pray within God’s will, don’t you? Is it God’s will that my friend miraculously recover from cancer? Or is it his will that she continue to die with such grace that others desire the hope she has? Both answers glorify him. How can I know how to pray?
When I pray for our country and pray that our leaders will honor God through the laws they enact, I know God desires this. But does he will it? Does he promise it? How can I know what to believe? How do I know when God has answered, “Not yet, keep praying,” and when he has answered, “No.”
When should I expect God to keep the flask from breaking?
I believe we find the first answer to this question in the Spirit’s leading through prayer. Thrasher says, “In prayer we are to come to God and ask Him what He desires us to believe Him for.” We must depend on the Spirit to make clear God’s will, God’s word, and God’s promises. We must believe that he will tell us. And we must listen. We will know when to pray for the unbroken flask because we measure our relationship with God in seconds rather than days or weeks. We will know when we seek and study his heart.
And we find the second answer to this question in the unbroken flask’s context. Like Nehemiah praying for to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, or David believing that God would give him victory over Goliath, the context of the college freshman’s prayer was an expectation that God would defend his own name and honor against those who maligned it. Time and again, scripture shows God mightily defending his name–against Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s army, against the Philistines in the times of the judges, against Assyria’s attempt to invade Jerusalem. In all of these instances, God’s people had experienced devastation and a sense that God had forgotten them, but at the right time, through the prayers of repentant, righteous people, God defended his name. Dr. Lee’s students endured his open mocking of God and prayer for twelve years. Maybe he was right, they thought. Yet it only took one man willing to believe that God would—and could—defend himself for God to prove Dr. Lee wrong.
Do you know what God is asking you to believe this year? Have you asked him? When you think about God’s promises, what obstacles keep you from standing firm in your belief? Mocking? Penalties? Fear? How are you working to overcome them? How does the Spirit encourage you to believe?
Let us know your thoughts. And don’t forget to journal!