#FaithFriday; When Prayer Becomes A Routine!

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Most of us know the story of Zechariah and the angel, Gabriel. Zechariah and his wife , Elizabeth were an old couple who had been praying to God to have children for sometime. One day, while Zechariah was going about his duties in the temple, God sent the angel Gabriel to inform him that He had heard and answered their prayers. But for a man who had been waiting on God for so long, it’s interesting to see that the answer came to him as a surprise. One would have expected that Zechariah would have jumped out of the temple shouting “Halleluyah! The Lord has done it!” and immediately raced home to tell his wife they had to start making plans for their son that was about to come.

Instead, we see that Zechariah was surprised and somewhat hesitant to believe that God had really answered. Why? Perhaps Zechariah had gotten so used to praying about the issue that he never actually considered the reality that God would/could still answer? Perhaps this request had become a routine request rather than an actual step of faith or perhaps in the midst of all the prayer and waiting for the miraculous, unbelief had crept in. One thing is clear though – Zechariah was not as prepared as he thought he was for the answer. (Luke. 1:18)

It appears the angel, Gabriel, was equally shocked at Zechariah’s response as he had to remind Zechariah of who he (Gabriel) was and where he was from (the presence of God). Because of his unbelief, Gabriel made Zechariah dumb until the birth of his son, John who would become John the Baptist. (Luke 1:20; 65 -end).

There’s something important to learn from this story and that is the fact that it is very possible to pray to God and “wait” on Him for the manifestation of the things we want but …with unbelief. It is possible to pray, fast, sow seeds etc and still not get results because we have little pockets of unbelief in our hearts.

What causes unbelief?” Simply put, it is looking at our present circumstances in comparison to what God has promised (through His word – The Bible) to do in our lives; and tiling in favor of what we see. Little wonder a 99 year old Abraham, for example, laughed when God reminded him of His promise to him (25years earlier) to be the father of many nations through his 90 year old wife, Sarah (Gen. 17:17).

No wonder Sarah herself also laughed some time later when God, through three visitors they hosted, declared to Abraham that the promise of God was to happen the following year (Gen. 18: 12).

Whenever we look to our current circumstances or situations and away from God’s word, we allow a little bit of unbelief to settle in. In both instances, first with Abraham and Sarah and secondly with Zechariah we find God having to ask and reiterate to them that nothing is to difficult or impossible for Him to do – absolutely NOTHING. Abraham and Sarah were blessed with Isaac and, Zechariah and Elizabeth were blessed with John – just as God had promised. And no – God’s miracles are not restricted to the issue of having children; God’s word is alive and active (Heb. 4:12). It is applicable, useful, and relevant for EVERY situation. If He has said – He can and WILL do it; all that’s required is for us to believe. (Mark.9:23).

How then do we ensure we do not give in to unbelief or doubt? How then do ensure our prayers do not become business-as-usual? First,

We must come to God believing that He is (able) and rewards those that diligently seek after Him (Heb.11:6).

When we come to God, we must be honest with Him. He’s not looking for us to impress or prove our worth to Him -no! He loves us and wants to help us. Just be straight up with Him! I love the honesty of the man whose son was possessed by a dumb spirit that caused the boy to harm himself from time to time (Mark. 9: 17 – 27). When Jesus told the boy’s father that if he believed, all things are possible; the boy’s father immediately declared

“I believe, but help my unbelief!” (Mark.9:24).

We see again here that Jesus re-echoed the word of God, spoken in the situations with Abraham and Zechariah – that ALL things are possible if we believe!  I encourage you to do a heart check today. Have you been praying for something for so long that if you were told it would happen today, would you doubt like Zechariah? It an exercise between you and God so be as sincere as possible 😊. Once you discover those areas, spend sometime today repenting (i.e. changing your mind set about the issue). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you renew your faith in God and His word. Ask the Holy Spirt to help you believe completely again.

Secondly, we must keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, who is also described as the word of God. (John. 1:1, 14). What has God’s word said about your situation? Are you ill? The word of God says in Isaiah. 53:5

“…by His stripes, we are healed.” .

Are you looking for ways to make your business profitable but lack the means to? The word of God says in Deut. 8:18,

“…for it is God that gives you power to get wealth.”

If there’s a need – God’s word has the answer. Find it and keep it in front of you.

Let’s learn from the story of Peter and Jesus during the storm. There was a terrible storm and the disciples where at sea and right in the middle of it. Jesus was walking on water to meet the disciples in the ship when Peter looked out and saw Him. Peter asked if he could come to him and Jesus told him to come…Peter did. So long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he kept walking on water towards Jesus (Matt. 14: 29). But, immediately Peter became aware again of the storm; the winds, the waves, the thunder, lightning and all he began to sink (Matt. 14:30).

You can only experience the supernatural if your eyes are focused on Jesus Christ (the word of God). If you focus on all that’s going on around you in the natural, doubt will weigh you down and like Peter you will sink. God’s word is the life jacket and anchor that keeps you afloat and unmovable in the midst of the storm. Find that word for your situation and hold on to it.

You may ask, but where and how do I find “the word of God” for my situation? The answer is the Bible – the written word of God. Spend time reading and researching what God has to say about your situation. It’s all in the Bible. Get a good study bible or concordance and read it! Don’t let it become a fashion accessory in your bag or statement piece in your home. Don’t let it become just another app on your phone; open, read it, think about, write it down and pray with it!!!

Hold on to the word you find; it is the word that will keep you when the storms of life coming knocking (and they will come to test your faith in God). Stay strong as you keep and continuously remind yourself of what God has promised you – one thing is certain ; the storms are sure to pass.

Lastly, break the chain of “routine prayer” (i.e. praying just because you are supposed to keep praying about the situation) by thanking God by faith instead for the things you have asked Him for. Instead of praying only continuously for God to give you a good man/woman to be married to, thank Him instead that He has given you that good man/woman to be married to. Step out in faith with God – even if your faith is as tiny as mustard seed (Matthew. 17:20). Like the boy’s father that we touched on earlier, ask God to help you overcome any iota of unbelief you may have. Be honest with Him; He has the best plans in mind for you.

Be like Hannah, who received the word of God through the Prophet, Eli. Eli declared a word over her situation (desire for children) (1 Sam. 1: 17) she believed, stopped crying and went about her life. As God had promised, she came back the following year with a son to give thanks to God.

Be like the centurion who received a word from Jesus about the health of his critically ill servant. He believed what Jesus said and went home to find that the servant had been healed already (Matthew. 8. 5-13)

If there’s one thing you take away from this post today, it is to have faith (believe) in God.
God says this over and over as we have seen in the bible that with Him all things are possible. Don’t get comfortable just asking without expecting. Ask and believe that you will receive because God’s word says so (Matt.7:7). If He has said it, He will do it. Trust that He is faithful and soon the world will rise up to celebrate, God’s answered prayer in your life, with you.

Have a faith-filled day.

– Joke.

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