Launching Out

Dan Lenington on July 9, 2013

boat

Since Bible college and seminary I had learned to be rationalistic about faith and prayer. I reasoned from the theory of prayer that of course God can cast a mountain into the sea, but since I have no reason to believe He wants to, then I can't really trust Him to do so. This was a comfortable place to be since nothing tangible was required from my Christianity. I could simply teach the theory and theology of prayer without having to produce any evidence of its validity. However, when you face the question, "Is Christianity real?" you must have something to show for your answer. Suddenly, I was tired of defending dry doctrines with no practical fruit. I've come to realize that we conservatives often reduce Christianity to a list of doctrines and rules. We have the form of godliness but are missing the power thereof. Doctrine and standards are vital as tools to avoid error and sin, but they can't become a religion unto themselves. How this relates to prayer is now clear to me. I was busy explaining why I had no prayers answered according to my theory of prayer while denying the actual promises and commands of Scripture. I want to see real spiritual fruit produced and real revival happen at our church and in our nation. So now we come to the practical expectation. As I have been asking God for these things, I've had days where I've felt very vulnerable. You see, I can't fall back on my old excuses of why prayer isn't productive. I've been challenged to examine my motives, my sin, and other hindrances to my prayers. I've been trying to examine all possibilities as to God's will concerning a certain spiritual request. I've even struggled with how much prayer is required and should I act upon the need myself. Would this simply show my impatience like Abraham, Sarah and Hagar? I have also struggled with faith. In a way, all of Christianity stands on God being a supernatural God. If He doesn't answer prayer then does He really exist? But then again we have a record of His answering prayer through all the ages of history. Even in modern times through men like George Muller. So clearly God exists to be able to miraculously answer prayer like that. But then if He exists and can answer prayer like that, why hasn't He answered my prayers? Maybe He doesn't really care about me and my requests. But I know thats not true since He says to cast all my care upon Him for He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). Then the thoughts enter my mind, is God really able to do this? People's hearts are involved and their wills too. Can God change them. Again, He makes it clear that even the heart of the king is in His hand and He can turn it whithersoever He will (Prov. 21:1). So I've felt vulnerable until He brought to mind Psalm 27:13, "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." I want to see God's goodness not in someone else's life in a book or even in Scripture. I want to see it in "the land of the living." I want to see it today in my life. Then I'll know God is real, that He loves me, and that He can still do the impossible. I believe He will. But verse 14 reminds me, "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." I remember now that His timing is perfect. He knows all the factors involved. Then Galatians 6:9 came to mind. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." The spiritual fruit I want to see produced doesn't grow overnight. It takes time but I must not let up in my prayers and desire to consistently walk in the Spirit and help others to do the same. So while my "paradigm has shifted" God's paradigm has not. He promises fruit and revival but it doesn't usually come quickly. However, now I know it is coming as long as I don't give up and quit.