As I was reading in Hebrews today, specifically chapter 11, I noticed some important truths that can radically change the way that we pray. This whole chapter is filled with tons of examples of men and women who pleased the Lord through faith-driven actions. Let’s look specifically at verse 1, verse 2 and verse 6. (verses 3-5 speaks about faith in Jesus creating the universe and how Abel and Enoch pleased God through their faith.) I want you to walk with me through these verses. Be sure to take notice of all the detailed truths as we read together.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation… And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
– Hebrews 11:1-2,6
How can this passage change our prayer life? It doesn’t seem to even mention prayer in this passage. Or does it? Look in verse 6. Take a look at the phrases “whoever would draw near to God” and “those who seek him”. Is this not what prayer is? Yes, and rightly so. Take some time and read the passage above once more through the lens of how faith can effect your prayers.
Verse 1 tells us what faith is. Take a second to examine the faith in your life after reading these questions. When you praise the Lord in prayer, are you talking to him with ASSURANCE in your voice? I know that I can easily tell if someone says something unconfidently to me that they don’t truly believe. We all have instances where we truly don’t believe the words that we say to others. Let’s choose today to be a people of confidence and assurance. When you ask the Lord to provide for you or others, do you expect Him to provide with the CONVICTION in your heart that He will do it? We wouldn’t ask our close friends and family for something and not believe that they will come through for us. So why wouldn’t we take a stand of conviction that the Lord, who has proven Himself faithful to us time and time again, will hear answer us?
Verse 2 speaks about the benefits of faith. Do you desire COMMENDATION from the Lord by praying in faith? I am utterly convinced that God not only will be pleased by a faith-filled prayer life, but will bless us as we obediently seek him in prayer. I’m not talking necessarily a blessing that will fill your purse or wallet, but I am confident that you will take on more and more of the character of God. Just as Moses’ face shone brightly coming down the mountain after spending time with his maker, so shall we shine brighter in Christlikeness by His grace as we seek him diligently in faith.
Verse 6 warns of faithless prayers. Do you take seriously the consequences of a faithless prayer life? James 1:22 clearly communicates that knowing the right thing to do and choosing not to do it is sin. Faithlessness in God is not just hateful and arrogant towards God, it is sin. Faith in God and His promises shows the utmost confidence in Him. To be in right standing before our Creator means having and acting on faith in all that we do, including prayer. He desires to meet every need that we have for His glory and our good. I can personally brag on Him that he has always given me more and better than I have asked for.
I desire our church to truly be a house of prayer. Not in our own eyes, but in His, who see all the hearts of men. How exciting would it be to hear stories abundant in our fellowship of the faithfulness of God to our faith filled prayers? How wonderful it would be to see these testimonies spur others on to pray in faith! But this can only happen if you lead out by praying this way. Let’s be a people that pray to put our great God on display. He is a God that hears and answers. Let’s do this faithfully.