A few days ago, I stopped by our neighborhood bank, where my wife and I have a written agreement (actually, a legal contract) to keep our savings account. Knowing exactly what I had on deposit there, I proceeded to withdraw a little cash needed for a project we were beginning at home.
Now, to get into the bank, I entered through a set of security doors which only allow one individual to enter at a time. Once inside, I was required to fill out a official withdrawal slip, indicating exactly how much I wanted to receive, which I then presented to the bank teller, along with my personal identification. She welcomed me with a friendly greeting, checked the computer to see if we had sufficient funds in our account to cover my withdrawal request, and then gladly counted-out the exact amount of dollar bills I requested, spreading them out on the counter before me. I picked up the bills, put them in my wallet, thanked her, and was on my way. It was a simple transaction, enabling me to pursue my intended purpose.
There were no "guessing games" about whether the withdrawal would be granted. There was no doubt, nor anxiety associated with my being successful in the desired transaction, because I already knew...
-precisely where to find the bank,
-how to gain access to it,
-exactly what I had on deposit there,
-how the bank would require the withdrawal request to be made.
-And, I knew that the bank would be faithful to fulfill it's contractual commitment to me regarding the funds in question.
The rest was UP TO ME. Would I do my part? Would I show up? Would I enter through the required doors. Would I make the proper request per our contract. Would I receive the bills counted-out before me, and take them with me? Yes. "Thank you, bank." It was a "done deal."
That, my friends, is HOW PRAYER should be "transacted," for the BELIEVING disciple today. It is praying with scripturally confident assurance. However, over the years, I have often witnessed such "confident faith" thoroughly squelched by respectable church leader, who do not understand just what our God HAS PROVIDED to us, and IS PROVIDING to us, in the death AND resurrection of Jesus. They are quick to call praying in such a way, "presumption." As a result, many in our midst RESIST such a confident way of praying, or at least, NEGLECT it. But, in truth, when such scriptural revelation is sincerely understood and embraced within the Body of Christ, our prayers take on a much deeper POWER and EFFECTIVENESS, through the resulting "confident faith."
For you see, in the same way I proceeded with my bank transaction, we know (or, should know) where to find our God. We know (or, should know) how individual entrance is to be made into God's Presence. It is through the precious blood of the Lamb, by genuine faith. We know (or, should know), through God's unchanging Word, exactly what we have "on deposit" in the kingdom of God, by grace, through faith. We know (or, should know) how to make confident requests in prayer, being led by the Holy Spirit, and responding to God's eternal scriptures and promises. And, we know (or, should know) how to lay-hold of (or receive) His promised provision and grace through our living, confident faith.
Could you SINCERELY say here, "Father, I believe what You have DONE through the death AND resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. And furthermore, Father, I believe and receive the grace You are providing through Jesus' death and resurrection, right NOW, for those whose trust in You."
Now, most of us know, through scripture, that it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to please God in prayer, WITHOUT SUCH GENUINE FAITH. And such God-pleasing faith approaches God absolutely BELIEVING, "that He IS" (that He's all that He says He is), "and, that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (to do all that He says He does in His Word)." (He 11:6)
What does such genuine, scriptural, "confident faith" really look like? The writer of the book of Hebrews (who is, ultimately, the Holy Spirit) gives us an perfect example of such faith/obedience (that's what I like to call it...faith that results in obedience):
"BY FAITH Abraham OBEYED when he was called to go out to the place which he would RECEIVE as an INHERITANCE" (He 11:8).
Do we, just like Abraham, obey...do we really operate in...do we pray, with such "confident faith?" (Honestly?) Such real faith is, just like Abraham's, the obedience that is BIRTHED in faith, and THAT faith is birthed in God's promise! In other words, the promise gives birth to faith, which gives birth to obedience.
This is so important for us to know, understand, and do! Such "confident faith"...such "effective faith," like Abraham's faith, resides in a person who's faith in God's word leads them to RECEIVE, AND OPERATE IN their God-given inheritance, in Christ. Like the person going to the bank (as I wrote at the beginning), we also know, as Christians, that we are each called to RECEIVE A PROMISED INHERITANCE from God (those things which He HAS GIVEN to us, and the things He IS now GIVING to us, in Christ), not only in theory, but, also, in our life experience. What is your spiritual inheritance? Do you know for sure?
To be continued...