Can you believe it?

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3

Do you know why the people of Israel were forced to wander in the desert for 40 years after being delivered dramatically from slavery in Egypt, given the Ten Commandments, and led by the great prophet Moses?

My first thoughts: They disobeyed God by worshipping a golden calf, they grumbled a lot, and they even suggested they should go back to Egypt. But the writer of Hebrews lets us in on the true problem: They didn’t believe God!

After recounting their bad behavior, he sums things up by saying, “So we see that they were not able to enter because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19). After all God had done for them, they still didn’t trust him to fight the giants and give them the land. Unbelief kept an entire generation from receiving the blessings God had prepared for them.

Our trust in God is fundamental to his active involvement in our lives. In fact, Jesus said we needed to believe before our prayers would be answered. If we want to grow our ability to trust, maybe we start by believing some things God has already promised:

  • Your pain won’t last forever.  (Psalm 30:5)
  • Justice will come. (Psalm 103:6)
  • Your needs will be met. (Philippians 4:19)
  • God’s Word will show the way. (Psalm 119:105)
  • Relating to him will give you strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
  • You don’t have to be afraid. (Psalm 23:4)
  • God has a place and purpose for you. (Philippians 2:13)

Our earthly and eternal well-being depend on believing in the God of the Bible so much that we entrust our lives to him. None of us trusts him perfectly, but we can begin today to do it better!

“Man says, ‘Show me and I’ll trust you’. God says, “Trust me and I’ll show you.” – Anonymous

A Very Short Prayer

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“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16b

Lazarus was sick. His sisters were worried, maybe even frantic. They sent word to the One they knew could help – a simple message, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

Why is this such a great prayer?

First, it relied on Jesus’ relationship with their brother. They didn’t doubt Jesus’ deep love for Lazarus.

Second, they didn’t tell Him how to answer. They seemed to know He would do the right thing. They grew anxious waiting, but when Jesus did respond, His action in raising Lazarus from the dead was beyond their wildest imaginations.

Do you have a friend or family member you want to pray for today? I do.

What if we simply picture that person in our minds and say something like this: “Lord, this one whom You love is sick” (or depressed, angry, lonely, in need, hurting).

Then let’s pause for a few minutes in God’s presence reflecting on the pain of the person we are praying for and consciously trusting God’s extravagant love for him/her.

Allow God to assure you that He will answer in a way that will meet this person’s deepest, perhaps unexpressed, needs.

A prayer like this is effective for these reasons:

  • Empathy:  We enter into the suffering of the people we pray for by holding them in our minds as we call to Jesus on their behalf.
  • Belief: We exercise open-ended faith by entrusting them to Jesus’ care without telling Him how we think He should answer.
  • Expectancy: We enjoy time in God’s presence and then walk in anticipation as we wait for Him to respond.

“Make me so obedient to Your Spirit that my life may become a living prayer, and a witness to Your unfailing presence.” – Martin Israel