The Key to Answered Prayers – Live by Faith Part 3

I once heard a man say that he probably went 10 years without a single prayer being answered.  I know some of us have felt like that.  It’s not that we necessarily blame God or get mad at Him, we just don’t feel like it’s working.  We don’t feel that things are going the way they should.  We wonder if God is hearing us, and so we start looking for answers in the wrong places, or we stop focusing on prayer.  Prayer should be a virtually constant part of our existence.  God hears 100% of our prayers, and we should see the manifested answers to all of them. 

There are times when we are praying for something that wouldn’t be good (marrying a particular person, for example).  If that’s the case, then we should be able to hear God tell us.  But let’s not get into that today.  Today let’s focus on prayers that are in line with God’s Biblical promises.  When you are praying for something God has promised, the answer is, always and already, “yes.”  We should see all of God’s promises in our lives, and prayer is how we should see them begin to manifest.  Why don’t we?  Why aren’t we all living in the physical, financial, familial, and other blessings that God’s Word promises God’s people.

There is an ingredient to prayer that has been overlooked.  And for those of you who will say that you didn’t overlook it, many of us have misunderstood it.  The missing ingredient is faith, Biblical faith.  Maybe you won’t ever get to 100% answered prayer, and the man in my first story wasn’t claiming he had.  But he had seen a dramatic increase in answered prayer when he learned about faith, and so will you. 

I believe what the Bible says.  I don’t believe what other people think it says.  I sure don’t believe what people think it says based on their personal experience.  That’s a real problem, by the way.  The Bible says what it says, and God watches over His Word to make it good (Jeremiah 1:12).  God doesn’t lie, what He says He does, what He speaks comes to pass (Numbers 23:19).   If God has promised you something, either directly to you or in the Bible, God wants it to be a part of your life.  This is true for every one of God’s promises, natural, spiritual, or otherwise.

Look at these statements from Jesus.  “Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt . .  you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."” (Matthew 21:21-22 NIV)  “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:23-24 NIV)

We should be able to ask God for anything and receive it.  We should be able to command any mountain to move and see it move.  But we must believe.  We must have faith, true, Biblical faith.

You must understand that the English words for “faith” and “belief” are different from the Greek words from the Bible.  The Greek word for “faith” is “pistis.”  The Greek word for “believing” is “pisteuo,” which means to have pistis.  The words are completely related, and pistis is the root word for pisteuo.   Therefore, to have faith and to believe like Jesus meant, we must understand pistis.  The foundation of pistis is “peitho” which is the verb “to convince.”  If you have pistis, you are convinced, you have conviction, assurance.  If you believe, you have been convinced.  You know that it’s done.

When you are in true Biblical faith, you are absolutely convinced in the truth of what God has said, and you are eagerly awaiting it to show up in the natural. 

I know I have discussed these points before.  I highly encourage you to read or listen to my blogposts/podcasts Live by Faith Parts 1 and 2.  I go into all of this in great detail.  Recently I studied Romans chapter 4 again, and I was encouraged to further teach on this subject.   My friends, we are to live by faith.  That doesn’t just mean obtain eternal life through our faith in Jesus (that’s part of it).  But it also means that we are to use our God-given faith to dominate life for the Kingdom of God.  We can succeed, and see God’s promises, in every area of our lives, if we will live by faith. 

Romans chapter 4 gives us some very important points in understanding Biblical faith and getting your prayers answered.  Let's first remember that in Genesis chapter 15 God told Abraham (who was old and childless) that his descendants would be innumerable as the stars in the sky.  Maybe that doesn’t mean much to you, but if you have seen the stars in a truly remote location, perhaps in the desert, or in Africa where I saw them, you will know what this really looked like.  There are thousands upon thousands of stars out there, we just can’t see most of them because of light pollution.  Abraham was looking at a sky filled with stars as many of us have never seen. 

So God told Abraham that he would have many descendants, before he even had one child.  Let’s start with that.  What promises do you have from God?  Maybe you have direct promises from God to you, like for your children, your business, or your health.  Even if not, you have many, many promises that are yours in the Bible.  If you are in Christ, they are all yours.  They are all your inheritance, and by faith, you can see them manifest in your life.  Abraham had a promise of children, and you have promises from God as well.

What did Abraham do?  Abraham believed.  According to Romans 4:3 – Abraham was convinced, Abraham pisteuo, Abraham had pistis.  What else does it say about Abraham?  “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping--believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, "That's how many descendants you will have!"” (Romans 4:18 NLT)

Abraham had no reason to have faith based on physical circumstances.  He was 100 years old.  His wife’s body was past childbearing.  They had never had a child, so there must have been some medical issue.  There was no reason in the physical realm for Abraham to believe.  That is a key ingredient.  You don’t feel healed, you don’t feel prospered, the relationship doesn’t look restored.  But you have a promise from God.

That is all Abraham had, and he believed.  He also believed in hope.  The Biblical word for hope means anticipation, expectation, or confidence.  It’s not “want,” like we use “hope” in English.  Abraham believed in confidence.  He anticipated the manifestation of God’s promise.  He eagerly expected it. 

Let's see another passage and note how powerful this chapter is on the subject of faith.  “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”  (Romans 4:19-21 KJV)

Abraham had strong faith.  He didn’t consider the physical circumstances.  He didn’t stagger at God’s promise.  The Greek word for "stagger" in that passage is the same as the Greek word for "doubt" in the passage from Matthew 21, above.  Abraham didn't doubt.  He didn't draw back.  He didn't allow his mind to waiver.  He believed in God’s promise.  He was fully persuaded that God could do what He promised. 

Abraham believed God’s promise regardless of all the natural evidence to the contrary.  Abraham was convinced that God’s promise was done, that Abraham was going to become the father of many nations, and he stayed convinced and expecting until his son was born. 

We must take an identical stance towards the Word of God.  Start with God’s written promises to you.  Pray them out loud over yourself.  Here is an example.  “God, Your Word says in Isaiah 54:13 that You will teach my children and my children will have great peace.  I receive that promise right now because of my position as Your child through my faith in Jesus Christ.  I have faith in this promise starting today.  Maybe I never had true Biblical faith in this promise before, but starting today I have it.  I declare in Jesus’ Name, according to Your Word, that You teach my children, and great is their peace.  Now I give You complete permission to do anything You want to bring Your Word to pass, and please help me to know anything You want me to do to cooperate with Your promises.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

That’s how you do it, and that’s how it can work for all of God’s promises, including His healing promises and financial promises.  So what happens when a year goes by and your kid is still having problems that you know aren’t God’s peace.  That doesn’t mean God said no.  You have to stay in faith.  You have to continue believing in hope, continue being convinced that your children have great peace, even when there is nothing in the natural to confirm it.  That is what Abraham did.  He kept believing he would see God's promises manifest, even when there was nothing in the physical to even give him hope.  He believed based on God's Word.  He had hope based on his trust in God.  First we believe, then we see.  That’s how it works.

The natural order is the opposite.  We believe what we see.  But to move in the supernatural, to start living according to Kingdom principles, we must first believe based on God’s Word, then we see.  You believe, then you see.  You walk by faith, not by sight.  If you can get this, if you can begin operating this way, nothing can stop you.  Faith is the way that we are empowered by God to move mountains.  “Mountain (of sickness, of debt, of whatever stands in your way), in the Name of Jesus I command you to be removed from my life and thrown into the sea.”  Be convinced that it is done, believe it is done, have faith it is done.  It will move.

The Bible does say that there are things that can hinder our prayers.  Unbelief (the Greek word “apistia” or “absence of faith”) is the big one.  That’s most commonly when we have prayed but don’t see the natural results, so we don’t stay convinced that it’s done.  We lose our faith.  Perhaps we stagger at God’s promise, or we doubt.  Those are all related, and those are showing that we don’t have faith. 

At another time we will talk about Hebrews and entering God’s rest.  In short, when you pray, study God’s Word on the particular promise.  Worship God.  Thank God for His promise.  Focus your mind on your faith.  Those will drive out the unbelief and help you remain convinced.  When you know it’s done, you can feel it, you are entering the rest.  Keep speaking God's Word of the promise.  Keep worshipping.  You start to feel the anxiety leave, the lack of assurance leave.  Then you start to feel assurance and confidence build.  This is a spiritual thing.  You are letting the Holy Spirit work with your spirit to build your faith.  You feel peace and joy, knowing it's done.  People describe it as a sense of joy coming over you after you have spent time in prayer.  You have entered God's rest.  You know that manifestation is on the way.

There can be spiritual hindrances.  Unforgiveness and strife can also operate against us.  If you aren’t seeing the manifestation, spend time with God.  He will reveal to you what you need to do.  Maybe you need to focus on your building your faith or driving out unbelief.  Maybe you need to pray in the spirit (pray in your prayer language) for a while because it’s a spiritual issue.  Whatever it is, God will help you see it. 

We are to live by faith.  Please study these verses.  Let me know if you want to talk more.  Read books by Kenneth E. Hagin on faith.  They are easy reads and you can find them on Amazon.  They will mark your life forever, as they did mine.  When I first turned to the Lord my stepmother started giving me his books.  What a mark they made on my life!  Please read them!

God has given us faith so that we can live in all of His promises and so that we can expand His Kingdom.  Faith is the key to answered prayers.  If we will learn to pray in faith and live by faith, well, just remember the words of Jesus.  “Everything is possible for one who has faith” (Mark 9:23, TCNT).  

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