Life can be rough. We’ve all had bad days or gone through hard times. Though they seemed horrible at the moment, we survived and got through them. A flashback to our teenage years provides numerous examples.
But there are other times when we’re faced with struggles that can’t simply be shrugged off or let go, because they hurt and bring deep, unrelenting ache. A question wells up in us we hate to ask.
I found myself asking that this week, though my “trouble” was seemingly small compared to others that friends and loved-ones have faced during the same time frame.
Today, as I was teaching our youth at church, the Lord whispered in my own ear an answer. We are talking about having assurance in our spiritual life, and this week we talked more about the assurance that our prayers are answered.
Why do we need assurance? Because Satan (the Evil One, as I prefer to call him) loves to bring doubt into the life of the Christ-follower. For when we doubt, we stop praying, and when we stop praying, we stop listening, and when we stop listening, God stops speaking and our hearts grow cold. Bing! Two points for the Evil One, as another one bites the dust!
Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have, because we have at our disposal the most powerful name in Heaven and Earth–Jesus. Before he gave himself on the cross and rose from the grave, people didn’t pray in his name. Jesus told his disciples this, just before he went to face the crucifixion (John 16:24):
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
As I shared with my small group about the importance of that assurance, I pulled out my current prayer journal. I told them that this is what you can show to Satan when he makes you doubt. I started keeping a prayer journal as a young girl. I have tons of them filled with prayers and dates and answers–a lawyer’s treasure-trove of evidence to God’s faithfulness.
With this tucked in my mind, I listened with awe at the pastor’s words at the end of today’s service. Our church had faced a challenge this week, and through it he, like me had asked, “why, Lord?,” but then he shared something that touched my heart. Just two weeks prior, he had been asking the Lord to show him people who would stand with him on behalf of our church. He was struggling to see the way ahead, and needed to know there were people ready to stand up to continue the vision and purpose that was unique for our church.
When we faced busted pipes, those people were revealed to him. He didn’t recognize it right away, but by the end of the week, after the second pipe had busted, he realized that God was answering that earlier prayer, and his doubt vanished. His trust was restored.
To hear him voice his encouragement, encouraged me and reminded me that the God who had been faithful to me throughout each and every one of my prayer journals, would continue to show himself faithful till the last one was full.
Are you going through a soul-searching, heart-breaking, faith crisis? Remember that prayer in Jesus’ name is powerful and not wasted. He will answer, the ache will be lifted, and the joy be made complete.
Grace and Peace