Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours – Mark 11:24
This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’. – Jeremiah 6:16
Some of you may have read the story recently, of a little aboriginal boy who drowned. Laid out on the floor, it was another group of young children who suggested they ask Jesus to heal him, and sure enough, Jesus did. The young boy, to all intents dead, rose spluttering from the ground completely healed. Childlike faith.
So much for those who insist, ‘God doesn’t do anything like that anymore, that was only for the New Testament times.’ Surely a bigger question is, why don’t we see more of it today in our little community (wherever that may be)? Why don’t we see dozens of converts, or people pulled up from wheel chairs in the middle of busy shopping malls? I am determined to find the answer, because I believe that God truly does want to display his power to the world, in my corner.
I’m reading George Mueller’s autobiography at the moment, and Glorious George provides some big clues. He of course, lived with the supernatural every day of his life; he saw God as his rich, benevolent Father only too willing to lavish his goodness and riches on anyone who took him at his word. Mueller was frequently given things to pray for by the Spirit, and spent the next few weeks, months or even years praying them into being. He lived by the verse in Mark above and never doubted God would answer his prayers. Here’s an example.
George came down the stairs of his orphanage, where 300 5-6 year olds were seated for breakfast. The only problem was, there was no food in the house at all. So George gathered all of his beloved orphans around him and told them, ‘how wonderful it is that we get to see what God our Father is going to do for us today, how he is going to provide for our every need.’ He then prayed a simple prayer to his heavenly Father in front of the children. No sooner had he finished than a knock at the door announced the baker, who told everyone the Lord had awoken him at 3am that morning and told him to bake enough bread to feed 300 orphans. A moment later, the milkman arrived, announcing his cart had broken down outside and the only way he could lift up back up, was to remove all the milk from it – would they help him unload it, and they could have it?
I could go on, in fact I might. At the end of his life, George was asked if there was anybody he had prayed for, who hadn’t yet come to Christ. His response was nobody, and then he hesitated and replied there was one young man he was still praying for, but he fully expected to see him repent. At Mueller’s funeral, the young man in question knelt at his graveside and gave his life to Christ. As you can imagine, the stories are endless.
Which of course, all begs the question, if then, why not now? Why don’t we experience God’s favour each and every day of our lives like George Mueller did – was he just a one-off?
The short answer is, as Jesus points out, we don’t believe in God as he did. Of this I am convinced; my faith in my God is not the same as George’s faith. That is correct, in spite of the theological remonstrations you will have, it is based on me. Not that I will ever do one miracle alone, but will I believe that God will? Do I believe he wants to? Of that there is no doubt in my mind.
We could of course, talk of prayer, but that is obvious and an outworking of his faith. He prayed for hours even days, because of his faith in Christ.
So then, let me leave us all with something. On p74 of his autobiography, Glorious George tells us that his main reason – that’s right, his main reason for founding his orphanages that eventually looked after over 10,000 children was to show everyone that God is faithful and answers our prayer. He can be trusted.
Like the boy’s father on his knees before the Christ, we say, “yes Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief.”