Not Seeing, Believing and Still Praying
James 5:16b The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Hebrews 11:13a These [Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jacob, etc.] all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them….
In John 20 (above), Jesus was speaking to Thomas about the believers that would follow Him, those that wouldn’t get the opportunity to put their hands into Jesus’ side. They would believe because of the power of the gospel itself, shared by Jesus’ disciples down through the ages.
Every Christian since the time of Christ is in that camp; we have believed though we have not seen Him directly. But the second half of that scripture offers a blessing and challenge in every area of faith: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
This applies to so many aspects of our Christian walk, but it perhaps applies most greatly to prayer. It doesn’t take long for us to discover that answers to prayers don’t come quickly, or in the form we anticipate. It may take a little longer, but eventually we realize that some of the things in our hearts are a part of something much larger than ourselves, and that our prayers are being joined to those of others—even others around the world—to bring about something of greater scope than we could have realized at the start. Then there are those things stirring in us that we know won’t get answered in our lifetimes, and we feel a little closer to Abraham, Isaiah, Ezekiel and some of the other prophets in the process.
Yet there comes that moment when we decide whether we believe what Jesus says in John 20:29, or not. We either believe that God hears our prayers, and that our fervent prayers “avail much.” Or we quietly decide that since we aren’t seeing what we’d hoped to see in response to our prayers, that it’s really not worth the time or effort.
Few serious believers would want to admit to not believing Jesus on this issue. But our actions tell the real story. What is the real role of prayer in our lives? Do we have an active personal prayer life? Can we list answers to prayer? Could you share with a friend what you are bringing before the Lord regularly, the things that you are believing God to answer? Do you meet regularly with others in prayer, knowing that there is a special power in corporate prayer that you are excited to experience?
We are not going to see every answer to our prayers. The faithful ones described in Hebrews 11 didn’t; neither will we. But we are in good—nay, great—company here. The question is, will we continue to pray, believing? According to Jesus, there is a blessing there, for us and for those for whom we pray.
Prayer: Lord, stir my heart to greater faith on the issue of prayer. Help me see with Your eyes the great power released in prayer. Show me where the enemy has sown doubt in my heart, that I may repent and believe.