October 2016

The 3rd Way to Increase Your Confidence in Prayer

In this third and final blog post on the topic “3 Ways to Increase Your Confidence in Prayer” we shall be considering how to overcome a third major debilitating issue that undermines confidence in prayer, the mischaracterization of God. By mischaracterization I am referring to any view of God that distorts His gracious, loving, and benevolent nature.

In previous posts we saw how 1) Applying the Blood of Jesus is God’s provision in dealing with condemnation and how 2) Asking for a Spirit Given, Word Based Prayer is God’s answer for settling any confusion around praying according to the will of God. So, without further ado, here is how anyone seeking God in prayer, can do so confidently by identifying and rejecting misleading views of God, while embracing an accurate understanding of His divine nature.

3) FOCUS ON GOD’S “DONE” INSTEAD OF YOUR “DO” – Confidence in God is antithetical to having confidence in oneself. This is a distinguishing characteristic of Christianity which, unlike all other religions, bases the benevolent acceptance by God on what He has done for His followers versus what they must do for Him.

This done versus do religious dichotomy is rooted in two fundamentally different understandings and portrayals of God. The God to whom the Christian relates and approaches in prayer is a loving, gracious Father who has already done for His children what they cannot do for themselves. The forgiveness of sin, a righteous standing, and the promise of eternity are fully provided by God through the gift of His Son (John 3:16). This explains why the Apostle Paul writes “because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence” (Ephesians 3:12 NLT). In contrast, the god whom all other religions portray is a deity who demands religious deeds that a person must do in order to earn their love, acceptance, and favor.

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The 2nd Way to Increase Your Confidence in Prayer

Now let us focus on a second way to increase our confidence in prayer – by ridding ourselves of the confusion of not knowing how to pray. Uncertainty with regard to discovering and praying according to the will of God is a debilitating confidence robber. The epistle of James likens this condition to being plagued by doubt, tossed to and fro like a wave of the sea, and terms it “double-mindedness” (James 1:6, 8 NIV). He tells us that such a “person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7 NIV). Truth be told, nothing deflates our rising expectation for answered prayer like double-mindedness.

But wait, the opposite is also true. Nothing pumps up our prayer expectations like knowing the will of God. No one explains this better than the Apostle John. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV Emphasis Added). These verses lay the foundation upon which every effective prayer should be based – asking according to His will. The challenge, of course, in any given situation which requires prayer, is to discover exactly what the will of God is. This is obviously easier said than done.

What then should a person to do who desires to pray, but is battling double-mindedness and has no confidence as to what the will of God may be?

2. ASK FOR A SPIRIT GIVEN, WORD BASED PRAYER. It is to the Holy Spirit that we must look for confident direction in our praying and it is with a yielded will that we must come to the throne of grace in order to receive that direction.

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3 Ways to Increase Your Confidence in Prayer

Confidence. As with many things we approach in life, including the throne of grace, having confidence is often the deciding factor between success in getting what we desire or failure. In the verse above the writer of the book of Hebrews underscores the importance of praying with confidence. This truth is stated even more emphatically later in the book, where he substitutes the word “faith” for “confidence.” “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV Emphasis added).

Since confidence is such a critical requirement when it comes to prayer, what can a person do who lacks faith or confidence? The good news is when you don’t have it, God has provided ways to get it.

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