DEALING WITH FRUSTRATIONS IN PRAYER AND FAITH

Updated: Jan 29



Faith is one of the most preached, and most discussed topics in Christianity. Many teach faith as strong belief in God, to perform great signs and wonders. Some even teach faith as the means to access materialistic things, such as money, houses, cars and basic desires and needs. As a result many have prayed to God for things, in the strength of their belief and expecting Him to deliver. In some cases prayers are answered, however in many cases some prayers are not. It is at this point we become frustrated and wonder why the Lord is not answering us. The next step is to go to someone we consider as spiritual like our Pastor and explain the concerns we have in our prayer life. Usually they give us the faithful saying

"You just didn't have enough faith"


This the frustrating part. We then examine our hearts and often we say to ourselves "but... I believed with all my heart when I prayed" however, the answer we received pointed to a lack of faith so it must have been something wrong with us. Next, we find ourselves searching for traces of doubt in our heart, but it seems the more we search is the more we doubt, destroying the faith we had in the beginning. This all brings us to the point that we believe that God will never do a thing for us. We look down on ourselves and believe we are now double minded.


Jam 1:5-8

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.

7 For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways

Oh the condemnation this scripture brings. This can be very stressful. Many wonder why it seems God is ignoring them. Many have even prayed for the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit for the benefit of others, yet there is no answer from God. We are then left to believe that God is a respecter of persons.

How does one then overcome their frustrations in prayer and faith. Well everything that pertains to the Christian walk can be found in the scriptures. So let us turn to them for answers.

One of the most important lessons we can learn about God first of all is this, GOD IS A SIMPLE GOD. He is so simple that He is a mystery to many.

Let us read the scriptures from the God's perspective and not ours.

Rom 3:20-22

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:for there is no difference

This scripture is very interesting, look at what it says. It speaks to the fact that God has given the faith of Jesus Christ to them that believe. It therefore means that there is a faith that we receive because we believe.

Consider this scripture

Rom 12:3

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith


This scripture is profound. God has given us faith, in fact, He has given us a measure of faith. Many read this scripture and often stumble at it. If God expects us to have faith and then he gives us a degree of belief, how does he expect us to work the same works of Christ. The answer is this


THERE IS A FAITH THAT EXISTS OUTSIDE OF BELIEF. THERE ARE TWO OPERATIONS OF FAITH

If one of the operations of faith is belief, what then is the other? Once again let us let the scriptures do the talking.

WHAT IS FAITH?

Heb 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

-

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for....

Faith is the substance of things we hope for. The word substance here refers to essence. Faith is the essential part of things we hope for. Many read this and determine what their hope is. They say I hope for a car, money and/or even miracles and so I need faith for it. However this is a false perspective, it is the scripture that defines what we hope for and not us.


Rom 8:24

For we are saved by hope:but hope that is seen is not hope:for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.


Hope that is seen is not hope. This simply means that the Sons of God do not hope for things they can see with the natural eye. Paul is saying if you can see it, there is a natural means to attain it, therefore hope is not needed for it. Whether it be money, cars, house, or material things there is a way on earth to attain it. Hope is for that which cannot be attained by natural means.


Col 1:25

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.


The Sons of God hope for glory. To one day receive their glorified bodies and everlasting life. These scriptures confirm that.


John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life

2 Cor 5:1-4

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:

3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened:not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life

These are our hopes: to receive that spiritual body and to receive everlasting life. This is what our inner man groans for.

Rom 5:3-5

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us

Hope is a blessed expectation to receive the promises of God.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for....

Now faith is the essential part of what we need to receive the promises of God

...the evidence of things not seen.


Here the scripture defines faith as evidence. Here we know that scripture does not refer to belief. When we believe for the manifestation of a thing, we usually use the manifestation as the evidence that we believed. However, here it is the faith that is the evidence and not the manifestation. Faith therefore is the evidence of things we have not seen. This means that this faith we are talking about is the proof of things we have never seen.

The things we have not seen are the things we hope for.

Faith is ...the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is ...the proof of the promises of God.

Now faith is the essential part of what we need to receive the promises of God, and it is the proof that they are sure.

This scripture below defines what faith is

Gal 3:21-26

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid:for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus

Here the scripture above uses faith and Christ synonymously. In fact verse 22 tells us exactly what faith is. Faith is Jesus Christ.

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.


Look at my alterations to the scripture below that we may understand


23 But before Christ came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the [Christian] faith (or life of Christ) which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by Christ.

25 But after that Christ is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by Christ in Christ Jesus (you are in the Christ and Christ is in you)

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female:for ye are all one in Christ Jesus

Faith is Jesus Christ, who is the Holy Ghost.

The word faith is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament and both prophesied of Christ.

Deut 32:19-21

19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.

20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.

21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation

God prophesied in the Old Testament speaking of the fact that the Children of Israel had no faith inside of them. They could not perform the works of the law because of the sin in them, but when Christ is in the flesh it empowers us to do righteousness (see Rom 7 & 8). He then made it known unto them that he would move unto the Gentiles because of their disobedience and this Faith would be given to them. This is confirmed in Romans.

Rom 3:19-22

19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:for there is no difference

Faith has been given to the Gentiles. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, therefore when the Gentiles received Faith (Jesus) they fulfilled the law and the prophets by nature. Therefore both the law and the prophets see themselves in the Gentiles.

I pray you are being enlightened. Consider the other Old Testament scripture.

Ha 2:4

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith


Habakkuk lets us know whose faith the just shall live by - Jesus'.


Therefore in summarizing

Heb 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Now faith is the essential part of what we need to receive the promises of God, and it is the proof of that they are sure.


Without the Holy Ghost we cannot receive our spiritual bodies and we cannot receive eternal life. It is the essential part of those things that we hope for. It is how we will attain them in the first place. Also, the Holy Ghost within us lets us know they are sure. In fact, the reception of the Holy Ghost is the evidence that all the promises of the gospel are true. He is a token given unto us that we may know that the Word is real and true!


Therefore we see two operations of faith

Faith in the scripture can simply be belief but other times Faith is the Holy Ghost.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FAITH

When we set the perspective of Faith we begin to see things a little differently. The scripture says that we have received the Faith of Jesus Christ. It therefore means He is within us, to do the will of the Father.

Consider this scripture

John 14:12-14

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it

Here is the famous greater works scripture. It says if we believe the same works he did we will do. However, Jesus lets us know the perspective He is coming from. He says because He goes unto the Father, (he dies and ascends) we will be able to receive the Holy Ghost after. When we receive the Holy Ghost, anything we ask in His name He will do. It is very important to see the perspective, it is not we who do it, but Christ who is within us does it through our bodies.

2 Cor 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us

Therefore it is Christ who is all powerful and is able to do all things. It is not us who will do the work; it is Christ within us. Our job is to simply bring His body where it needs to be, and use His mouth to say what He wants to say. When we speak to the mountain and tell it to move, it is then the Christ within us that will move it.


Why am I saying all of this?

I want to remind you of the frustrating scenario we portrayed earlier. If you notice in that scenario the focus was on a person trying to do the works of God. We were told that it is belief that will make God move, however when we examine it, who will truly be glorified, will it be God or us?

We would more than likely be glorified because the work is measured by our belief. So because we believed so much God moved, and men will look at us and be astounded at our belief, rather than the power of God.

I hope you are seeing this.

True Faith ensures Jesus gets all the glory, its not about how much we believe.

Rom 3:3

For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect

God ensures He gets all the glory. Anything we do that will take His glory he will not support it. We must ensure that in all our prayers it is for the sole reason of glorifying God. This is what the scripture defines as lowliness. We should never take the glory of God for ourselves, but we must be meek and lowly and give Him the glory of all things. It is then and only then that God will work through us.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BELIEF

After all this one may ask, what then is the significance of belief? Well belief is simply saying God you are not a liar. However what is the proof that we believe? We do not believe until we do. If God has said a thing, how can we say we believe Him if we do not do what he instructs us to.

BELIEF - TO COMMIT TO ONE'S TRUST

To believe to God is to obey.

Unbelief is a sin, and if we have sin in our lives God will not move.

1 Jn 1:5-6

5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth

When we believe, God is loosed within us to do His works through us.

This is why the scripture speaks of the faith of the mustard seed.

Luke 17:5-6

5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.


Jesus is not speaking of belief here. Jesus responded here to their request that their faith be increased. Jesus then is letting them know that Faith is not something to be increased, but if you had faith any at all, even the smallest measure of it, you could work miracles. Jesus is saying that you need me in you to do the works of righteousness (such as forgiving 7x70) and miracles.

There are no levels of belief. There is no such thing as not believing enough. It is either we believe God or not. Therefore God says to us believe, then he will perform his power, not just of miracles but of righteousness

Rom 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek

When we believe the gospel the power of God is loosed within and through us. However the power is not of our belief, or because we believe, it is because it was the will of God that power be manifested.

DEALING WITH FRUSTATIONS IN PRAYER AND IN FAITH

Ok after all that we can finally get to the meat of the matter - Our frustrations in prayer and faith.

We believe only when we obey, it is then when we obey that the Faith of God will be manifest. To help me explain this part lets go to the Word

Jn 11:1- 6; 11-15

1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was

...

11 These things said he:and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death:but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him


Now let us consider this situation. Jesus said in earlier verses that His sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God; he then abode two days; then he says that Lazarus is dead. All this seems contradictory when you look at it prima facie. However it shows the fellowship that Jesus had with His Father.


God had told Jesus that Lazarus was sick and would die as a result, however that he should wait a few days before going to him and raising him from the dead.

If we continue reading the chapter we will notice that Jesus knew all along what He would do, He however wanted to see if those around him believed He could.

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh:for he hath been dead four days.

40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

42 And I knew that thou hearest me always:but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes:and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go

What a glorious manifestation of the power of God!

Jesus wept and groaned because of the unbelief around Him. However this manifests that Jesus knew the will of God from before. God always heard Him and He heard the prayers of Jesus' heart 4 days before and also His groaning on that day. He heard the will of God in His heart, then voiced it aloud that the people might have believed.

Therefore the mystery of Faith is revealed.

Doing the works of God has nothing to do with how much you believe. It rather is about knowing the will of God and obeying it.

Rom 5:10

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life

We can only be saved by His life. When we obey his word he lives through our bodies.

I just want to deal with some mindsets that cause us to become frustrated in prayer. We often, when in prayer, decide what we would like God to do and ask him to do it for us

THIS IS A WRONG PERSPECTIVE

With this perspective you will rarely get the response of the Father.

We can only be saved by His life. There is a life that Jesus desires to live through us. He is the one that should make all the decisions not us. He does not work for us; we work for Him. Our prayers should always be from the perspective - God what do you want to do? I am here to do your will, so what is it?

When He responds it is for us to obey His will. When we obey His will HE SHALL PERFORM WHATEVER HE SAYS.

1 Jn 5:14-15

14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him

We must pray according to His will. All things are for his glory. If we do not pray according to his will then someone else receives the glory. We need to examine our thoughts when we pray: Why do we want God to do a thing?

- Is it for a selfish reason

- Do we want to prove to others and ourselves how much we believe

- Are we just frustrated and tired with the particular situation

- Do we want to forcefully prove to others that God is true

If we find ourselves praying in the dispositions above, God will rarely answer our prayers, and if He does its merely because of His sovereignty and not because we are sons. God will perform that which he desires, if we pray in the dispositions above we will pray amiss because our motives are wrong.

James 4:3

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts


Lust is anything we desire that is outside of the will of God. There are certain things we can lust after. If it is not God's will or timing for a thing and we desire it now and not later. then no matter what it is we pray for it is lust. I can pray for a financial situation in my life to change, however if it is not the will of God to change it, I am praying amiss and hence will be left in the same situation and frustrated.

PATIENCE

There are also some situations that requires faithfulness in prayer and patience. It is possible for us to know the will of God and pray according to it and He not respond immediately. However His timing is a part of His will, which we must honour also.

There are also times we pray for spiritual things for ourselves. We must also remember that God is the one that gives gifts for His purpose and plan. It may be in His will to give a particular gift, however we may not be spiritually ready for it. It can also be that He wants us to have more experience before we receive it. One thing we know for sure, GOD IS A MASTERBUILDER and He knows just how to build us in ministry. He knows those things that we need.

LONGSUFFERING


There are sometimes when we pray against suffering, when it may be the will of God that we suffer that particular situation.

2Ti 2:12

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:if we deny him, he also will deny us:

Suffering reveals Christ on the earth. It is when we selflessly obey Christ that the world really sees that He is alive. Therefore there are some sufferings that God has designed for our lives. We must be careful not to fight against the suffering God has appointed for us, because it is the glory that God has given to us. He has given us an opportunity to glorify Him, so embrace it.

SIN

Sin is a big reason why prayers are not answered. If we are not holy God does not obligate Himself to answer our prayers. He is light and in Him is no darkness. If we walk in darkness and say we have fellowship with Him we are liars. If we walk in darkness and say we have no sin we lie and do not the truth. In order to have fellowship with God we must be holy.

Jam 5:16

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James implores us to get it right with the Lord. Repent and then will our prayers be heard, because we are righteous.

LUST FOR POWER

We might be so obsessed with seeing the works of God, that we become more in love with power than we are with God. His will then becomes insignificant to us, and we lose our wisdom. We must examine why we desire to see the works of God, it may just be for personal reasons

UNBELIEF

When we pray according to the will of God we ought to believe that He will answer and He will.

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In closing, I just want to give you an example of the will of God. My leader, mentor and apostle Mary Banks, was one day operating in the gift of healing. Everyone she would lay her hands upon would get healed. However, as she was about to lay her hands upon a particular person the Lord said to her "DON'T". He said "tell ____ that I will only heal him if he forgives his mother". It was the will of God to heal, however a condition was upon it. That's why we ought to ensure that we are following God's leading and not our own desires.

Rom 8:14

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.


We know and obey the will of God, and hence we are manifest the Sons of God.

Therefore when you are ready to move a mountain, find out God's will and timing through prayer. If it is His will and timing, speak the word in faith and simply step back.

- His Apostle

Kareem Flowers


Written on: December 2015