There are many reasons for unanswered prayer – most of which I do not know. Here I want to present what I DO know attracts God’s attention.
Those who know the kindness of God might be inclined to say “human need” is what first attracts God’s attention. I don’t want to hurt your confidence in God, but according to the Bible, human need is NOT that which first draws his attention. If need ALONE was the attractor, countries like Haiti would not be in that condition. What draws God’s attention is the presence of FAITH.
According to Jesus, it doesn’t take a lot of faith either – and he is in a position to know.
SO WHAT IS THIS FAITH?
Faith, according to the Bible, is TRUST. It is trust that leads us to act as if something is so. It is a dependent believing and confidence. It runs the gamut from very tentative faith, “Lord, if there is anything you can do, will you please help?” to insistent faith, “She kept crying after him, ‘Lord, have mercy on my daughter!” to a faith so bold it acts on behalf of Jesus himself, “In the name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk!”
It used to puzzle me as a kid why “believing in Jesus” got you to heaven. But I mistook the meaning of the word. I thought believing in Jesus was like believing in Abraham Lincoln – that he existed as a person of history. Only later did I discover that “believing in Jesus” meant TRUSTING him with my life, which in turn, led me to become his follower.
A steady diet of careful reading in the Bible will DEFINITELY help increase your faith. At the end of this post I have included many statements from Jesus about Faith. But let’s say right now there is an urgency you need God’s help with. What should you do?
Faith is a gift from God – but it is also a choice we make. Why not choose to trust Jesus?
Be honest with God. Express the level of your faith to him, whether big or small. Don’t bargain with him – don’t try to make a deal. Simply ask for his help and mercy. Continue to ask every day until you find relief, whether short time or long. Then, lean on the side of believing by closing each time you pray with this: “Thank you God that you have heard me AND that you have answered!”
FROM THE LIPS OF JESUS
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
“Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”
“Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.”
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.
“Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.”
“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
“Jesus did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
“According to your faith it shall be done to you.”
“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours.”
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
“When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on earth?”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
“Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
“Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.”
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”
“Stop doubting and believe.”
“Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”