• Eric Arnason

Praying With Certainty

Matthew 21:21-22

You can pray the desires of God’s heart with confidence, knowing that you will receive that for which you’ve asked. For example, it is His will that a person not be in continual debt and that a person has the ability to share and advance God’s kingdom. Along that line of thought, it is also God’s desire that we build His kingdom through proactive measures. If God gives you a vision and a purpose that comes from his heart, He intedns for you to carry it out. The only reason He wouldn’t want you to carry out His conscious purposes in your life is if He somehow superimposed His Sovereign right over our finite understanding in the decision-making process (Judges 7:2; Acts 16:7; Romans 8:26). But this is certainly the exception to the rule. Suffice it to say that in general, we can have confidence that we will receive that for which we pray in Jesus’ name. In fact, so certain are we of this fact, it is not unseemly or presumptuous for us to give thanks for what God will give us — even before it ever happens or materializes in our lives.

So why, then, do we sometimes lack this kind of faith in our lives? I believe there are two main reasons. The enemies of faith are fear and doubt; and they can go hand-in-hand. Some people struggle with faith because they are trusting in their own ability to believe. I call this “Putting faith in your faith”. This is an arduous road indeed; for one must eradicate each and every hindrance, objection, roadblock, and variable to assurance before reaching a conclusion with assurance and confidence. But genuine faith doesn’t work this way at all! Faith does not come about by accounting for every negative variable against a secure outcome. Faith is strengthened, not because of its amount, but because of its object. Abraham grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, being fully convinced that what God had promised, He was also able to perform. We see here both an implicit and an explicit part to Abraham’s faith. The explicit part is in something (a promise); the implicit part is in the character of God Himself. Faith is not the absence of doubt; it is the presence of a conviction in the promises, principles, purposes, and Person of God.

But what does faith look like where two or more principles are at play in the decision-making process? I think this is where a lot of Christians get hung up. Doubt can come from several sources or reasons. One of the big reasons people doubt is because they are deciding between two principles that are both in God’s will. When this happens, I like to settle these inner disputes with something like the old game “Rock, Paper, Scissors”. Now “Rock, Paper, Scissors” is a game of chance; so I’m not referring to that aspect of the game. But I am referring to the fact that one thing takes precedence over the other. And that’s how I think we should approach God’s will — in a pecking order of ultimate to penultimate. When you have to decide between two good choices, notice the order of importance.

1. The Person of God

2. The Purposes of God

3. The Promises of God

4. The Principles of God

God does what He does because He is who He is. That is why His purposes carry subordinate authority to His Person.

God promises certain things because it fulfills His ultimate will and purposes.

And finally, God’s principles are carried out within the framework of His promises.

We see people throughout history who have put their faith in the promises of God and then acted upon His principles as they waited on God to fulfill said promises.

I hope this will be an encouragement to you as you come before the throne of grace.


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