How to Build Faith to Pray: Stories We’ve Heard

 

build faith. stories we've heard

We want to focus on how we can build faith today. One thing I do to build up my trust in God is to remember and reflect on stories of what he has done.

For most of us, praying to God can be hard if we don’t have that trust part of faith. If we haven’t fully trusted that God will do what he says he will do. If we haven’t fully trusted that God will answer when we come to him.

It’s like we are on this journey of finding power in prayer. And on this journey, we continue to build up our faith, our belief that God can do anything. As we are walking along, we might at some point begin to believe that he loves people… all people. Then we might eventually believe that he loves and listens to us… that all people includes me. Some of us can come to believe that God can do miracles today – whether that means healing hearts or healing bodies.

I’ve come to understand, and correct me if I’m wrong, that every journey happens uniquely. Our faith is built in a different order and timing. I don’t want to sound too individualistic in this.  But I believe that sometimes God loves this. Because our individual walks with God are indeed unique. And I know that I know that I know that he loves his individual relationship with each person on this earth.

He walks beside us, journeying alongside us as he did with the disciples in the gospels. He is continually developing and growing and nurturing our faith in Him and in His faithfulness to always be with us.

But we can go for years sometimes without allowing God to nurture and develop our faith. This could be because of past hurts or challenges. You might have felt really hurt and abandoned by someone. You might have felt really hurt and abandoned by God. This would have damaged your trust in God.

You may have gotten caught up in the busy-ness of life. Or in the relationships that have taken the place of God in your life – other people that you talk to about your hurts and your wants.

Whatever part of your journey that you are on, let’s be intentional today. Let’s allow our faith journey to move forward.

So how can we, with God alongside us, build our faith… so that we can begin to see “mountains” move in and around us?

Remember the Stories

Start with this question: How can I know that prayer is powerful?

By answering this, you are developing your trust… because you know that God can do x and y.

There are many ways of answering this question, but let me suggest today that you 1) Remember other people’s stories, 2) Remember stories from the Bible, and 3) Remember stories from your own life. We’ll talk about the third one next time.

 

Remember other people’s stories

Write a list of stories in your journal. Stories you remember from other people. Stories where prayer was answered.

If that skeptic voice pops up in your head – evaluate it. Ask God that if it’s true, to give you faith to believe. Make a choice. Will you choose to believe that God can do such things.

Concerning anxiety and/or depression, I can think of several stories through the years where God has met with an individual crying out to him on a bad night. Sometimes through the Psalms. Sometimes through people. Sometimes through hope given in other parts of the Bible. For them, this was a miracle… because it’s hard to get through a bad night. There are a couple of stories I know where God has answered prayers for deliverance from mental illness, and though these are few, they give us hope.

There are so many stories that I can think of from missionaries. Where God has warned them in dreams or in prayer of danger that was coming. Or when he has given them vision of his will in prayer. You’ll often hear stories from short term missionaries who received the money that they needed to go on their trip…after they prayed and surrendered to God.

I found this website via googling “answered prayer stories”, and was encouraged by some of these stories. Have a quick google if no stories come to mind.

I would also recommend asking your friends for their stories. Build up your faith through the testimony of others. And help them build their faith by reminding them where God has been present.

 

Remember stories from the Bible

Another way to build your faith is in scripture. Because if we are a Christian, it is so important to build up trust in God’s word. This reinforces and makes faith solid and unshakable. When you believe the Bible is truth, you have an immeasurable amount of tools for your journey. And you can allow the Holy Spirit to speak in you through scripture.

So in the Bible, how can you know that prayer is powerful?

Write a list in your journal. 🙂 There’s hundreds of stories you could write down.

Like when God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. They trusted God completely, claimed him as powerful, and he was with them.

There are many times in the book of Daniel that Daniel comes to God in prayer, and God reveals to him other people’s dreams. Check out Daniel 2, as his friends pray for him:

16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven…

God answers our prayer with power… and listens to those who pray on our behalf. It’s a beautiful thing to pray for another person, and expect God to come through.

There’s the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

And God answered by sending fire down from heaven. And I love that this was for his glory – that people would know that he is God. This is important to remember in our prayers. That God is the one with the power.

What other stories can you think of from the Bible?

A Prayer for Us

Dear Author, thank you for the power of stories. Thank you for the testimony of others. In the power of your Holy Spirit, bring to our minds stories of when you have listened and answered the prayers of your people. Reveal to us these stories through the people around us. Reveal stories in your word of truth. Give us faith to believe when our minds say no. Where we think it’s not possible, speak to us that it is not only possible, but that it has been done before and can be done again. Strengthen us with faith. Develop us on this journey. May we be able to look back today and see what you have already done. May we look back in the years to come to see how you have surrounded us with stories of your power the whole way. Thank you for this. We claim this in your name, Jesus. Amen.

Seeker: Journey into Prayer

Journey into prayer

What comes to mind when you think of prayer? Do you pray? How do you pray? Do you believe there is power when you pray?

I think I have always believed in “the power of prayer” – a term I now understand to mean 1) that God gives power to his people, and 2) that this power is what welcomes our God to move on this earth… in subtle or in mighty ways.

I believe that if we accept and believe in the power God gives us in prayer, and if we pray in tune with the spirit of truth, then our prayers become reality. The kingdom of God comes to earth in this reality.

Most of you reading this particular post will probably know these lines of an old hymn: “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him/How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er”. In my own life, I know that I know that there is power in prayer because of how my God has proven himself to me… though He doesn’t have to.

So, again, do you believe there is power when you pray?

If so, do you exercise that power?

In the past few months since I’ve left the world of brain fog and chronic illness behind, God has been good to gently convict and inspire me to continue on with what He has called me to do…and who he has called me to be. He has done this through my working with our church youth group last year, through my marriage, through the wise men at Christmas, and through his beautiful Holy Spirit that speaks truth and life.

So when I was asking him what he wanted from me in this new year, it was clear.

He calls me (and you) to be a prayer warrior. SEEKERS, chasing after His kingdom with purpose and intention, claiming his power to work on earth.

seeker-hecallsyou

I want to spend this year actively seeking after God (and what he wants) in prayer.

What does this mean for me, and for us as an online community? We have several posts lined up around the idea of being a “seeker”. These will be spread out throughout the year to encourage and uplift you. They cover three areas on how to:

  1. Ask – BUILD FAITH. Because we do serve a God of power. But if we don’t claim that – if we don’t actively believe and seek God in prayer – then we may never experience the fullness of God’s power and plan. That would be sad, and here at “A Little Sanctuary”, we want to aim for joy and contentment. So we need to build faith to pray… faith to move mountains.

  2. Seek – USE TOOLS. Because God has given us soooo many. He has given us other people. He gives us our minds, our bodies, our spirits. He gives us the Bible and the Holy Spirit. We have creativity, imagination… and Pinterest. 🙂 Bullet Journaling is really helping me to pray, so I’d love to share some of that with you.

  3. Knock – PRESS IN. It’s ultimately about God, and about being one-on-one in an intimate relationship with him. This is ultimate contentment… and fullness of joy. So we will have posts aimed at helping you to press in, seek, and find that intimacy. We want our hearts to be like the heart of God. Because when our hearts align, our prayer life is not only powerful, it is life-changing, fulfilling, purpose-giving. Not to mention pleasing to our God.

In preparing for this year at the sanctuary, God has just been blowing me away by how vast and beautiful the world of prayer is. This is by no means a boring subject. This prayer thing is freedom. This is liberation.

This is powerful.

I’d love to do this year collectively with you… this idea of “seeking” after God. One thing about prayer is that God wants his people to do it both individually and in community. I believe “A Little Sanctuary” can be part of community, and I will be praying on what that could look like. I invite you to do the same.

I would love to see comments and messages from you all via our Fbook page. I’d love to see stories of how God has spoken to you in prayer – how you’ve experienced God’s power in prayer. And I’d love to post some of your stories to encourage and edify other readers that come here via Pinterest and search engines.

Head over to the Facebook page to get in on this journey.

Nga mihi,

Ashley Ruth

Summer Christmas

STORYINGCHRISTMASIf you live in the northern hemisphere, you will probably have a very different picture of Christmas than people here in New Zealand. We have summer Christmas.

When I am in New Zealand, my Christmas holidays would be amiss if I did not go to the beach… a lot. When I’m dreaming of a “White Christmas”, the closest I get are the white sand beaches of east Auckland. Instead of pine trees, our pohutukawa trees blossom red flowers against their green leaves.

I love this beach life. I love living near the ocean.

Once you have been to the ocean, you will understand this statement: There are just some days when you just feel the need to drive a bit and sit next to the sea.

Today is such a day.

We can learn so much from the ocean. That’s probably why there are so many songs that use it as a metaphor. Here are some lines you may recognize:

“In oceans deep, my faith will stand.”

“When sorrows like sea billows roll…”

“Oceans will part, nations will come, at the whisper of your name.”

“Set my feet upon the sea ‘til I’m dancing in the deep.”

I think of these songs and then I think of Christmas. There’s a question that I ask myself as I sit here at the beginning of December: Is there anything about Christmas that is like this ocean?

At first, I’m thinking no. That’s a ridiculous question. Then, different themes started popping into my mind.

I’m sure we can all come up with some great answers. You can probably come with more than me. Right now, God is using the sea to refresh, restore, heal, and satisfy me. But, when I think of the sea as it relates to Christmas, this is what I’ve come up with:  POWER.

Yes, the original Christmas story is about peace. A silent night. Wise men quietly following a star. Silent shepherds watching their sheep at night. A sweet baby asleep in a manger. It has all of these things.

But we must never forget the POWER of God when he comes down to man.

The sea sounds so peaceful to me right now. The waves are so small that little kids are going a few meters in. There are people parasailing. But there are no surfers because the waves are just not big enough. The ocean is calm and quiet.

But have you seen the ocean roar as a storm comes in? Have you seen crashing waves leap over boulders and into cliffs? Have you heard those horrible stories of people getting caught in the wild current, being swept out to sea?

So it is with the Christmas story. Peace has come. Comfort and joy have, indeed, come to earth with Jesus. But so does power. Because the Son of God came to our planet that first Christmas day.

God. The Great-I-Am. He came to Earth. The One who is so great and holy that even prophets could not look upon Him and live. To even hear the name of Yahweh garnered fear and trembling. The LORD, mighty in battle, came.

Power.

But in a tiny baby.

Power that made blind men see, deaf men hear, and dead men walk.

Power that rose himself from the grave.

Power that takes away the sins of the world.

I’m glad the ocean reminded me of God’s peace. And I’m glad it reminds me of God’s power. I never want to forget this part of Christmas.

 


 

Want more Christmas??? Here’s more posts:

Comfort  http://alittlesanctuary.org/storying-christmas-comfort/

 

…And Joy  http://alittlesanctuary.org/and-joy/

 

Summer Christmas  http://alittlesanctuary.org/summer-christmas/

 

God with us: Part I  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part/

 

God with us: Part II  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part-ii/

 

God with us: Part III  http://alittlesanctuary.org/god-us-part-iii/

 

Storying Christmas: Waiting  http://alittlesanctuary.org/storying-christmas-waiting/

 

Christmas Eve & The Miracle Fern http://alittlesanctuary.org/christmas-eve-miracle-fern/

The Power of Pause: Painful Pausing

the power of pause painful

The act of pausing is, indeed, powerful. Often, a relieving kind of powerful, and other times not. Stopping, even for a moment sometimes, can be painful.

A few weeks ago, these “Freedom in Christ” sessions started at our church on Tuesday nights. My husband and I thought it sounded good, but he had a lot of assignments coming up so I just decided to do it and report back.

Based on the verse in Galatians and books by Neil T. Anderson, the course is meant to help Christians claim their “freedom in Christ”. This is done by focusing on scripture instead of on distractions, finding God’s promises, and believing them – letting go of hurts and lies. Basically, it gives you time and space to pause and pray and just deal. By the end, you have a toolkit of principles and scriptures to help you live in freedom.

But, the course made me stop and think about some stuff that I didn’t really want to stop and think about. And that was not a nice feeling.

Pausing can be painful. Because if we let our bodies stop, our minds might wander. And they might wander to our past. They might wander to our present. They might even go on a longer trip all the way to our future. They might take hold of worries and hurts we didn’t want to admit we had.

So… Is it worth it to stop and let yourself feel something painful?

I don’t know. I am neither a doctor nor a therapist.

painful pause

I do know that pushing on a bruise doesn’t make it go away. Push too hard and it’ll even make the bruise bigger. Time is the only remedy.

But there’s something magical about Christianity. Christ was a healer.

So, I believe that if we pause and listen to what God says about us – if we claim his promises and take him at His Word – we can be content. We can be free. We don’t have to be in pain.

But for this to happen, we have to stop and take time to follow him, push through the crowd and the junk of our lives to touch the hem of his robe. He will just turn around, love us, heal us, and always be with us.

Check out “Freedom in Christ Ministries” and print out some of their free downloads. I love the “Significance, Security, & Acceptance Restored In Christ” list that they encourage you to read out loud every day for a week or a month. Most importantly, take time to pause with Jesus – no matter how painful it might be at first – because Jesus can take that pain if you claim the freedom He gives you.

Much love and blessings,

Ashley Ruth