When my son, Kevin was four-years-old, I bought him a helium filled balloon. As soon as we got outside, he intentionally let the balloon go. He watched as it floated higher and higher in the sky until he couldn’t see it any longer. Then he exclaimed with delight, “Take care of my balloon, Jesus.”
Later that evening as I thought about Kevin’s sweet gesture and contemplated how many times I have released prayers to heaven like a balloon. Yet, at times, I really wasn’t sure if those prayers reached their destination.
For many of us, as we grow older, the struggles of life seem to have crashed over us like violent waves on the ocean. We become jaded and lose hope that God really hears or cares about our little prayers. Still others have grown up in the ritual of religion. We attend church out of duty and our prayers have become stale and cliché.
WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR PRAYERS TO MAKE IT PAST THE CEILING?
Prayer is simply communication with God. But this isn’t just any communication. This is our creator, the Almighty God we’re addressing. Let’s face it, talking to an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God requires some faith. The good news is, God has seen to it that we each are given the gift of faith.
“...in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:6
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (emphasis added)
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder if whatever faith God gave me, is buried too deep in my own doubts. I’ve often felt like the father in the book of Mark who asked Jesus to heal his son.
“Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
This is exciting because even though God has given us faith, it can be increased!
THREE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR FAITH
- READ THE WORD
Or at least listen to it. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Romans 10:17
Reading the Bible is like planting a garden. God’s word is the seed that we must tend to regularly or it will wane. We must become familiar with the Bible by reading and meditating on its contents. If your faith is feeling weak or not existent, reading the Bible is the first place to start. Take a look at what Jesus says in Mark 24:
“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” Mark 4:24-25 NIV
God expects us to grow our faith through His word.
- APPLY THE WORD
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:22-24
In order to increase our faith, we must not only read the word but put it into action by living our lives according to it.
- TEST THE WORD
I’m not talking about testing God to see how far His patience will go. I’m referring to proving God is faithful and true to His word. Look for God’s goodness and activity in your life as you put His word into practice. Malachi 3:9-11 (NIV) offers one way the Lord says we can prove Him faithful to His Word. “Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” As we prove God, our trust in Him grows which fuels our faith.
Trials and difficulties are a way that God strengthens our trust in Him, thereby increasing our faith. No one escapes hardships. What’s important is how we respond to them.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV
God furnishes the means whereby faith can be increased: reading the Word, applying the word by putting it into practice, and proving the Word of God faithful.
In this way, our prayers will make it past the ceiling!
Need prayer? Post in comments below or send me an email.
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