Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.—Hebrews 11:1
I am frequently asked: “Doesn’t what you say about demandingness destroy the faith we ought to have when we approach God in prayer? Isn’t powerful praying the ability to insist on God giving us the things we know we ought to be receiving?”
There is a world of difference between “praying in faith” and demandingness. When we “pray in faith,” we have the assurance in our hearts that God wants to bring about a certain purpose for His own glory, whereupon faith reaches into heaven and pulls down the answer through fervent, believing prayer. Demandingness is another thing entirely—it insists on getting the answers that are in accord with its own desires rather than God’s purposes. It is an attempt to bring God in line with our will rather than bringing our wills in line with His will.
Dr. Francis Schaeffer, when advised that he was suffering from a terminal illness, became assured that his work on earth was finished and that soon he would leave this world and go to his heavenly home. Thousands of people prayed for his healing, and when he himself was asked why he did not claim the Bible’s promises concerning health and wholeness, he replied: “When I am in the presence of God, it seems uniquely unbecoming to demand anything.”
Some have interpreted these words as a lack of faith, but I think I understand what he meant. It is one thing to plead and pray with passion for something very personal; it is another to demand that the will of the Almighty be one with our own.
Father, I see that the line between demandingness and faith is so fine that I can easily cross from one to the other without knowing it. Tune my spirit so that I will always be able to discern the difference between these two things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Ps 143:1-10; Mt 12:50; Jms 4:1-15
What was the desire of the psalmist?
How does James put it?