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Praying over God's Promises:
The Lost Art of Taking Him at His Word
By Thomas R. Yeakley
One of our family traditions for Thanksgiving is the making of fresh butter. We purchase the cream and place it in a jar with a tight lid and then begin to shake it vigorously. The shaking usually wears out several people as it seems that the cream will never turn to butter. And then suddenly, in the instant of one shake, what was cream is now a lump of delicious butter in the jar. Boy, does it taste good!
In Hebrews 6:12 the author writes, "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." In this verse we find the three elements necessary to seeing God answer our prayers as we pray over the promises in His Word. Walking by faith is like our making butter, its takes three elements: promises (cream), faith (jar) and patience (vigorous shaking over time). Though it seems to take forever, the end result is worth the effort!
I have titled these three elements the "Triangle for Triumph," for with these three things we will live a dynamic life in Christ.
All three elements are necessary for a balanced, dynamic walk with God as is explained in Praying Over the Promises of God. We must have all three: promises, faith, and patience if we are to realize the blessings of God.
The promises alone, as great as they are, must be mixed with faith if we are to realize their fulfillment. The writer of Hebrews says, "Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith" (Hebrews 4:1-2).
Faith is not a feeling or an impression. It is not that we convince ourselves of a truth, a kind of self-brainwashing. Faith is a quiet resting and trust of what God has promised in the Scriptures. It is the acceptance and trust of a child. It only sees the promise and the Promiser and expectantly hopes. And, like a muscle, the more often faith is stretched and exercised the more it grows, enabling it to move a bigger load. We should not be discouraged if we often find ourselves in the midst of trying times, for it is through this repetition that the Lord gives opportunities to build the muscle of faith.
In addition to faith, we must add patience to our faith in order that we might receive what has been promised. We live in a day of instant gratification. And even instant is too slow for many of us! Being patient is something for wimps! We are told to go out and make something happen! Just do it! Unfortunately, these principles are not in accordance with the plans of God.
Many times God seems to be slow in answering our prayers. We have the promises, we pray over the promises by faith and seek to meet any conditions stated. Yet, God still does not answer. Why is He so slow? Is it that He is hard of hearing or asleep when we pray? Definitely not! Is it that we must convince God of our sincerity by praying for a long time? God sees our hearts and knows the end from the beginning, thus He knows my motives. Then why? It is that in allowing the delay, we are given more opportunities to trust, to walk by faith; we have more time to exercise our muscle of faith. For once the answer comes, the opportunity to grow in faith is past. God is more interested in the process than the result.