“Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring” (James 3:11)?
James points out that fresh and salty water cannot come from the same fountain. Our tongues are powerful. It’s important that what we say lines up with what we pray. Try this. Listen to the things you say throughout the course of an average day. You may discover that although the prayers you are praying sound “faith-filled,” in agreement with God’s will, and you are expressing gratitude to God in advance, your conversation belies your praying.
Here’s an example. Janice needs rent money. She prays fervently, believing, thanking God in advance for His provision. So far, so good. Thirty minutes later someone asks about her situation. She replies, “I don’t know. Things look pretty bleak. I don’t know what I am going to do. I’m out of options.” In one unguarded conversation, Janice writes “VOID” across the prayer she just prayed. Why did she do that? She exposed an underlying issue of unbelief. Although she prayed the right words, she wasn’t actually praying them in faith. She didn’t truly believe them in her heart.
If we could search her heart, as God does, we might discover that Janice is still looking for a “backup source” (other than God). By telling another person her need, and showing a bit of desperation, she unconsciously hopes that he or she will assist . . . in case God doesn’t come through. It’s like having a “Plan B.” She’s likely not even aware that she does this, but it’s a classic case of double-mindedness.
The words we say should match the words we pray. Our conversations with others should reflect the faith with which we’ve prayed. To pray one thing about a person, place, or circumstance, and confess the opposite is classic double-mindedness and produces nothing. When someone asks Janice about her rent situation, she should respond, “I still don’t know how God will do it, but I’m convinced that He is my source and that He’s working now to supply all my needs according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). And for that, I give Him praise.”
Father, my desire is pray, believing that You will answer as I align my prayers with Your heart. Keep me from doubting the very words I express to You as a need or a request. May I trust Your heart, even when I am unable to see You at work around me in that moment. Your response is always timed for my good and for the sake of Your own glory. Help me to be a yielded intercessor, expressing prayers of thanksgiving for answers I have yet to see in the physical realm, but which I believe will burst forth from Your heart in Your perfect timing as I lay my heart alongside of Your own.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 39, The Secret of Single-Minded Prayer by Eddie Smith). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God as the one whose arm is “not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isa. 59:1). Thank God for the promise to hear you when you come to him in prayer. Confess any sin which may result in his not hearing your prayers (59:2). If you are struggling in this area, commit yourself to regular, daily times of prayer and fellowship with God. Ask him to draw close to you as you fellowship with him.
God has long arms when it comes to salvation. No one is beyond his reach.
Thank him for that truth and pray for one unsaved person you know.
“Ministry without prayer becomes work in the power of the flesh. Prayer without ministry is complacent Christianity.” —Anonymous
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.