How to pray with expectancy
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed”. James 1:6
Following Peter’s stay in prison in Acts 12, after he realises that it is not just a dream, he reaches the gates and announces that he is there. The woman who hears him is Rhoda – and she is so excited that she immediately goes to share with the others – without unlocking the gate. Those gathered are there to pray for Peter and for his release. Many are crying, and yet they do not believe that Peter is really there! All this time, Peter is still knocking to be let in!
THE DOOR OF UNBELIEF
The believers were inside praying that Peter would be released from prison and that the doors would be opened, and they couldn’t see that it had already happened because they didn’t open the door to see Peter standing there. Their prayers had been answered, but they didn’t believe that God had answered them, and they refused to go and answer the door to see for themselves. This is reflective of how God has given us the keys to the kingdom, He has given us the power and authority to open doors on earth – and yet the biggest door stands in our way… unbelief.
PRAYING, AND PRAYING… AND PRAYING
Sometimes we think that when we pray, God doesn’t hear us. If we don’t get an answer, we pray again, and again, when actually, like the believers and Peter, the answer has already been given and we just miss it! Our expectation is that we need to keep asking God to get what we want, but Jesus said in Matthew 6:7-8:
“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
THE SECRET OF EXPECTANCY IN PRAYER
The secret of expectancy in prayer is knowing that God wants to answer and that He hears us. Unlike the believers, we need to pray and then be ready, expectant, waiting for the knock at the door! We need to have faith to do this. Jesus told his disciples that they didn’t see success when praying for healing “Because of your unbelief” (Matthew 17:12). Jesus expanded this later, saying that faith “as small as a mustard seed” has the power to move mountains.
WHAT DOES EXPECTANCY LOOK LIKE?
Often in our outreach events in Africa, there is a notable difference in the attitude of the people there, and an atmosphere of expectancy, faith and hunger to see God move in miraculous power. In a culture where the spiritual realm is more widely recognised, there is a culture of expectancy to see healing and the Holy Spirit changing peoples’ lives.
PRAYER AND PREPARATION
When the forecast is a strong likelihood of rain, you take an umbrella with you when you go outside. In the same way, we can pray and prepare our hearts and actions as a response to knowing that an answer will come. We can metaphorically “open our umbrella” as we pray and expect God to send the rain.
Author: Daniel Kolenda
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