I had fun with the prayer one yesterday and today I found something else in need of a response from an unbeliever. It’s by Leon Fontaine via the Winnipeg Sun:
Every one of us has an ability to produce the life we desire.
Within reason. Not everyone can earn a million dollars no matter what those business books might say. Not everyone is going to get the education they need to become an astronaut or physicist. Not everyone is going to get a memoir published or make it big on Canadian Idol or whatever winds up being a dream for people these days. Some of us won’t even manage to get married or have kids or get a job with decent medical coverage.
Most of us desire a life full of laughter, love, prosperity, and wellness and ask for these things in our prayers. But can we be sure God will fulfill our requests?
Of course not. It’s not a pizza delivery where you’ll get just what you ordered. More often it’s like grabbing a can without a wrapper and discovering it’s cocktail wieners, not the pineapple your heart was set on. The challenge is to know how much of your life is changeable, how much of your life can be improved, and what parts of your life you’ll just have to accept as the just the way it is.
People often send shotgun prayers toward the ceiling and hope something sticks, but are never quite sure if God is listening. But the miraculous is not hit and miss. Let me take you on a journey into the miraculous.
The book of Mark teaches that the beliefs in your heart determine the direction of your future. If you choose to believe in God and His ability to perform miracles in your life, you will remain open to receiving all of the blessings God has for you.
I’m guessing he’ll have a pretty loose definition of what qualifies as a miracle, just like those folks I saw in the fall and their loose interpretation of what qualified as a sign from angels.
Here are a few more thoughts:
1. Doubt and fear does you a great disservice when it comes to producing the life you desire. Doubt enters the heart whenever you dwell on times you didn’t receive an answer to a prayer. You can silence any doubt by choosing to change your focus. Faith means believing in God and His miracles in all seasons of life.
I’ll rephrase this without all the god crap. Confidence is worthwhile and if you’re afraid to take a risk and try something new, you will miss out on opportunities to improve your position, be it by advancement at work, or a new city, or new relationship. Even a little improvement, like a different outlook on your situation, might help. If a new job or city or friend seems hard to manage, maybe some smaller change will make a big difference.. a hobby, a class perhaps.. something new at least.
2. Experiencing the miraculous is not about having enough faith. It’s not about asking for permission to receive a miracle. God’s will for you is always good.
What if it could be determined that it’s God’s will that you die penniless and alone? Is that good?
I suppose someone with a positive holy outlook would be able to spin that into an affirmative: love of money is the root of evil and being alone lets a person fully focus attention on God.
Even we unbelievers can create these easy pat answers to the big questions.
When the revelation of God’s Word hits your heart, you will see results. Faith is not an emotional building of power, but is simply the process of seeing God’s will throughout all areas of your life.
But if you take the work upon yourself to change your life, then you should be able to take the credit, rather than giving a god all the kudos. You made the choice, you did what needed doing, and you’re reaping the benefits. I’m not saying brag until the world turns up its nose at you, but take credit for what you’re capable of doing and be a role model for others with a similar need. Even if you want to claim God was a tool in your arsenal, you’re still the one who did all the work with it.
3. It is more important to experience a miracle than to explain it. Faith doesn’t always need to figure things out. Faith goes to the end result and believes.
Which is why I think the sciences are a better focus for attention, because there are attempts to discover answers rather than leave us all ignorant. Sure, you can have faith the sun will come up in the morning but isn’t it cooler to understand how that illusion works? I certainly think so.
The Bible says faith must go back to the simplicity of a child. Children do not need to know where the electricity comes from when they hit a switch. They just believe in it. That’s faith.
What did I just write? There’s a reason people don’t remain children: somebody has to grow up and get educated and get a job at the power company or else that switch won’t work anymore. We can’t afford to remain children, stupid and wide-eyed with wonderment. The best thing about kids is their innate curiosity. Isn’t “why” one of the very first words they learn? They don’t really want magic behind the flip of a switch, they want to learn the mechanics of it and getting a “God did it” answer is no answer at all. Yet that’s all faith allows. I much prefer the fact that people did not leave everything up to faith instead of using their ingenuity and showing a willingness to experiment. Yeah, we did some colossally bad things as a species that way, but the same skills are all we can use to fix the problems we create, too. We can’t have faith in a god to fix it for us. That’d really be the end of everything.
4. Miracles are for the believing, not the deserving. Jesus taught that miracles are not dependent on good deeds. God’s not up in heaven waiting for you to do something good enough to grant you that better job or a clean bill of health.
So when things keep going to hell no matter how much people might pray, the answer is not that there’s no god hearing the prayers, it’s that they aren’t proper believers? That’s an outlook that can only result in people feeling even worse about their situation, surely? He won’t answer because you’re not doing it right. You suck and you’re not really a Christian…
Never feel condemned if you don’t instantly receive an answer to prayer. It’s not about evoking compassion in God and moving Him to act on your behalf. Jesus says in Mark 9:21 that we must come into a place of believing if we want to receive God’s miracles.
It’s setting people up to feel like failures is what I’m getting at. Prayers inevitably go unanswered and this kind of advice can only convince people that they are disappointments. It won’t really matter what kind of changes they make to the way they practice their Christianity, prayers will still go unanswered. They always do.
5. You play a part in the miracles of your life. Jesus says in Mark 11:23, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”
Jesus says that whatever you ask in prayer, believe, trust, and be confident it will be granted, and you will get it.
That’s the same swill Rhonda Byrne and Joe Vitale told people. I think the only people who really got rich with The Secret and the Power of Attraction were Byrne and Vitale.
6. Believing must take place at a deeper level than the mind; it must be in your heart. Learn how you can plant God-beliefs into your heart by reading Mark 4. As you spend time in His Word, His perspectives become your perspectives.
If you’re in the middle of a storm, don’t stop believing God for that miracle. You may not know or understand how and when it will occur, but be absolutely sure that you will experience the miraculous.
That’s handy. It’s jam tomorrow is what it is. Keeping hope alive with a promise of what’s to come without any assurance it’ll actually be delivered. That’s the power of faith, all right. So anything that seems to work in one’s favour (and there will always be something, even if it’s just a string of green lights when you’re late for work) will ultimately be called the miracle that made the difference.
You don’t have to wait until you are in great need to begin believing for a miraculous life. Spend time in His Word, believe His blessings are yours, and then watch as they unfold into your life.