Are you constantly frustrated because your faith is too weak? Do your prayers seem to go unanswered because you don't have enough confidence?
Many single people feel that way. But there's good news: By changing what you're focusing on, you can change your entire life!
It's not a trick, it's not wishful thinking, visualizing, or any New Age mumbo-jumbo. It's a matter of understanding who does what.
Your prayers don't move the mountains (obstacles) in your life. God does.
Too many of us are putting our hope in our faith. And by doing that, we're trying to win God's favor and get our prayers answered by works. Our praying becomes nothing more than struggling and straining, hoping we can produce whatever is needed by sheer willpower.
Prayer becomes exhausting. We feel desperate. We think God will take us more seriously if we pray harder.
That's why Jesus said we need faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. God supplies the power to get things done, not us.
Think of it this way. When you want to go to the store, you get in your car, and because you've kept up its maintenance and have enough gasoline, you have the assurance that your car will start and take you to the store. But that assurance doesn't take you down the street to the store; your car does.
OK, poor example. God is not a car, and he is not a genie who has to do everything we tell him.
But he is the most powerful force in the universe who does all good things that are in his will.
If you did a New Testament word search on "faith" using www.biblegateway.com, you would discover that this belief in God and his power opens the way for many good things.
Too often we turn it into striving rather than just agreement. We feel as if we're dragging a heavy object up a hill and that we have to pull harder and strain more. I don't think that's what God intends.
Repeatedly in the gospels, we see Jesus pleased with people who believe. One poor fellow asked Jesus for healing for his daughter:
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, ESV)
This man wanted to believe more strongly. But is it strength of belief or genuineness of belief? After all, the power is not in us. The power is in God. And remember, we can never manipulate God. He is in control, not us.
God is able. God is way more than able!
Our trust needs to be in God and his omnipotence. Do we believe, do we accept it as fact that God is all-powerful, loving, and will always do what is best for us?
Our trust is the question. God is the answer.
We may not always like the way God responds to our prayers, but
we can trust--because we know God does what is in our best
interest--that he will respond.
As Christian singles, we're especially vulnerable to the ups and downs of life.
Many of us want our lives to be different. We make the mistake of thinking that God is ignoring us because he hasn't answered our prayers in the way we'd like.
Because we're single, we have to provide our own encouragement and our own motivation. We also have to develop the ability to pick ourselves up when we get hurt.
Here are five down-to-earth ways to build your confidence in God:
1. Believe the Truth, not what you see.
We're used to a solid, material world. Like the apostle Thomas, we're trained to believe only what we can see with our own eyes. But the Truth is that the Holy Spirit, our great Helper and Comforter, is invisible. He also dwells within you, even though you can't always sense that. Trust God, not your doubt.
2. Read the Bible every day.
Life seems more hectic that ever. We have trouble carving out time to read the Word of God. But God provided his Bible specifically so we could draw upon it in times of trouble. To strengthen your belief, read the Bible stories about people who had great faith. Abraham, Joseph, David, and Paul can teach you that God rewards those who put their faith in him. Review Bible verses about faith, like these on Messiah-of-God.com.
3. Slip short prayers in, throughout your day and evening.
Prayer can be as short as one sentence or even a single word. Prayers like "Help me, Jesus" or "Strengthen me, Lord" will bring your focus back on God instead of your problems. And don't forget to thank God throughout your day, too. He does respond to our cries for help.
4. Ask others about their answered prayers.
One of the most exciting parts of life is when God answers your prayers! Most people are thrilled to tell how God brought them through a tough time. The Holy Spirit will use other Christians to encourage you. You'll find some very moving, inspirational testimonies about God's love at www.christianity.about.com.
5. Recall how God answered your own prayers.
As you look back on your life, you can see how God rescued you
and provided an even better solution than you hoped for. If God worked
in your life in the past, you can be sure he'll do the same in your present and future. As preacher Charles F. Stanley once said, "God never gives up on you."