The importance of faith is something most singles don't give much thought to, but it can make the difference between confident prayer and weak prayer, optimism and pessimism.
One of the problems we all struggle with is how to keep a positive attitude. After years of discouragement, it's easy to become cynical. Our world can turn gray very easily if we're not careful. We haven't gotten what we've asked for in the past, so we figure "Why keep trying?"
The danger in that attitude is putting our faith in ourselves or the process instead of in God. This misplaced trust emphasizes the weak parts of the equation. God, who is the doer in prayer, is all-powerful.
Prayer is hard work, but most of the struggle comes not in finding what to say but in believing God will actually work on our behalf. The result is strained, desperate requests in which we subconsciously think it's a waste of time.
Eventually we make a half-hearted effort, not expecting much. And, not surprisingly, that's exactly what we get.
If you're praying for a spouse, the importance of faith comes into play, but so does being realistic. Many of us expect God to drop that person right into our lap--even into our home, without us so much as lifting a finger to help. Prince or Princess Charming via Federal Express.
It makes more sense to pray for the courage to take some initiative. Shyness aside, it's pretty hard for someone to find us when we're hiding out much of the time. As I say elsewhere on this site, women would do well to be more assertive, ignoring social customs and searching out potential mates. We men need to practice handling rejection better. It's not the end of the world.
When we don't get the answer we want to our prayer for a spouse, we rarely realize we may be praying for the wrong thing. Maybe we're asking God to do all the work while we sit and wait for it to happen. That's not faith. That's presumption.
Reading the gospels, you get the impression that our faith is absolutely necessary to get prayers answered. Jesus scolds people for having "little faith" and praises them for having "great faith." What the people with great faith have in common is that they believe in the ability and willingness of Jesus to answer their request. Their faith is not misplaced in their prayers or their own worthiness.
"Your faith has healed you." "Your faith has made you well." "Your faith has saved you," Jesus said. The real question is, Faith in what? Faith has to have an object. Faith does not exist alone. We must have faith in some thing or someone.
Jesus told people to have faith in him, or "Have faith in God." The four gospels are striking in their similarity. Where there was great faith in God, miracles happened. In his home town of Nazareth, Jesus did little because they had no faith in him.
God is all-powerful regardless of our faith in him. He does not need our faith to act, but it seems that our faith causes him to act. God's principles never change. What was true 2,000 years ago is still true today.
The importance of faith in your life and mine is that we need to keep trusting God whether he gives us what we want or not. That may be the toughest fight a Christian faces. Satan constantly tempts us to give up.
We can become bitter because we don't get our way or we can believe that heaven does exist and that our life there will be joyful and fulfilling. Since Jesus and his Father live in heaven, it's impossible to believe in God without believing in heaven too.
This is what keeps me going. I am trying to make the most I can of this life, but I have accepted that it will always come up short. I can't explain to you why good people don't get everything we want. I don't know why single people suffer.
Despite all my questions, I have faith that God will make everything right in eternity. That is his promise to us. I don't believe it's a fairy tale. I believe it's real.
The importance of faith is that it keeps us from living a shallow life. It gives us hope, because both our faith and hope are in God. In the end, God is deserving of our trust. Our faith in him will earn us our reward.