What do you want from faith?
Let's be specific about it, shall we? Our faith works two ways. Firstly, it enables us to come into a lively relationship with God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. That is an amazing benefit of the act of faith – access to the Lord of all creation by virtue of our dedication and belief!
Secondly, faith has definite benefits to the believer – this can be found in the sense of community within the church, or the sense of peace through prayer, or the sense of purpose in the proclamation of the message of the Gospel. Both the above are fairly 'wide' benefits of faith to the believer. What about my specific needs and the answers to my desperate cry for a solution to my problems? It is quite clear from scripture that Our Lord respects a straight answer to a straight question.
Let me give you an example. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem via Jericho. (Luke 18: 31ff) As they pass a blind beggar, the man begins to shout loudly, asking for mercy. Much to everyone's surprise, Jesus stops and asks that the man be brought to him. Jesus then asks the man, "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" and he answers, "Lord, that I might receive my sight." He could have asked for money for bread or something equally trivial, but Jesus waited for the specific prayer before answering "Receive thy sight, thy faith hath saved thee."
The message for you and me? Be specific in your prayer - and persistent also. The blind man refused to take no for an answer and he knew what he wanted from Our Lord Jesus Christ. His persistence and honesty was rewarded by his miraculous healing. We, too, in this current Lenten season, need to place our very particular burdens and needs before our Saviour.
We also must persevere in our prayers – sometimes that may mean weeks or even months, if necessary. As we come regularly and faithfully to the Lord in prayer, He will answer our cry.
May God bless your prayers this Lent.