Points to Ponder

When You Pray Believing, You Will Receive

This is a picture of a black man with his hands folded in prayer with the words "I believe."

There is an old saying that goes something like, “If you’re praying for rain, you better bring an umbrella!” It means that we should always pray believing that we will receive what we’re praying for. But believing with your head is one thing. Believing with your life is quite another. Recently, God convicted me of praying prayers and then acting as if I didn’t believe He would answer. He showed me how fervently I prayed and yet how I was still gripped by uncertainty in that area. The Bible calls it being “double-minded.” It was an eye-opening experience and one that made me take an inventory of just exactly what I was praying and how I was living in light of my prayers.

Set Times for Prayers

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud. And He shall hear my voice.”

Psalm 55:17

People are creatures of habit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to “pray without ceasing,” but it is both biblical and helpful to carve out specific times in our day when we allow nothing else into our minds but attention to God. Every person is different, though. And every child of God has a specific walk based on his/her position and calling in the kingdom. Some are called to pray more than others, but we are all expected to commune with our Father every single day.

For me, I pray fasting prayers between 3-6 AM, morning prayers in the shower, drive-time prayers in the morning (and afternoon on work days), and evening prayers. The prayer that God was convicting me about was my morning drive-time prayer. That’s the time when I always pray on the armor of God. I take time with each piece to ask God to help me in those areas (truth and protection from deception, aligning my will to His, walking as a witness, faith and help with unbelief, and keeping my thoughts aright). At the end, I finish with specific Bible verses that are statements of my belief and requests for things I desire that God will do for me in my life. 

My Prayers in Question

“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. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

James 1:6-8

Here are the verses I was praying that God called me out for. 

  • Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
  • Psalm 5:7-8 “But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies — make your way straight before me.”
  • Psalm 119:132-133 “Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”

Virtually every singly day, I pray three different scriptures for God to lead me. But I was still having trouble stepping forward in faith. I would feel a prompting to do something and then I would question it. “Was that God speaking or just my own thoughts?” “Should I do it or not do it?” (Insert worry here.) When God brought the situation to my attention, I determined that I was going to decide immediately whose voice I was hearing and move forward based on that. After all, if I’m praying for God to lead me, I must believe that God will do it. I just have to trust Him to make His voice clear to me every time.

My Right-Track Testimony

Then the Lord let me know I was on the right track. My Sunday morning ministry is called “Taste of Church to You.” I make up a set of about 30 snacks with Bible verses and messages in English and Spanish. I take them first to the men who wait for day jobs. Then I go to a convenience store and a laundromat. These are all on the way to my church. It’s a “taste” because it’s something to eat and because it is just a little message “from church” on a Sunday morning.

This past Sunday, when I finished passing out snacks at the mostly empty laundromat, I still had several brownies with messages in my basket. As I stopped at the next light, I looked ahead to the Waffle House parking lot on the other side of the street. There was a family taking a minute to get a handicapped man into a van. I felt the prompting to stop and give the family the snacks. 

Confirmation I Heard Him Correctly

Now, the Lord gave me this evangelism ministry about three years ago, so I’m used to going to the three places I always go. Stopping at an additional location and catching people in the parking lot was a step even further out of my comfort zone. But I had the definite feeling that it was the Lord prompting me to stop. He has really been working with me on boldness in that area. (You can read about that here: Even When We Aren’t, God Is Able.) I made a conscious effort not to question it and pulled in to give snacks to the family. When I was done, I saw there was also a group of people talking just outside the door of the restaurant.

I counted the number of people and the number of brownies and thought I had just enough. But when I started handing them out, I found that I was one short. Then the second-to-last lady said, “I’m Keto.” (That means that she doesn’t eat sugar.) It turned out that I had exactly the right number. I believe God was letting me know that I heard Him correctly and did the right thing by moving forward in faith.

God is Sovereign

Don’t get me wrong, though. God has His own purposes and timing, and we can’t just get whatever we want because we believe that God will give it to us. Belief doesn’t answer prayers – God does. And He obviously isn’t going to say “yes” to every request. We can’t, for example, pray to win the lottery and then quit our jobs in expectation of taking home millions of dollars. Likewise, when we don’t get what we pray for, it isn’t necessarily that we don’t have the “faith” to receive it. Sometimes God says “Yes,” sometimes it’s “No,” and sometimes it’s “wait.” 

In fact, taking belief to the extreme is one of the very dangerous end-time deceptions. There is something called the “Word of Faith movement” that would seek to “decree and declare” things into existence. Leader Kenneth Hagin once said, “You can have whatever you say…You always get in your life what you believe for and what you say.” For example, someone might say, “I decree and declare God’s blessings on this road trip that my car will remain mechanically sound for the duration of the trip.” But this isn’t a prayer at all. In fact, it’s more like an end run around God. Plus, there are a lot of similarities to a magical incantation. If you want more information about this movement or why it isn’t biblical, Got Questions has a great article on it here

God does, however, promise to answer every prayer prayed in His will. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” When we ask for things that we know that He wants for us, such as prayers prayed straight from the Bible (like the verses above), we can be sure that He will answer when we believe.

The Bible Is Clear: Pray Believing

  • Matthew 21:22: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
  • Mark 11:24: ” Therefore I say unto you, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’”

Until the day when we meet the Lord face to face, we must continue to pray believing. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” When we seek the Lord, pray in His will, and believe that we have our petitions, we can step out in faith to receive the reward of our prayers.

Blogs About Prayer

In the four years since the Lord has given me this blog, I have written several blogs about prayer. Here is a list you can skim to see if any might appeal or apply to you.

Lessons About Prayer

9 Reasons God Doesn’t Hear Our Prayers (and the one reason He does) – Explores the Bible verses that explicitly state when God will and won’t hear our prayers and what His qualifications are for answering them. 

3 Lessons from Those Who Didn’t Pray Believing – Chronicles three different Bible characters who prayed without belief: Balaam (the guy with the talking donkey), King Saul, and the Disciples.

3 Lessons from a Prayer that Changed Everything – King Jehoshaphat of Judah prayed a prayer that was answered mightily by God. There are three distinct characteristics from his prayer that we can learn for our own prayers today. 

What My Dog Taught Me About God’s Timing – My German Shepherd taught me a lesson about perseverance in prayer. 

Psalm 107: God Hears the Cries of the Desperate – A closer look at Psalm 107. There are four categories of people the Psalm lists as desperate enough to cry out to the Lord. Sometimes, we can’t fix things for ourselves. We have to get desperate and give Him the glory as the only one who can help.  

Specific Prayers You Can Pray

A New Prayer for Wisdom and Three Impressions from God – How to pray for wisdom and 3 pieces of advice about how to deal wisely with the things of God. 

A New Way to Pray: Show Me How to Move the Match – We often don’t know what we don’t know. Sometimes, we may have to ask God to open our eyes to the truth in a given situation. 

“Make My Will Thy Will” – A New Way to Pray – A God-wink story about the time God taught me a new way to pray to get what I want more of the time. 

Hope for Lost Loved Ones: God’s Mercy in Trials – The story of King Manasseh of Judah. It’s also a new way to pray for lost loved ones. We can pray they have a “Manasseh moment.”

In Evangelism, Pray for Holy Spirit Fire – An analogy about fire and evangelism. No one comes to the Father except the Spirit draws him/her.  

Redeeming the Time: Pray for a Cookie Pan Life – God dealt with me about the way I viewed time. He also gave me a prayer to pray to do better. 

Prayer Testimonies

God Answered the Prayer I Didn’t Pray – The time I prayed very specifically for strength. God showed me that there is more than one way that God can answer the prayers of our hearts. 

A Testimony of Healing After a Prayer in Faith – The Lord encouraged me to ask for prayer for an injury. Then He had me gather all the Bible verses about healing and pray them in faith.

God Knows Even When You Don’t, So Pray – A time when I felt helpless to fix a big problem at work. Then God dealt with my heart to pray, and everything changed from there. 

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4 thoughts on “When You Pray Believing, You Will Receive”

  1. Yes, I can relate to this as I had to deal with this very issue this weekend, when my grandson had his first anaphylactic seizure after consuming a health drink at the gym that had peanut butter put into it. The doctors had previously told my daughter that he didn’t need an epipen because he would be okay however they proved to be very wrong indeed. It was his 20th birthday on Saturday & he & his brother had gone to the gym for a workout when this happened & they don’t carry a pen for emergencies. He phoned his mother & told her that he was having a seizure & was trying to get an ambulance. Her friend phoned her at the same time as she was trying to find out what was in the drink as well as phone for an ambulance, also phone his brother as well to find out where he was, so she quickly told her friend what had happened & where he was so she & her husband rushed up there straight away with a pen as their son is also anaphylactic & they just got there before the ambulance & he was about to give him the pen when they arrived so he stopped & they took over. They took a photo of Shaun & sent it to my daughter to show her that he was okay at that stage.
    When my daughter came to my room & told me my first prayer was ‘please Father couldn’t someone call out over the loud speaker & ask if anyone has an epipen to give him’. Then I started praying like crazy that the Lord would save him but my natural fear was so great that I would lose him on his birthday that there was a raging battle going on in my mind. ‘Lord I do believe, I know that you are a good & gracious loving God & will answer me with a yes.’ but then my natural mind was saying, He doesn’t have to, Shaun isn’t walking as a Christian, bad things can happen to good people… It was an awful time of waiting & trying to shut down the negative thoughts & concentrate on just believing God had heard my plea & that He had answered it with a resounding yes.
    By the time he got to hospital some 10 minutes later his face was very puffed up & his neck veins protruding as the ambulance lady took a photo of it to show him what he looked like, however, by the time my daughter arrived at the outpatients ward probably 45 minutes or more later he was looking a lot better. She too was struggling & said that when she arrived she saw an old school friend of my granddaughter who had gone on to become a nurse walking down the footpath from the hospital, she was going to ignore her but then felt prompted to say hello, so she did & Cassie recognized her & said to her, ‘have you come to see Shaun? He is okay!’ Cathie passed this message onto us over the phone, so all of us were now able to calm down & start praising God for answering our prayers. Then it was a very long four hour wait until they came home from the hospital at nearly 8 pm. So we had his birthday cake singalong at 9pm Saturday night. Finally life was back to normal & I found myself now able to start relaxing completely & settle down so that I could go to bed.
    For me I think the lesson was that yes, emotions immediately rise up when something like this happens & your loved one is faced with death but the Lord knows this is going to happen & just waits for the initial shock to wear off so that we can call upon Him with clarity of mind & put our trust in His will for the situation. In this case the Lord I think, was showing me that He had already answered my prayer that someone would come forward with an epipen for Shaun & Cathie’s friend ringing just at that precise moment & doing just that showed me that the Lord had all the bases covered & that He knew what was happening & had it all under control. That He is a faithful Father who truly loves us & wants only to give us good tidings. You see I never had a dad like this as a child & have always struggled with my Father in heaven not being like my earthly father. Now I know that I can completely trust Him with the lives of my children & grandchildren & my great granddaughter.

    1. Wow! Praise God! He is so good to us. What a wonderful testimony of a faithful Father just waiting for us to call on Him to give us good things. I’m so glad your grandson is okay and ended up with a good birthday after all!

      1. There is a follow on to this story…
        My daughter was waiting for her hubby to go to the hospital with her but he rang her from the golf course to say that he wasn’t well enough to go to the hospital as he had a head cold so she went on her own. I opened the front door to let him in & he looked really sick as he is asthmatic as well. He took himself upstairs to his bedroom & I thought no more about it. Of course when Shaun arrived home we all gathered together in the kitchen to sing happy birthday etc & my son in law was with us. My g/daughter was also sick with yet another cold. So we parted company & all went to bed.
        Sunday afternoon my daughter pops her head in my door to tell me that she had rung Andrew’s boss to tell him he was too sick to come to work the next day & she said his boss said, ‘That’s okay, we have a number of men off this week as they are all down with covid!’ So she went & got her test kit & checked Andrew out & yes, you guessed it!! He had covid!
        So my granddaughter Laura also had it as well as Paige, my older grandson’s partner.
        Tuesday morning Cathie rang her school to say she wouldn’t be in as she felt that she was also coming down with covid which she did on Wednesday & it affected her legs as she couldn’t get them comfortable.
        Thursday Andrew went back to work & that evening both Shaun & I started to show symptoms. It attacked my autoimmune issues, so my arthritis flared up, the cramping in my hands as well. It played havoc with my low stomach bile issues. Friday morning I had developed a splitting headache across the forehead, my left nostril ran like a tap & to top it off my tinnitus was roaring in my left ear. Overall I have been very tired, otherwise fine. Each day I would wake up wondering what stage I was in that day as lying in bed I felt quite okay until I got up & moved about.
        Today, Monday morning I have a lot of phlegm & yet no cold or anything. The tinnitus is still loud but not as deafening. If I sit still I am fine, move about or bend over & I start coughing muck. So it hasn’t finished with me yet. So maybe tomorrow I will wake up & it will be finally a thing of the past. Still I praise the Lord that mine is a mild case compared to the others. I am just concerned about the phlegm as it is frightening when it comes up from nowhere & you can’t get rid of it quick enough to breathe. But my confidence is in my heavenly Father that He is watching over me & that I have nothing to fear.
        This is my third bout with the virus & each time the Lord has been good & I haven’t had it anywhere near as bad as the rest of the family who have all had the injections. That also includes flu injections etc. I don’t believe in them & build my health up with good food & take supplements to enhance my immune system & have lived this way for most of my adult life rarely ever getting sick & then only mildly. However, this virus was man made & so doesn’t behave naturally but Greater is He that is within me than he who is in the world!! Blessings.

      2. What a great testimony to the goodness of the Lord. He takes good care of His children! I will pray for your speedy healing, Sis (and the rest of your family too)!🙏🏼

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