When Prayer is Evidence of Doubt

The question that Jesus asked Martha leaps off the page every time I read the story. Martha, in the midst of anguish and grief, was confronted with a question. She believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and she knew Jesus as healer, yet this time, it was too late! Four days dead! Beyond the point of healing! 

“Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”   John 11:40

One day this past spring while I praying, the Holy Spirit interrupted my prayer almost immediately, and He said to me, “Your prayer is evidence of your doubt, not your faith.” OUCH! I must say, I stopped praying and began to ponder.

Jesus told Martha a little earlier in the day, “Your brother will rise again.” Yet she had never witnessed Jesus raising anyone from the dead, so therefore had no context to believe His statement to be literal for that day.

On this journey of faith and growing in the knowledge of our Heavenly Father, sometimes we can miss-interpret something the Holy Spirit has said to us. We wonder as time passes, with no breakthrough, “did I really hear Him right?”

Doubts creep in and take over, steering our gaze off of the Father and on to the ‘impossibility’ of the situation before us. Before long we find ourselves standing in the sin of unbelief. We may think we are still operating in faith as we ask over and over for something. There is a time and place for contending and not giving up in prayer, yet there is also that place where our doubt fuels our prayers more than our faith does. 

I love what Jesus said to His disciples before He arrived on the scene with Martha and Mary. He said, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe.”

Wow, “FOR YOUR SAKE.” It benefits us to be in situations that cause us to grow in belief of the great I AM.  When we are screaming out, “where are you God? Why are you waiting to recue me or my loved one?” Can His waiting really be for our benefit? Jesus did not go to Lazarus as soon as He heard of his death, but waited.

He always has a plan we cannot see or fully understand, but can we trust in the great I AM, who has forever conquered death with life?

Sometimes instead of praying more, we need to pray less, and just stand. Stand in the confidence that His word spoken to us will come about.  

Jesus never stood at the tomb of death asking God to raise Lazarus. He stood, thanked God, and shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” He commanded to happen what He had already been shown by His Father.

It sounds strange to say, but I have been growing in prayer by praying less. Instead of “begging” for what I believe I or someone else may need, I am simply standing firm, thanking God, and calling forth what He has already shown me.

Gretchen Teerling