Why Won’t God Answer My Prayer?

Where belief is absent, doubt replaces faith; without faith, belief is selfish expectation.

Todd Beal

I am often puzzled at the dismay people feel when God doesn’t answer their prayers according to their will. Every successful relationship, bar none, requires each person tune in to the benefit of the other. Yet how many times, under the guise of prayer, do we demand of God – treating him as our personal Genie who waits to comply with our “authoritative, all powerful” beckon call – instead of praying according to his will, as led by the Holy Spirit who is also God. Both non-Christians and selfish Christians alike pray strictly from belief, not God-given faith, and belief apart from faith is selfish expectation, the surest of barriers between us and God. Conversely, belief based on God-given faith guarantees answer to prayer, but is possible only by aligning our heart, mind, and spirit with God’s will through obedient humble submission to his will.

God’s plan and God’s will work hand in hand, and when we are not in tune with God’s will, our prayers go against God’s plan. When God gives faith for a specific situation – his promissory note of inevitability – and if we then exercise belief in that faith, God will answer our prayer 100% of the time, bar none. However, the degree to which God honors the specific details of our prayer depends entirely upon the degree to which our prayer is wholly aligned with his will for that situation.

So, if I am to know for certain that God will answer my prayer according to the specific details of my prayer, I must first, through obedient humble submission, align my heart, mind, and spirit with God’s will. His will becomes my will, allowing me to know his will, and thereby pray according to his will, not mine. And second, I must exercise belief in the situation-specific faith God gives to me – the result; answered prayer, because belief based on God-given faith = answered prayer 100% of the time, bar none. The answer to my prayer, according to the specifics of my prayer, is on its way because God wills it according to his plan. My prayer is already answered, and all that remains is thanking, praising, and worshipping him for staying true to his promise, the promise given me by his situation-specific provision of faith.

Where belief is absent, doubt replaces faith; without faith, belief is selfish expectation.

see related Truth Behind Reality article: Is Faith the Same as Trust or Belief?

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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52 Responses to Why Won’t God Answer My Prayer?

  1. Tom Britsch says:

    I don’t normally do this but I have a couple of questions. Is faith “God-given?” Is it something He gives to us or requires FROM us? If God gives it, does He give you more than He gives me? What I have faith in defines my belief system. I could have faith in money; I could have faith in power; I could have faith in the power of the human mind to achieve all things. My faith defines who I am. So I guess for me it is more a matter of who or what I have faith in. For so many of us today our faith is in conversation. We “say” we have faith in God. But as you suggest that is more of a fairy-tale faith. One that causes us to pull God out of our pocket when ever we feel we need help in an area where we don’t know what to do and we expect Him to respond like the genie in the bottle and fulfill our every wish.

    For me it is a matter of who you have faith in. I have faith in the one true God, the creator God, the God who was before all other Gods. The power is his, not mine. His ability to provide is not linked to my ability to “believe.” If you have faith in THE God you will realize that “asking prayers” are a very small part of your prayer life. In our western mind set when we say “prayer” we are indicating I was asking for something.

    We are like children who “want.” The wants never end. I want, I want, I want. God says He loves us more than our earthly father and just like your earthly father God knows (even more) that you can’t possibly have everything you are constantly asking for. It is not in your best interest. Gifted (those that receive much muchness) and entitled children become brats. Our maturity, as you suggest, comes from the aligning of our will to God’s will. And to stop trying to figure out how to align His will with ours.

    In God’s program He gives us grace but the faith is ours. And like a parent He would like to have us have complete faith in Him, complete trust. He doesn’t give faith He grows it. We are the ones who have to learn to “faith” God. If I have a cup of faith and you have a gallon of faith; this is more of an indication of how much each of us is willing to allow God to dominate our lives than it is an indication of how much faith He has “given” to each of us. He promises grace, we have to bring the faith.

    I have spent all this time and have not asked you for one thing. We need more times like this with God………….prayer.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Tom,

      Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as the following: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

      We can believe in something, but we cannot give ourselves the assurance (or promise) of something that we hope for. We also cannot give ourselves the conviction (or evidence) of things not seen. Faith, as used in the context of this post, is God’s promissory note of guarantee, just as we use paper currency that represents a guaranteed real value. I can believe that something is true all day long, but unless that belief is founded on faith (our guarantee), that belief is worthless. As a quick test of this, can a Muslim extremist have faith that their Jihad is of God, the One True God? No, they cannot because they do not worship the One True God – their god is Allah the Moon god, hence the moon on their flag. They instead ardently believe, without faith, that their Jihad is of Allah, the god they believe to be the One True God.

      The following Wikipedia article Faith in Christianity says regarding Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith (pi’stis) is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” This passage concerning the function of faith in relation to the covenant of God is often used as a definition of faith. Υποστασις (hy-po’sta-sis), translated “assurance” here, commonly appears in ancient papyrus business documents, conveying the idea that a covenant is an exchange of assurances which guarantees the future transfer of possessions described in the contract. In view of this, James Hope Moulton and George Milligan suggest the rendering: “Faith is the title deed of things hoped for” (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, 1963, p. 660). The Greek word e´leg-khos, rendered “conviction” in Hebrews 11:1 (ESV), conveys the idea of bringing forth evidence that demonstrates something, particularly something contrary to what appears to be the case. Thereby this evidence makes clear what has not been discerned before and so refutes what has only appeared to be the case. This evidence for conviction is so positive or powerful that it is described as faith.

      This faith, as described above, is the meaning to which I am referring in this post. Faith in this context is not trust or belief, but is a powerful divine gift that we humans are simply incapable of granting ourselves, much less growing it. However, the measure of faith given to us is directly proportionate to our degree of submission and obedience to God. This grows our capacity to receive faith, not grow faith.

      The whole point of this post is to say, faith is the guarantee upon which we pray, and contained within that faith is what we are to claim through prayer, as prompted by the Holy Spirit – it may be wisdom, healing for a loved one, increased love for God, understanding of a particular scripture, etc. Whatever the issue we are praying about, if we receive faith regarding that issue, and in turn believe the promise contained in that faith, our prayer will be according to God’s will, and therefore answered exactly according to what we pray. Prayer does not need to be a, “I hope this is what I am to pray for”, session. Through faith we know for certain what to pray for, and know for certain that what we pray for will surely manifest according to our prayer.

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      • pbus1 says:

        Todd,

        Surely, we cannot give ourselves the assurance of something we hope for. “Faith can be nothing of self. Faith demands that everything be of God.” Like you, I believe, that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The conviction of things not seen.”

        Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” One commentary states it this way: such ought to consider that what gifts, abilities, light and knowledge they have, they have not of themselves, but from God; that they have not all faith, and all knowledge, or do not know the whole of the faith of the Gospel, only a measure of it, which is divided and parted to every man; some have a greater degree of evangelical life than others, and all have some, but none all.”

        I am certainly aware, that we humans, are incapable of granting ourselves faith, much less, growing it. The Bible says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Also, the word of God says, “for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” I’ve never heard of, “growing faith.” My point is, that our faith can increase, as we follow on to know the Lord, which isn’t very different from what you were saying, when you spoke of, “situation-specific faith.”

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        • Todd Beal says:

          Paulette,

          | My point is, that our faith can increase, as we follow on to know the Lord, which isn’t very different from what you were saying, when you spoke of, “situation-specific faith.” |

          I agree that our faith can increase. However, we must distinguish between the common usage of the word “faith” (trust) and “situation-specific” faith (God-given ironclad guarantee). Our trust in God is on our own shoulders, and it is our responsibility to constantly grow it. However, we can think of “situation-specific” faith as a situation-specific covenant delivered by God to us, whether through active prayer or through a prayerful mindset, that says, “[God Speaking] My will is that you pray for ‘this’ because it is my will to bring ‘this’ to fruition. And if you believe (trust) in this ironclad guarantee, my promise, and pray according to this my will, I will answer your prayer specifically according to your prayer.” God decides the size of this type of faith on a case by case basis according to his plan for a given situation. However, back to your point about growing faith, the more we increase (or grow) our trust in the LORD, through obedience and answer to prayer, the greater we grow our capacity to receive greater and greater situation-specific ironclad covenants from God.

          Paulette, I just had a lightening bolt thought. I believe that the healthy interplay of these two different manifestations of faith – our faith (or trust) and God’s provision of faith (or covenant) – forms the basis, or requisite of, our relationship with him. Boy, I don’t have the whole thing worked out but something tells me this may be the foundational dynamic essence of the whole Bible, Old and New Testament.

          Paulette thanks for dropping back by and leaving your comment. I can’t thank you enough for giving me this rare opportunity. This is very, very fundamental, and I believe that once I completely understand it, this will change people’s lives, including my own. Thanks so much for your passion for God!

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    • Pj says:

      Tom, thank you. In my life I needed sound and clear words of wisdom which I found here. Thanks for the strength in your words

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  2. This is so very true, Todd, and I’m grateful for your ability to express it so clearly. Some people pray using “vain repetitions” just because it’s what they were trained to do, or for the comfort of hearing their own voice. Others truly seek communion and communication with a Being capable of and willing to respond. Some “give it a try” and if they don’t immediately get what they want, or if something “bad” happens, deduce that a benevolent god can’t possibly exist.

    It is work to have faith. To believe in a God who not only knows each of us in intimate detail, but has ultimate power, wisdom and a desire to give us exactly what is best for us is one challenge. Developing a willingness and ability to ACCEPT the workings of that power and wisdom requires another level of faith, as you describe.

    Since God knows so much more about me than I ever will, my desires and perception of what is best for me will often be very different–sometimes diametrically opposed, to his desires for me and knowledge of what is best for me. If I feel pain, my first thought is to pray for relief. But what if his plan for me requires an extended battle with pain, through which I gain insight and empathy for others in pain? My prayer might best be for the strength to endure and patiently learn the lessons in the divine mind for me.

    As you put it so well, seeking God’s will, aligning our hearts and allowing his will to become ours, is the path to true communication and personal revelation in response to every prayer. It requires not only prayer of the speaking and asking kind, but of the listening and thanking kind. It requires meditation. It requires patience and time. God’s timelines are far different from ours. What we seek may be months, years, decades away, or not even in our master plan at all. What we should pray for above all else is a knowledge of what to pray for.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      | …seeking God’s will, aligning our hearts and allowing his will to become ours, is the path to true communication and personal revelation in response to every prayer. It requires not only prayer of the speaking and asking kind, but of the listening and thanking kind. It requires meditation. It requires patience and time. God’s timelines are far different from ours. What we seek may be months, years, decades away, or not even in our master plan at all. What we should pray for above all else is a knowledge of what to pray for. |

      Michael, thank you very much for your entire comment – what a great addition to this post. Your last paragraph especially moved me, including the following excerpts:

      • “It requires not only prayer of the speaking and asking kind, but of the listening and thanking kind.”
      • “What we should pray for above all else is a knowledge of what to pray for.”

      This knowledge of what to pray for is always contained in God’s provision of situation-specific faith.

      Michael, I really appreciate your wisdom-filled comments. I also really appreciate your dedication to truth. Your fellowship here on Truth Behind Reality enriches my life, and I thank you.

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  4. Pat says:

    Wonderful post!!

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Thanks Pat! I am certainly glad you found this post helpful, and do hope you will make Truth Behind Reality one of your regular stops. You may wish to view previous posts on the Post History page. Also, My Story explains where I am coming from on Truth Behind Reality.

      Thanks again for the visit.

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  6. Mary Waynick says:

    I meant to respond to this earlier and didn’t. I agree with your friend who says “It is work to have faith”…..I believe God always answers prayer…..sometimes ‘yes’, sometimes ‘no’, sometimes ‘not yet’. When we don’t get the answer we are seeking, we wonder why God hasn’t answered our prayer. ‘No’ and “not yet’ require patience and more faith, but I have live long enough to see that ultimately, those were the best answers because we could not know the future and see what God already knows. Love reading your post though; it’s food for thought. Thanks, Todd!

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Mary,

      One thing I will point out; if God says no in response to our prayer, then our prayer was not according to his will. The Bible makes clear that it is God’s will to make his will known to his believers. God does not play games with us. He does not say, “Pray this, for it is my will”, only to turn the tables on us, and say “No, not this time”. When we ask God for the faith to pray (his answer-to-prayer covenant, or title deed), he gives us what to pray for in order to make his will manifest. Therefore, God will never say, “Pray this so that I can answer no.” If we are receiving “no” answers to our prayers, we are praying according to our will, not God’s which is given through his provision of situation-specific faith.

      I always ask God for the faith to pray before I pray (if I don’t have it already) about something specific, and then I wait for that inner assuredness of what to pray, the inner assuredness that only his provision of faith provides. Then and only then do I proceed with my prayer, otherwise it is a useless prayer because it is according to my will, not God’s. If we first ask God for his will about something for which we desire to pray, and open our self to that will (even if we don’t like it), and then pray according to that will, God will answer our prayer, according to our prayer, every single time bar none.

      Whether it be a dying or severely injured loved one, finances, understanding of a particular scripture, who to marry, what job to take or leave, or anything else, we must always stop dead in our tracks before making our petition, and ask our self, “Is it God’s will that I pray this or is it mine?” If it is God’s will, he will give us absolute certainty through faith, if we only ask.

      During all the worker layoffs two years ago, I was called back to work but on third shift. Third shift and I don’t work well together but I was so grateful to have an income, I joyfully accepted the callback. As time went on, I grew increasingly despondent. I couldn’t make it to church, I couldn’t see my family, I had no social life, and my sleep/wake cycle was upside down from how I naturally operate.

      One particular Tuesday, I suddenly realized, “It is no longer a matter of hating third shift. I’m spent, depressed and very lonely, and I simply cannot go on.” All of a sudden out of nowhere, I stopped in front of my machine and said, “God, I am done with third shift. I can’t do it anymore. I will not continue. I am claiming in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that you will take me off third shift.” That Friday, the plant operations manager walked up to me and said, “I’m not going to keep you on third shift. I’m putting you on first shift.” That rocked my world. I cannot possibly explain what a powerful experience that was for me. I knew that I knew that I knew, God would transfer me off third shift, and he did, permanently. Praise his holy eternal name! That is situation-specific faith, faith that only God can give, and all I did was trust it.

      Thanks a lot for stopping by, Mary, and thanks for your comment.

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  8. SURE says:

    God can’t lie, yet when one prays and does not get an answer, isnt that like God doing what He says He is going to do, is to answer our prayers? He says ask anything in His name and it will be granted,,the real meaning of that is If he dont have it He will make it for us..SO.. when a prayer is not answerd. and we do what the word says then where is God and why dont our prayers get answerd like He says He will. BAR NONE.. He says HE loves us more than we love our kids.. well if my kids need something or want something and I have the power to give it to them.. I WILL AND WOULD.. SO HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD GOD ANSWER OUR PRAYERS IF HE LOVES US SO MUCH??? GO FIGURE……….

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    • Todd Beal says:

      I addressed this very issue in the post, Is Faith the Same as Trust or Belief?.

      The verse to which you are referring with your statement, “Ask anything in his name and it will be granted”, is John 14:13. This is one of those verses where the meaning depends entirely on the surrounding context. Take a look at the accompanying verses: John 14:12-14 [NASB] [12] “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. [13] And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. [14] You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” You will notice that the first prerequisite for asking anything of God is faith in him. The second prerequisite is to ask of God in Jesus’ name. At first glance, this seems like a no brainer:  “If I just believe that God will give what I ask, he will give it to me if I pray in Jesus name.” However, contrary to common belief, faith is not belief. Faith is the evidence (or conviction), and assurance, given by God that something indeed was, is, or will be the case.

      Hebrews 11:1 [NASB] defines faith as follows: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Belief is our responsibility; faith is given only by God. So if we ask anything in Jesus’ name through faith (the assurance, or conviction, given by God that it is his will we specifically ask for something), 1 John 14:12-14 promises we will receive it every single time, bar none, if we believe (not doubt) the specific promise of that faith. Only God can show us what to pray, and he does so by providing faith for a specific situation so that what we pray is according to his will, not our natural desires. After all, when our will is directly in line with his will, his will is our will. 1 John 14:12-14 does not say, “Ask whatever your natural desires compel you to ask.” It says that through faith alone in the name of Jesus Christ, our prayers are answered. In our natural fallen state, we know only what we want but not what we truly need. God sees to it that what we receive is truly what we need. That is why he gives us faith for a specific situation or circumstance. When we pray according to the promise given in that faith, we pray according to his perfect will, not our fallen desires, and receive what we ask every time, bar none.

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  9. Briefly, prayer is to guide us align our will and not vice versa. Faith grows by our faithfulness and whether we see the whole picture or not, the certainly that HE knows is vastly rewarded. A brilliant write-up!

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  10. I was going through a very difficult time in my life. I was confused, upset and hurt to the core of my being. I was reading self-help and motivational books and trying to figure out what God wanted of me. I had tried hard to do what I believed he wanted. I was suffering and worried all the time. The worst part of it all is that I needed to pray and I no longer knew what I should be praying for.

    He said ask and you will receive.

    I realized that I had no idea what to ask for at all. I was getting lost and empty and could not understand why He would tell me to ask for what I wanted and all of these terrible things were happening to me and to my family. I was tormented.

    I know that God is all about love and truth and provision.

    Jeremiah 9:24
    24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

    I believed this about God. I had faith in Him. I no longer had any faith in myself. Not even enough faith to know what to ask of Him.

    I knew that God knows me completely. He knows what I have been through; He knows what I am going through; He knows where I am going and He knows what I need.

    One day, I decided to really put my Trust in Him. I prayed, “Lord, please give me what is best for me at this time”

    That became my prayer and is still my prayer. It changed my life.

    When I was trying so hard to be in control of my life, I was often disappointed and overwhelmed by circumstances. I would ask for something and it did not happen the way I wanted it and I was losing faith in my relationship with the Lord. I knew that He was God and perfect in all His ways but I began to look for what was wrong with me that caused Him not to do what I asked of Him. I felt a huge distance between us.

    Now I know that it is all about how good God is and not about how good I am.

    After I put the Lord in charge of my life’s circumstances; when something would happen, I would look at it and wonder how this could possibly be the best thing for me in my life at this time. I would look for the good in the new circumstances and how they could be good for me.

    I began to see the Lord working in my life in ways that I had never seen before.

    Changes in circumstances became necessary and perfect to move me along on the path. He had a purpose and a plan for my life before I was even born. He knew where I was going and exactly what it would take to get me there.

    It often hurt so much to have people and things I loved and wanted removed from my life. I would sometimes cry rivers of tears and wonder how I would ever survive what was happening to me. I would think of Job and wonder just how bad my circumstances were going to get.

    Then I would find that what had been taken away was necessary for me to move forward and mature. Life has seasons and times; things change and it is the process we all go through.

    So often we just want circumstances to stay the same or to improve, but we don’t want the changes to occur that get us there.

    To move forward, we have to let go of existing circumstances and relationships. To let go, we have to Trust the Lord. As we Trust Him more and more, we find that our relationship with Him has become so close and so vital that we realize He is our Life and He is more than sufficient.

    Acts 17:28
    For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      [Then I would find that what had been taken away was necessary for me to move forward and mature. Life has seasons and times; things change and it is the process we all go through.

      So often we just want circumstances to stay the same or to improve, but we don’t want the changes to occur that get us there.

      To move forward, we have to let go of existing circumstances and relationships. To let go, we have to Trust the Lord. As we Trust Him more and more, we find that our relationship with Him has become so close and so vital that we realize He is our Life and He is more than sufficient. ]

      Elizabeth,

      What you have said here has been my guiding philosophy since 2007. Prior to that time I could not understand why – just when I began to achieve mastery over them – I would always lose that direct powerful means to laser-focus in on those very things I worked so hard to achieve and maintain within myself: philosophically productive and efficient modes of thinking; inarguable methods for reasoning through a situation-centric truth; ‘x-ray’ logic to pierce through to the heart of any matter, etc. But it suddenly hit me one day: “The only thing that stays the same is change, and that’s forever.”

      I began to finally understand the broad meaning of this trend when replying to the inquiries of Lance Ponder, Fr. Robert, and Michael Knudsen, here, after an extended absence from blogging due to a massive change in my eyesight (see My Story). Through my replies to them, I realized that I never lose these abilities God gives to me: he simply moves them from ‘front and center’ into a supporting role other than ‘front and center’.

      We never lose a life-changing gift from God; he simply moves them around from one degree of prominence to another, depending on the significance their role plays in our current development, our current period of life.

      Understanding this really set me free. It made me realize that God does not ever give something of essential internal value only to later take it back. He simply supplies what we need for a particular set of circumstances, for a particular life-period. And when it is time for us to move on, he gives us a new gift while moving the one previous into some other supporting role.

      When we cling to physical objects, life circumstances, and personal abilities, we blind ourselves to the all-encompassing life mission God uniquely purposed for us from the beginning. Each something, each ‘everything’ in our life is but one unique element within the broad spectrum of God’s personally designed plan for our life.

      Elizabeth, it does me good to read your historical progression of submitting to God’s will. Thank you for this.

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      • Todd, I am so glad I have found you. My life has been very different than most and it is difficult to find someone who understands who I have become. Your writing goes to my essence.

        I read and study to find the essence of ideas, things and people.

        God would bring something or someone new into my life and I would become absorbed in it until I would finally “get it”.

        I started with the Bible when I was 11. I came back to the Bible when I was 50.

        The journey in between has covered many, many subjects. I found them all to have some measure of truth in them but in essence, they were lacking substance. Under close examination they would prove false. I could not base my life on them; they were like building on shifting sand.

        When I came back to Scripture, I understood it in ways I never could have before my search through what the world offers as wisdom and truth.

        I believe that I have been rigorously trained to do battle for men’s souls. I have no idea where that battle is to occur, when it is to be fought or how I will be put into position. I don’t even know if I am to simply continue to fight alone for one soul at a time. I just want to do the part that God has purposed and planned for me..

        I see people buying guns and gold and preparing food and shelter for survival. I have none of that.

        The battleground is words. Words are how Satan tempted Adam and Eve. Words are how Satan tempted Jesus and Jesus responded with words. Jesus is the Word and that is why Satan imitates Him by way of words. The Bible is the Word of God.

        True words are a rare find in this world and I find truth in your words. I am delighted that God has introduced us.

        Elizabeth

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        • Todd Beal says:

          | I started with the Bible when I was 11. I came back to the Bible when I was 50. |

          Except for these particular ages in your life, I could attach my name to your comment and call it my own – the whole thing – because what you said has also been my personal life experience.

          I was raised in the church, including Christian schools (K-12, except the last semester of my High School senior year) but went off the deep end beginning the summer of 1985. I submitted myself back to God in 2004 but I did not own my own personally chosen Bible until fall 2007. I was hungry, starving, to devour all of scripture to the nth degree. The more I discovered, the more I knew I lacked. The more truth I gleaned, the more I realized my inability to understand pure Truth without the Holy Spirit guiding every aspect of my thinking.

          Often times when I would get stuck, I would stop everything and ask God to give me the understanding I needed. I would simply stop and quietly wait until my heart and mind began to pour out the answer to my question. And every time, bar none, I would feel such a selfless awesome humility, knowing I could have never come up with those answers unless God’s Holy Spirit was flowing through me. To this day, I get tears in my eyes and feel a deep sense of undeserving when I receive my answers this way, and once again relive those moments of personal surrender.

          For years, I asked God, “Please show me what I am supposed to do. Whatever it is, I will do it. Just please show me how to live out these talents and abilities you gave me. I want to make a difference.” The beginning of God’s answer to my prayer was him giving me the ability to write this blog, an ability I did not have prior to October 2010. The other part of that answered prayer was God providing my current job. I mostly work with individuals who have had a very rough life. I have never had the opportunity to live my everyday life as a living witness to so many spiritually hungry people. You said, “The battleground is words. Words are how Satan tempted Adam and Eve. Words are how Satan tempted Jesus and Jesus responded with words. Jesus is the Word and that is why Satan imitates Him by way of words. The Bible is the Word of God.” I agree. I now know that my personal calling is to represent Truth through words, spoken and written, and to walk the talk that my words are saying.

          You said, “True words are a rare find in this world and I find truth in your words. I am delighted that God has introduced us.” These also are my thoughts about what you have written here on Truth Behind Reality and it is good to have you here sharing your journey and insight. Thanks again Elizabeth.

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  11. Lester Zympth says:

    You know, every response that I have read is filled with excuses for why God does not answer prayer. So with that said…

    If we must follow God’s Will then we have NO FREE WILL. If we have to follow God’s will then our life is predetermined. So why even pray.

    There are numerous places in the Bible that state ask for anything you want having faith and you will have it. There are no other requirements that Jesus adds to this. And don’t start with Old Testament as a way to explain things, because when Jesus came, it changed everything. He is the light and the way, period, end of story. Plus this nonsense that God says no, or not now, or wait,that is all man made dogma, Jesus never said that. If you pray for something that does not bring harm to others, then we are suppose to have our prayers answered. So please people, stop making excuses, I don’t care if you know the Bible inside and out and can recite it chapter and verse, you nor anyone else on the face of this earth know why some people have their prayers answered, and other’s prayers fall on deaf ears. By the way, the Gospels are suppose to be the words of Jesus, everything else is suspect because it’s man’s interpretation. And please don’t use Paul as a reference, he was a lunatic. He stated things that oppose what Jesus said.

    People like you who make excuses why prayer is not being answered are doing more harm than good for people who are suffering. It’s bad enough they are suffering from sickness or really deplorable life circumstances, but then you people start spewing this nonsense and make them even more forlorn. Shame on all of you.

    There are people who are morally good people, and people who are scum of the earth that are blessed everyday, both of which haven’t seen the inside of a church in years and never looked inside a Bible in their lives. Though as I said, they don’t even pray and they are blessed with love and abundance in every way, everyday. So stop with the nonsense that they have sins that they haven’t confessed to God, or not having enough faith. You know, it’s really hard for a person to have faith when their prayers are constantly ignored.

    So instead of parroting what some else said, just admit that you don’t know why prayers are not answered, just like you don’t know when the end of the world is coming. And please, stop quoting the bible out of context.

    By the way, where did you get the idea that asking for something is selfish expectation don’t we pray the Our Father, “give us this day our daily bread.” We don’t pray, “please” give us this day our daily bread…

    God does not want us to suffer, according to Jesus. In fact doesn’t Jesus say my yoke is light, as in not burdensome. Remember, Jesus died for our sins on the cross so we would be forgiven.

    As I said, not one of you who has posted here knows why God answers the prayers of some, and ignores others. So please stop with your speculation, because not one of you happens to know the answer, I don’t care how many Bible study groups you belong to.

    Actually, the lot of you are pretty arrogant, thinking that you can answer the question of unanswered prayer. It takes a lot of pride and ego to think you can answer for the Devine Power who created everything in existence. All I can do is sit here and shake my head reading these pitiful answers.

    And by the way, I know of very few people who demand anything from God, plead, beg, beseech as a child asking a father, yes, demand, no. People who ask for God’s help are either scared, or beaten into the ground, or both. they are not arrogant and pious much like the author of the article is, they are humble and hurting. I once asked a Catholic Priest why God doesn’t answer prayers? His response was as honest as I’ve ever heard, his response was, “No one knows.” So please people come down off your high horses, no one knows the answer to why God doesn’t answer prayers. You people keep trying to make it seem as though there were some magic formula, and there’s not.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Lester,

      Please see the related post, “Is Faith the Same as Trust or Belief?”. You could think of it as part A of this post. A firm understanding of faith is crucial for a strong relationship with Christ. It is also crucial to understanding the point of this particular post.

      [If we must follow God’s Will then we have NO FREE WILL. If we have to follow God’s will then our life is predetermined. So why even pray.]

      You are very adamant that Christ’s words are the only credible part of the gospel. You said, “…the Gospels are suppose to be the words of Jesus, everything else is suspect because it’s man’s interpretation.” You have somehow overlooked the fact that although Jesus was God incarnate (God in human form), he was also a distinct human being, a unique person with his own free will. If anyone had the right to pray according to his own free will, Jesus did. But yet prior to his crucifixion, in the Garden of Gethsemane (on the Mount of Olives), he prayed, ““Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” – Luke 22:42-44 [NASB]

      If Jesus, the human being who is also God, prayed according to God the Father’s will and not according to his own human will, and if Jesus is not only the whole point of the gospels but of the entire Bible, and if also he is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one goes to the Father except through him, then we also must pray according to his will and not our own fallen human will, so that he will be honored and receive the praise and glory in every situation. We do not give up our will to follow Christ’s will; we instead use our will to carry out his will. It is only by an act of our free will that we put our self second and Christ’s will first.

      [By the way, where did you get the idea that asking for something is selfish expectation don’t we pray the Our Father, “give us this day our daily bread.” We don’t pray, “please” give us this day our daily bread…]

      You altered my statement to say something it does not. My original statement says, “…without faith, belief is selfish expectation.” Anyone can believe anything with his whole self, but without faith it is simply belief based on selfish expectation. Extremist Muslims believe that if they blow themselves up in order to kill an infidel, many virgins will be their reward in heaven. Their belief is total and unrelenting to where they are willing to give their life for it. But without the assuredness of God-given faith (not our common usage of the word ‘faith’, i.e. “I have faith in you”), no amount of belief will manifest our desires in reality.

      God-given situation-specific faith is God’s guarantee that something did happen, is happening, and/or will happen according to his will. We can believe something with our whole self, but if that belief is based on anything other than God’s provision of faith, it is selfish expectation according to our fallen human will, and did not/will not happen despite the intensity of our belief.

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  12. s wilson says:

    Hi Todd
    I read your post and unfortunately have to disagree with a point you made namely:
    ‘When God gives faith for a specific situation – his promissory note of inevitability –
    and if we then exercise belief in that faith, God will answer our prayer 100% of the time, bar none.’
    I could give you plenty of examples from real life but from my own I will give you one.
    I am a mature Christian and know God’s voice. He told me to do a specific thing which was surprising to me as it was to apply to an art school abroad- art is what I do- I did it though I did not want to do it but even though I was accepted and I packed my bag and followed all I was told to do I was given no funds to attend.
    So faith plus action plus obedience does not equate to 100% success in all we do.
    You may say- but you never made your will God’s will. You cannot want what you do not want no more than you can forget the past. Your will is your being willing not being wanting. Not everyone in the Bible who did what they were told wanted to do it but their obedience and faith were usually repaid by them being willing.
    But It tells us that most of the Prophets of the old testament were murdered by the church leaders of their day. Now the Prophets were obedient and faithful and loyal and acted against their will , risking their lives every day to tell the truth yet they were murdered for it. Job committed no crime yet God gave Satan permission to attack and destroy Job’s life. Stephen and many other New Testament preachers were murdered for obedience faith and trust in God.
    Yet you say that our prayers are answered 100 % bar none when the correct criteria are met.
    After I did as I was told my life went from very bad to worse. So I tithed more was more obedient, read the Bible more, told the truth at church, was thrown out and practically crucified for it. I never got the 100% bar none you speak of. I have had so many words dreams and visions and promises all in line with the Bible that it is too much to fit in my journals yet God keeps testing and punishing and promising.
    When God says he will give something He never says when. This is the secret that trips us all up self included. I have waited thirteen years for this one thing which now I do not think I want it anymore due to the agonising torment the promise is steeped in. Real obedience and faith for big rewards promised are harder to grasp that a glass wall.
    Until people go throgh this kind of six front battle they will not comprehend it.
    This is similar to preachers blaming Satan for all the grief in the world. Yes there is a spiritual war going on all around us, I have firsthand experience of this but, these spirits only have the authority God gives them to attack us. If you don’t believe this read Job and get it in writing.
    If Satan was allowed to do as much evil as he wanted he would have all believers on their knees begging for death in thirty seconds. He is given limited power over us and obey’s God in this, see Job again. My point is this, it is pointless to blame Satan when you do exactly as told yet get no help because Satan, according to the book of Job does exactly as he is told and no more. he does not exceed his permissions from God. Some Christians will go nuts reading this but I bet they have not read the book of Job.
    So if Satan does what God allows him to do when he asks for permission then surely it is obvious that God is in total control therefor blaming Satan for doing what he is told to do is a bit strange.
    The bottom line is this, God is in total control and prayers are not answered the next day just because you tick the boxes. The closer I tried to get to God the more he hurts me. This is Biblical also but not a great add for Christianity.
    Lastly my work and plans are not based on ‘ selfish expectation’ as what I am told to do I do not care about any more due to the mental torture I have endured for twenty six years and it is not what I want to do so not selfish. Life is a test. Some people are tested harder than others and some cannot make it to the end as they break before they get there. Your advice does not work on the point I made. I have tried it and my world collapsed afterwords.
    It is ironic that the testing we endure equates to the gift we are promised then we are driven beyond what we can take because the testing is too much.

    Best wishes

    Steven

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    • Hi Steven,

      [The bottom line is this, God is in total control and prayers are not answered the next day just because you tick the boxes. The closer I tried to get to God the more he hurts me. This is Biblical also but not a great add for Christianity.]

      I agree that God is in total control and my “ticking the boxes” does not make God have to answer my prayers the way I wanted. He did not answer Job the way Job expected.

      The closer you get to God the more things you have to let go of here and that really hurts. God is changing you. I don’t know what you went through but I have gone through losing my entire family, including both my children. I have been changed by the experience in so many ways. I am a better Christian for it and closer to God. I prayed for the Lord to heal them and to save their souls. I laid down my life for them and took care of them for years in their illnesses. They died and I don’t think most of them got any closer to God before they died.

      One thing that I finally understood is that no matter how much I loved them, no matter what I did for them, no matter how much I prayed for them, I was always inadequate. When the last one died, I saw that what was really happening was between them and God. I suffered because I loved them so much and that was as it should be. If I had been adequate to heal them and save their soul, they would not have needed God.

      Another thing that I finally understood is that I was trying to keep God from doing His work in their lives and not trusting Him fully while He gave them every chance to change their minds and come to Him.

      I had always wanted to be closer to God. It was a hard journey, but I am closer than I ever thought I could be. I found that He is sufficient for me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. I can’t really tell you that I am able to “glory in my infirmities” but I can tell you that the power of Christ rests on me more and more each day. It is wonderful.

      In your case, the thought occurred to me that you wanted to be a better artist and that somehow you thought that God sending you abroad to study would make that happen. Perhaps He was changing You by teaching you that He is entirely in control and that if you just learn to “rest in Him” instead of fighting Him, then You will find that you have become the artist you wanted to be and you will be closer to Him because you will stop asking for what He has already given you. Perhaps you just need to relax and accept His grace and love and work from an assurance that you are loved and guided in every area of your life including your art.

      I never thought I could live through all the pain and heartbreak but I have and I am happier than I have ever been. I am no longer looking for someone or something in this world to fill my heart with joy. My joy and my confidence is in Him.

      22.John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

      23.1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

      Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, I pray that you realize that He has given you much more than you could ever have dreamed or hoped for and that your life, your faith and your art will express that abundantly.

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      • s wilson says:

        Hi Elizabeth
        Thanks for the reply. I’m sorry about your family loss and pray things work out well for you. I guess the main point I tried to make , not very well is that I did not imagine being told about art school. I also did not want to apply as the thought terrified me. My point was that I was promised something which was time specific yet I was not given it. The getting something did not bother me having had next to nill all my life. It was the fact I was deceived as a test just as Jeremiah and Job etc were. It is hard to get over this and even though I was not given a specific date it was obvious that enrolling for 2005 term would be little use then, if the promise arrived ten years later. It was not a lie, it was a test whereby I was forced to infer and conclude the obvious yet failed to see it was a test to see what my reaction would be when I never got what I was promised. The reason I know it was not my imagination is that everything else I have been told has come to pass. Maybe God chose this method to test me as he knew it was my blind spot and to know you are being tested is not as difficult as not knowing which is fair enough.
        This is what made it hard to figure out as it was the only thing I have been told before and since which has not happened.
        I am almost over this anyway for it is little compared to other things I have experienced.
        One of the more interesting things I experienced was being screamed at and called for everything by my ex, ordained evangelical preacher for telling the whole church that the new teaching they were adopting ( Todd Bentley ) was evil – they have since stopped teaching that stuff but at the time everyone in the church shunned me. I stay in a small town in Scotland and people here can be pretty mean when they set their minds to it. When I asked the people to tell me where I was wrong in what I wrote they could not answer as all I had said was totally true. All they said was I was told not to share my information. I have found that telling the truth even in church is a scary thing and I was convinced that curses had been put on me as life got a whole lot worse after this. I will never go back to any church. The shock of how thirty people could turn on you like wild animals for telling the truth stunned me and is more than my limited intelligence can process.

        Best regards
        Steven

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        • Hi Steven,
          Thanks for contacting me. It is good to know that things are the same in Scotland as far as telling the truth goes. It never has gone over very well. Jesus demonstrated what to expect and yet somehow we want to see this goodness in people and are shocked when we find something evil.
          I don’t go to church either. I am Protestant, but every church I have tried to go to turns out like the Todd Bentley thing. All hype and no substance. The only miracle I have seen people like him perform is managing to stay in their ministry after disgustingly evil behavior and a sham repentance so they can continue to fleece the sheep.
          People don’t like having their beliefs questioned. They prefer to herd together and not thing about the wolves. When you point out a wolf in sheep’s clothing, they prefer to believe that the wolf really is a sheep and you are just being mean.
          I used to be very tolerant and sweet. I have found in my lifetime that you get more of what you tolerate until it finally becomes very clear that it should never have been tolerated for a second.
          Jesus was not tolerant. He loved sinners and offered them salvation but he never softened the truth about sin and their final destination if they did not repent and change their minds and ask for forgiveness. They have to see who they are and it really is not a pretty sight.
          I remember the horror of realizing what I had let happen in my own life by not standing up and speaking out. I had tolerated and taken on a lifestyle that I never ever would have believed I could have. It was a gradual thing at first and then it accelerated rapidly. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and it really is a slippery slope.
          The Lord pulled me back from the edge, cleaned me up and taught me the truth about who He is. I went through a lot of very hard times. Then He put me in the position of taking care of others and trying to persuade them to come to Him and holding their hands and loving them through all their pain, just like He holds mine. They could not see Him and so I was His visible support for them.
          Speaking the truth is not fun and it is not easy. It can and should be done with kindness and love, but a person bound for hell needs to be told that it is not a tropical vacation and that they really are not coming back with a nice tan and a relaxed smile. It is not about judging them; it is about offering them the opportunity to take the only way out of this mess.
          As you can tell, I am not as tolerant and sweet as I used to be. This is a very serious calling in a very dangerous world. John 17 makes it clear.
          Christ spoke the truth clearly. For a man who has very few of His words recorded, he turned the world upside down and they have never been able to turn it back no matter how many thousand books they write trying to explain that he really didn’t mean that, he meant this….
          I want to be more like Him and I study and pray to be approved. It is not a hard task; it is a work of love. He is with me every day, all the time. I cannot hide from Him or run away. I don’t want to. I just want to be closer and to do that; I am the one that has to change because He never changes. If He says it, I know it is true. If I don’t understand it, then I need correction. I have finally quit trying to tell Him how He should behave and now spend my time asking Him how I should behave.
          There is such a comfort and a peace in knowing that I can depend on Him to be constant and to know that He will never leave me or forsake me. “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand” sums it up.

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          • s wilson says:

            Hi Elizabeth

            I am glad I am not the only one not going to church. i was convinved for a time this was one of the reasons things were coming apart at the seams. My greatest revelation yet is this- If we reject any truth, spiritual or plain worldly truth we are actively rejecting God and Jesus because God and Jesus both say they are truth in The Bible. This dawned very slowly on me but when it sunk in I was amazed. In reality God and Jesus are made of the fabric of truth so when I stood for hours trying to show my words were right to those in the church who hated me, they were not rejecting me so much as they were rejecting God and Jesus. Then next week they went back to church and pretended the whole thing had not happened. You would be as well going to the bar, getting drunk then into a fight and then tear the town up, as it would be less offensive to God than rejecting him to His face then praying for whatever.
            This is why I read the Bible again and again Genesis to Revelation without stop, because when in church I noticed that the preachers would say things which were not scriptural. They depended on people being ignorant and not having read the whole Bible. This probably got me thrown out , but how could I not be grateful to God for that. Sometimes when you look into some peoples eyes, it is as if there is something behind their eyes looking out and weighing you up to see what you can see in them. I saw it all and delighted in Gods gift of being able to do so. No one listened but the rage i produced in the Church leader/ owner was like a bomb going off.
            Thanks for your words. I listen and take all truths on board so thanks for your time.
            I pray for peace and success in all you do…..and stay intolerant and unsweet when it comes to evil in your path.

            Kind regards

            Steven

            Like

            • Hi Steven,

              It was really disturbing at first to see what a reaction the truth causes in people who are supposedly dedicated to truth. By just saying, “But Jesus said……” all sorts of fury breaks out.

              We are not allowed to hurt them in any way or be rude or uncivil. We are mild and gentle about it but from their reaction, you would think TRUTH is a life threatening weapon. Apparently it is to them.

              Now I find it incredible that truth can be so upsetting to so many people. I finally saw that trying to compromise with a lie in order to keep the peace is a lie.

              If someone says something to me and I have a strong reaction, I take it to the Lord and examine my thinking and check to see if I am not confronting His truth in that area. Once I get clarity on it, then people can say whatever they want and I don’t react. Truth is not reactive. Truth does not require defense. All I have to do is put His Word out there quietly and no one can put it back.

              That is how He turned the world upside down. He is the Word and HIS WORD is TRUTH. Truth resonates.

              May God Bless you as you move through this world speaking the truth as you know it and ever learning more about Him and His Truth.

              Elizabeth

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Steven,

      I will briefly mention one thing here. It appears you are confusing God’s ‘answer to prayer’ with your desire for an outcome that eliminates hardship. Faith is about God giving us irrevocable certainty, that unshakeable ‘knowing’ that something was, is, and/or will be the case, whether we are naturally pleased with the results or not.

      Peace comes through living directly in God’s will through his gift of faith: whether the resulting reality involves feeling unspeakable joy when God heals someone according to our prayers, or enduring the profound hardship that both you and Elizabeth have personally experienced. Either way, faith is our peace-filled certainty of knowing God’s will, which then, in turn, empowers us to act upon that will with 1,000% certainty of outcome. That is faith.

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  13. There can simply never be a way of saying ‘what, when and how’ God will act in any of our given circumstances, for HE alone is GOD and the Sovereign! Perhaps the Lord’s Prayer is the best example here… Matt. 6: 9-13! And I think of St. Paul’s statement in Romans 11: 36: “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Our focus is always on “Him”, and His “glory”! Perhaps for the believer and Christian however, Romans chapter 8 is the High-Water Mark in Christian Revelation! “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? But of course this is foremost great spiritual truth…”For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8: 18)

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Fr. Robert,

      I know there are countless individuals who develop elaborate theories on faith and what it means, etc., etc., but they never give concrete examples of how faith works in their own life, only fuzzy scenarios and explanations that are more akin to wishful thinking and coincidence, not personal experience. There also exist countless individuals who merely believe that faith is the same as trust or belief. This camp believes that if we simply believe enough, or trust enough, that hopefully God might, maybe do what we ask him to do. But regardless of which camp we follow, neither one facilitates the certainty that only God-given faith provides, which is mentioned so often throughout the Bible, and especially by Jesus and the author of Hebrews.

      Based on my own experience, not theory, one cannot know what faith is prior to experiencing it first-hand. And so rather than rewrite what I have shared in previous comments, I ask you to visit the following two links. They include my personal experience with faith, which is the only reason I originally wrote this blog post. I want everyone to experience faith, not just talk about it, or wish for it, but experience it first-hand.

      My Getting Called Back to Work During the Recession

      Taking a Closer Look at ‘Praying by Faith’

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      • @Todd: Thanks! In the end, “faith” is always God’s “gift”…i.e. “the gift of God.” (Eph. 2: 8)…with verses 9 & 10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” But see also Heb. 11: 1, etc.

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        • Todd Beal says:

          Fr. Robert, I address Hebrews 11:1 at the second link that I provided in my previous comment to you, here.

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          • We must always allow the Scripture to teach and sometimes correct our experience! The Text of Heb. 11: 1, etc., as the examples of the OT Saints. Faith is both an assurance and substance of what we have “hoped” and expected for, and the conviction or evidence of things we have not seen. But GOD Himself is the giver of that faith, it is always quite supernatural or not seen itself! Note, Heb. 11: 3.

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            • Todd Beal says:

              Fr. Robert, I’m really not sure what it is I have written that you are disagreeing with. For instance, everything I have written on the topic of faith, and also personally experienced with faith, agrees with what you just said:

              [The Text of Heb. 11: 1, etc., as the examples of the OT Saints. Faith is both an assurance and substance of what we have “hoped” and expected for, and the conviction or evidence of things we have not seen. But GOD Himself is the giver of that faith, it is always quite supernatural or not seen itself! Note, Heb. 11: 3.]

              In fact, to take what you said even a step further, the entire chapter, all 40 verses of Hebrews 11, reiterates what you said. And if you will notice, in each instance that someone received faith, it was the same situation-specific faith I have tried to explain based on my own experience. In each instance, God revealed something to the individual, the individual believed what God revealed, and subsequently acted to carry out the promise.

              No matter how we slice or dice the meaning of faith, no matter how ardently we try to configure and reconfigure, explain or explain away, or define and redefine what faith really is, the bottom line is that faith is not belief or trust but instead God’s iron clad provision of spiritual knowledge that something did happen, is happening, and/or will happen.

              When I claimed in God’s name that I was done with 3rd shift, I knew as sure I am sitting here I was going to 1st shift. I didn’t wish for it. I didn’t sit back and strongly hope for it. I didn’t beg God. I didn’t wonder whether God would fulfill my request or flatly deny it. In a single powerful moment, an inward knowledge of outcome filled me, consumed me, and immediately compelled me to claim my transfer out loud in God’s name. It is the most empowered ability to act I have ever experienced, and not just in that situation but others too; one as recent as March 2013.

              That is the same exact faith explained so thoroughly by the author of Hebrews 11 and all throughout the Bible. And bar none, every time I experience that sudden, inner powerful knowing, God honors my prayer without fail. Why wouldn’t he; he’s the one who compelled me to pray according to the promise he gave to me. All I did was believe it, claim it in his name, and thank him for it right then and there.

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            • Todd: I am just seeking to simplify this issue, I cannot say what GOD will or will not do in every case of faith? for God is His own Sovereign! WE should note St. Paul’s situation in 2 Cor. 12: 1-10, though surely the great depth here was the making of an Apostle, (verse 12). And too a reading of Job is always a great lesson/lessons in God’s will and humility!

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            • Todd Beal says:

              Fr. Robert,

              I’m still unclear about the point you are trying to make here but I love the book of Job. I felt like Job for many years, as I’m sure most Christians do at some life period(s) – hence the book’s canonical inclusion.

              I wish you would explicitly explain what you are trying to say. I am sure you are trying to make a valid point but whatever it is, I’m not comprehending it. If you agree with my conclusions, please say “I agree”, and the reason why you agree. If you do not agree, please tell me in no uncertain terms with what you disagree and specifically why.

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            • @Todd: I kinda agree! WE will leave it there! The point is always one cannot know what God will ever do, as HE alone is GOD! But we have His Word! :)

              Btw, I must say I am sad to see Christians not involved in some local Church Fellowship! The Mystical Body of Christ “together” is very important! (Heb. 10:24-25) “Not forsaking (or “abandoning”)…literally: “The gathering together of ourselves”. Of course I am a historic churchman, and believe also in ‘Word & Sacrament’ (Acts 20: 7)

              Like

            • Todd Beal says:

              Fr. Robert,

              [Todd: I kinda agree! WE will leave it there! The point is always one cannot know what God will ever do, as HE alone is GOD! But we have His Word!]

              I take this to mean you do not believe God delivers knowledge of specific outcome through situation-specific faith.

              Regarding the second part of your comment, I agree that belonging to a group of fellow believers is important, very important in fact. It fills a personal spiritual need that nothing else can.

              I feel very fortunate to have found the church I attend. If it were not for that church, I would likely not attend anywhere. I am forty-three now and this is the only church I have ever attended where I feel I am not an outsider but instead truly accepted and spiritually loved. And not only that, our pastor’s messages are so hard-hitting but so applicable to everyday Biblical living in real life. I have talked to many different individuals who regularly attend my church, Turning Point Church of Lenawee, and each one always says, “Pastor Christy’s messages are so applicable to my daily life.”

              Sure, there are hypocrites in every church that exists; that’s reality – hypocrisy existed in the Apostle Paul’s day and it still exists in our day. But the predominant spirit I feel at my church is so genuine, I knew I was home the first service I attended (I have been attending there since 2008). I wish my experience would be the case for so many unfortunate individuals who have no access to a true body of believers who love God and deeply desire to love and serve him more.

              As Steven Wilson and Elizabeth Carter pointed out earlier, finding a genuine church is very difficult. Finding a genuine body of believers is like finding a genuine diamond in a pile of manufactured lookalikes – it is tedious work and the results are often disappointing.

              Like Steven and Elizabeth, I had no home church to call my own for many years. I watched authentic preachers on television, listened to authentic preachers on the radio, and read true-to-scripture publications, but the church proper always left me feeling cold, angry, and bitter. Why go to church if God’s Holy Spirit is not there? There is no reason – none whatsoever. Just as Jesus instructed his disciples to walk to the edge of the city and kick the dust off their feet when the people rejected their message, so too should we “kick the dust off our feet”, as in leave, after entering a pseudo church who likewise refuses the gospel of Christ. We kick the dust off our feet and say, “I want nothing to do with this falsehood”.

              I agree with you Fr. Robert that we each need a fellow group of believers who will love us, and we also, them. But if there is no such group in one’s geographic vicinity, one really has no choice but to either attend nowhere, or instead start a church of his or her own. That is how our church began (a group of displaced, like-minded believers who needed real spiritual fellowship), and now we have, on average, 130 to 160 regular attendees every service. God has truly blessed us.

              We need spiritual revival, Fr. Robert – everywhere. We need genuine bodies of believers who are powerfully passionate for Christ, not using church tradition and borrowed beliefs to rob Christ of his rightful place in His Church, the one and only Head of the Church. Only then will an individual have favorable odds at finding a local church who loves Jesus and thereby actively loves each person who attends, bar none, with the same selfless love Christ gave to us on the cross.

              As I look in the spiritual mirror, I can only say, “Please God, let the awakening begin with me! Let your spiritual fire explode in my heart first. Shine your light through me so that others will not see me aside from you, but You through me!”

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            • Todd: Just a quick note, on Word & Sacrament.. but I am somewhat closer to Luther’s position on the so-called Eucharist, indeed “Christ” is present in some real kind of way, ‘in, above, and around’ the elements… Christ’s ‘Body & Blood’!

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            • Todd Beal says:

              Fr. Robert, I have read about certain doctrines that include your same thoughts. I find no Biblical evidence to back up that claim, but I also find no evidence to refute it either. I am wondering what scriptures you would use to support that belief.

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            • Todd: Very busy day for me, at the hospital!

              As you know I use historical theology in all of my NT Studies! And here most certainly in the so-called NT use and practice of the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper). When we look at 1 Cor. 10: 16-18, with too 1 Cor. 11: 23-32. And then when we look at both references, we can note that both the Cup…”Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing (Koinonia, Gk.)…a partnership, and participation in the sharing of the blood of Christ, by fellowship, a sharing in the realization of the effects of the blood (i.e. death of Christ), and the Bread: “Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” (Verse 10:16).. the Body of Christ, as set forth by the emblems in the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper). Indeed there appears to be a “real” presence of some kind here in the so-called Holy Eucharist! ‘In, above & around’ the Bread of blessing, and the Cup itself too! (Note, I am not seeking to use the classical and theological terms of Luther, or Lutheranism, or Anglicanism, etc. here in the “mystery” of this Holy rite!) Note and read the texts of 1 Cor. 11: 26 thru 29, especially.

              This is quick, but I hope you can get the “essence” here? Though Luther did not use the term “consubstantiation”, it appears to be a good theological model or construct! I will let you check out the term “consubstantiation” yourself on-line.

              Got to run…

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            • Todd Beal says:

              Fr. Robert,

              Thanks for the concise, yet thorough follow-up explanation. I also visited the associated link that you provided for Consubstantiation on your most recent blog post. Thank you.

              *Note to Truth Behind Reality readers: please visit Fr. Robert’s blog, Irishanglican’s Weblog for an ongoing inexhaustible supply of Church history and Theological resource articles and links.

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            • Thanks Todd: Busy week for me! Hope its good for you! :)

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  14. Hi Todd, it’s been so long since I last commented that I feel like a stranger! My current work takes up almost all of my time so I can only grab a few minutes on a lunch break here and there. To me it’s very meaningful that this post (now more than 2 years old) still attracts so many of those searching for truth and an answer to their prayers. As one who has had his prayers answered many, many times in ways that I cannot deny were accompanied by a feeling of God’s personal concern for me and my petitions (it’s impossible to understand how he does it for billions of us but not impossible to accept that he does), I want to join with your voice in praising the Power that cares enough to answer us. Sometimes the answer to me has been “I gave you a brain, use it!”, or “you don’t know what you’re asking for, think it through.” Of course I don’t expect to be delivered from every trial, but I can rely on HELP through anything, and the comforting influence of the Holy Ghost.

    Also, I’m right with you on the advantages of attending church. I don’t know what I’d do without my local congregation, and the knowledge that I can go anywhere from Rio De Janeiro to Nairobi to Salt Lake City and find a congregation of saints who share the sacrament of the Lord’s supper under the same sacred prayers and understand the principles of the gospel in very similar ways. Not every congregation may be quite as friendly or welcoming as another, because Christians are people, and people have their flaws and faults. But the community is where we learn to follow Christ’s greatest admonitions, to love one another, to do unto others as we would have done to ourselves, and to serve “the least of these my brethren”!

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Michael,

      It is very good to read your words here again. I really miss our conversations. I hope your new job is going well for you even though it consumes much of your time.

      [Of course I don’t expect to be delivered from every trial, but I can rely on HELP through anything, and the comforting influence of the Holy Ghost.]

      This is a great statement. I wish a whole lot more people would share this same outlook and understanding. Looking back, I draw closest to Jesus and grow the most when I go through the hard times. It is in my lowest points that I surrender more of myself to him and grow deeper in my spiritual understanding. Thanks for this.

      [Not every congregation may be quite as friendly or welcoming as another, because Christians are people, and people have their flaws and faults. But the community is where we learn to follow Christ’s greatest admonitions, to love one another, to do unto others as we would have done to ourselves, and to serve “the least of these my brethren”!]

      I’m glad you mentioned this. While writing my reply to Fr. Robert last night, concerning finding an authentic body of believers, I thought that even when we do find ourselves in a church of gospel-denying or gospel-twisting “believers”, maybe God called at least some of us to be His light to them – a missionary of sorts to the churches.

      Thanks a lot for stopping by again, Michael. I appreciate you my friend.

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