Sometimes, we think that faith is this big thing with a lot of pieces, that we have so much to put together and to hold together and to try to figure out when we need it. Sometimes, we think that faith is hard...and that if it's not hard, if we're not doing it the hard way, it won't be effective. It won't be good for us. God won't be good to us.
Yesterday, I talked about how, when we pray, we ought to pray out of what we know about God. We ought to affirm the promises that we hold onto about who He is and how He loves us. And I absolutely believe this. Not only do I believe this, but I know it to be valuable. Of this, I am absolutely sure.
But what if you're someone who doesn't have a lot of experience with God? What if you're someone who is new to the faith? What if you're someone who has never needed your faith in the way that you need it now? What if you're someone who has believed in God, but has never put Him to the test - has never called on Him before? What if you don't have twenty things that you know for sure, that you believe beyond a shadow of a doubt, about God? What if you don't know?
This is the story of more persons than we think. It is the story even of more Christians than we think. And I say that just to let you know that you're not alone and that you don't have to be ashamed of this. Hey, the last thing you need right now is shame on top of whatever else you're dealing with, right? So listen, it's okay if you don't have this kind of depth of faith affirmations on which to draw.
What I want to suggest, if this is your story, is this: just pick one thing. Just pick one thing you know about God and start there. Maybe it's something you've experienced first-hand, so you know it for certain in your own life. Maybe it's something you've read in the Bible that you just desperately want to be true right now. Claim it as true. Don't ask God if He's faithful; tell Him that you know He said that He is and that you're going to trust Him on that. God, You have said that You are faithful, and I need a measure of that faith right now. It's as simple as that.
Maybe what you've got that you know for sure about God doesn't have anything to do with what you need Him for right now. Maybe God brought you out of a dangerous situation, so you know Him as a Deliverer or as a place of Safety, but what you need right now is a powerful God or maybe a tender one. That's okay. Call out to God and tell Him that you know that He is Deliverer. Start there. Pray that you know that He is Safe. Start with that. Then tell Him what else you need to know about Him, without putting parameters on what that has to look like.
When we pray a powerful prayer, what we're really doing is asking God to be God. We are confessing that He is God. We are committing ourselves to His God-ness and declaring that because He is good, because we know Him, we trust Him. Even if we don't really trust Him right now. Even if we're not sure. Even if it's hard. Tell Him you trust Him.
Because, as I said yesterday, what this does is helps us to break a pattern of self-interest, of self-obsession. It gets our focus off of ourselves and off of our problems and off of our anxiety and onto something bigger than us - it gets our focus on God. It makes Him the primary thing in our lives. And what we need in moments where we're burdened and crumbling...is for God to be the primary thing in our lives. Isn't it?
That's why it doesn't matter what we know about God; what matters is that we're willing to declare it. What matters is that we're willing to make it the thing. That we're willing to make God the thing. Not ourselves. Not our great ideas. Not our worldly wisdom. Not our limited perspective. Our God.
So if you don't have twenty things you can just start rattling off, that's okay. Start with one. Just one. Any one thing that you know.
And grow from there.