A recent tragic episode in the news where a church family attempted to reverse the sudden death of a beloved child illustrates a fundamental misapprehension among some Christians.
Non-believers frequently refer to religion as mere superstition. They see it as an attempt by lesser mortals to attempt to explain and control a random and capricious universe. Setting aside the condescension and blasphemy inherent in that view, I have to admit that, like most people, I have a streak of superstition.
Several verses in the Scriptures, such as Matthew 17:20, can be interpreted in such a way as to play into this tendency. But when Christ says, “…. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you,” we mustn’t presume to take the power of God into our own hands. Ever since Lucifer’s fall, mankind has struggled with the temptation to insinuate ourselves onto the throne of God.
If we pray sincerely for a miracle, claiming what we see as God’s promise to “move the mountain” and we are disappointed, this does not mean we lacked the sufficient amount of faith (as small as a mustard seed… that’s not much). Reading the totality of Scripture shows us the bigger picture, both of God’s promises and His character.
We are admonished to pray without ceasing, not as a test of our faith or God’s faithfulness. Unceasing prayer is an attitude of mind where one communicates with the Lord constantly, acknowledging His presence and His awareness of our every thought and feeling; it’s a communing spirit, bowing to His omnipotence and unfailing love.
If we begin to feel the power of prayer comes from us or the special words we say, we have moved away from God and His infinite power and love.
In the turmoil of today, sharing our concerns with our Heavenly Father gives us peace of mind and strengthens our confidence that God knows what is going on. He will take care of everything in His way and in His time.