Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
When Hudson Taylor sailed to China, he heard an urgent knock on his stateroom door. He opened it, and there stood the captain of the ship. “Mr. Taylor,” he said, “we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen, and I fear they are cannibals.” “What can I do?” asked Taylor. “I understand that you believe in God. I want you to pray for wind.” “All right, Captain, I will, but you must set the sail.” “Why that’s ridiculous! There’s not even the slightest breeze. Besides, the sailors will think I’m crazy.” But finally, because of Taylor’s insistence, he agreed. Forty-five minutes later he returned and found the missionary still on his knees. “You can stop praying now,” said the captain. “We’ve got more wind than we know what to do with!” Source: Unknown
Prayer is an exercise of faith. Without faith, we cannot see how God is answering our prayers. Faith is not only the substance of things hoped for it is fostering a spirit of expectation because we know nothing is impossible with God. A spirit of expectation is not entitlement or wishful thinking. We pray with expectation because we have confidence in the supernatural power of God.
To pray without a spirit of expectation is like a farmer sowing seeds on the ground without expecting those seeds to provide a harvest. That is a waste of time. The farmer sows because he expects a season of reaping. He understands that if he tills the land, waters it, and supplies nutrients to the land through fertilizer etcetera, he will get a harvest.
In the same way, presenting our petition to God is but one part of the prayer exercise. I call that the sowing part. After we pray, we should water our souls with the word of God daily, then we should supply our spirit with spiritual nutrients through worship and meditation. If we do all of those things, we can certainly expect a spiritual harvest; and God will grant us whatever we ask for in prayer.
In today’s text, the disciples were astonished by the fact that the fig tree Jesus cursed a day earlier withered to the roots. The disciples were not convinced they have the power and authority to do miraculous things. They marveled at the ease with which Jesus cursed the fig tree. Jesus seized the opportunity to encourage them to exercise their faith muscles so they can see the glory of God. He wanted them to pray with expectation if they have faith in God through Him.
The captain on the ship in today’s illustration did not believe that prayer can cause the wind to blow. But the praying missionary expected God to send the wind because he had faith in the power of God over the forces of nature. God answered the prayer because of the faith of the missionary.
We pray with expectation because the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. When we pray in the name of Jesus with humility through the Holy Spirit, we can expect God to answer us. Those who do not pray with expectation are often frustrated with God and have no confidence in the power of prayer. It is a waste of time to pray without expectation. God invites us to put Him to the test and see if He will not do more exceedingly and abundantly than we can ask or imagine. So, pray with expectation, stand back, and wait on God to answer. He will not disappoint you.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What are the benefits of praying with a spirit of expectation?
Why is faith necessary for a spirit of expectation?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I know you are an awesome God who cannot fail. Help me to remember that all things I possible to those who believe when I present my petitions to you. Remove doubt and fear from my mind and heart so I can pray with confidence and expectation. Then teach me to wait patiently for you to answer my prayers.