I used to live next door to one of the oldest members of our church. She was quite the character. One evening I was outside when she pulled into her driveway with a car full of groceries. After I helped her take them in, she told me a joke I’ll never forget. She said, “One day, the lottery was really large and a man wanted to win it. He prayed, ‘God, if you let me win the lottery, I’ll give 25% to the church.’ God replied back, ‘Buy a ticket!'” She then told me, “So many times we ask God for something, but don’t do anything about it.”
I think about that joke often in my prayer time. How many times have I asked God for something when I wasn’t willing to “buy a ticket”? God couldn’t help that man win the lottery if he wasn’t the owner of a ticket, and He can’t answer a lot of our prayers if we aren’t willing to put ourselves in position for Him to either. Remember, faith without works (action), is useless. He could have believed all he wanted that God would let him win the lottery, but without action on his part, it was useless.
In John 4:46-54, there is the story of a nobleman whose some was on his deathbed. He heard that Jesus was about 18 miles away, so he walked over a day to get to him. When he arrived, he begged Jesus to come to his home and heal his son. Jesus blew him off. He wouldn’t let up though. He pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my son dies” (NLT). Then in verse 50, it says, “Then Jesus told him, ‘Go back home. Your son will live!’ And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.”
In order for his faith to activate his son’s healing, he had to start home. He had to act without seeing the result. It wasn’t until the next day, on his journey home, that his servants met him on the road, that he found out his son was healed. What if he had stayed and continued to beg Jesus? What if he had never started home? Often Jesus would say, “Go. Your faith has made you whole.” Their healing, their answer to prayer, was always activated by something they did. God has the power to answer your largest prayer, but it usually requires some kind of action on your part first.
What action do you need to take as an act of faith to activate God’s answer? Mark Batterson often writes, “Pray like it depends on God. Work like it depends on you.”