Overcome doubt through exercise!
It is amazing how we can expect our first prayer to God to be answered.
If you pray rarely and yet expect prayer to be answered it is worth asking if you are holding two contradictory beliefs.
When you don't pray often or engage in spiritual practice you are acting like you have little in God's power or that you don't need his power to work in your life.
Is this true?
When you expect immediate results from prayer and give up if you don't get them, it suggests that you believe God can intervene at the first request and has the power to immediately resolve any problem in your life.
Is this true?
If you believe God is powerful and involved, it makes sense to pray regularly.
Whether we pray in faith or pray in doubt, WILLINGNESS to believe is enough for God to work in our minds.
WILLINGNESS is enough to overcome doubt sufficiently to keep us moving towards the goal of greater faith.
I think of faith as a muscle. Like any other muscle, this faith muscle is a part of who we are:
“God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
(Romans 12:3 , KJV, quotes about faith)
You have a faith muscle.
On some deep level, you do
believe in God and you also know how to pray to God. You are part of God
and you cannot leave or forget the source of your being.
However, if you haven't been building your faith, your faith in this world will have grown and your faith in God muscle will have atrophied (wasted away).
Do we go down the gym, do a physical exercise, look down and expect to see a visible change in muscle tone?
When we don't see it, do we give up and say: "This isn't working."
Instead, we have faith that the exercise must be doing something, and we make a commitment to continue until we see results.
The more confident we are that physical exercise does us good, the less we focus on results.
Exercising our body becomes rewarding in itself. We just notice and enjoy the results when they come.
A powerful exercise to overcome doubt and raise faith is to make a commitment to prayer.
The more confident we are that faith exercise does us good, the less we focus on results.
Prayer or other spiritual practice becomes rewarding in itself.
We just notice and enjoy the results when they come.
We fall in love with the process of communicating with God.
God's love for you does not alter with how much you believe in God.
God is love.
God's power does not alter with how much you believe in God.
God is all powerful.
However your level of faith and doubt does affect God's ability to work in your life.
Doubt implies or states a belief in something other than a God who loves you unconditionally and provides you with all you need.
We learn how to pray in faith not to change God, but to open our
minds to something other than our past and present experiences. We open
our minds to experience the love and abundance of God.
Does prayer work better the greater our faith in God? Yes.
We can overcome doubt and build our faith through prayer.
For some of the years when I was living with chronic illness, one of my caregivers was a devout Christian. She could be quite irritating in her insistence that some of my own Christian beliefs were wrong! But I certainly regarded her as a person who had faith in God; I saw that light in her eyes as she talked of Jesus, of God and of her spiritual experiences; we used to pray together.
One day I asked her: "Do you ever think that prayer might not work?"
She looked me straight in the eyes and said:
"Katherine, sometimes I don't think my prayers go any higher than the ceiling."
I loved her honesty about feeling doubt in prayer.
When you are asking yourself how to believe in God, know that it is normal that you need to persevere at times to overcome doubt and practice faith. Like the Bible parable about the tares of wheat, our doubt lives with us until it is gone.
Allow yourself to doubt.
Allow yourself to think prayer may not have the power to change your life.
Set your doubts to one side and pray anyway.
In this article on how to overcome doubt and the page before on how to pray to God we have looked at how to raise our faith in God.
The following affirmations can help us persevere.
I am patient through the process of building my faith muscle.
This spirituality website gives ideas for different forms of prayer you can use, but everyone learns how to pray to God in their own unique way.
If you have little or no belief in God, and want to experiment with the idea that God exists,
is another good place to start.
So are forgiveness exercises which allow you to experience your oneness with another person and therefore with God.
The next article looks at how to persevere when prayer seems too difficult:
Move from Overcome Doubt to the next page - What To Do When Too Sick Or Too Stuck To Pray?
Return to the Contents List for What Is Prayer?