In the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus talked to his disciples about prayer and the withered fig tree, he gave them this assurance.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Matthew 11:24 (NIV)

This verse describes faith. Evidenced by Hebrews 11:1.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

After all, we don’t pray for things that can be seen. Right? Our hope and prayers are for those things that are unseen. As Romans reminds us.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?

Romans 8:24 (NIV)

Therefore, our hopes and prayers are for that which is unseen. Yet, Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:24 to believe we have received what we have asked for. I don’t know about you, but when I ask for something and get it, I say, “Thank you.” We also give thanks when we pray for something. This is part of the “standard” format for prayer. After we’ve prayed, we thank God.

However, what does it look like to walk in thanksgiving? In the faith that we have received what we have asked for? When I had IBS, I asked for healing. We know God can heal instantly. However, I wasn’t healed from IBS immediately; instead, I thanked God every day, as I went through the day, for my healing. In fact, I did the best I could to believe that I was healed and act like it. This meant doing things that people with IBS become afraid to do. Simple things healthy people take for granted, like going somewhere and not knowing where the bathroom is located.

At other times, when I was in the grip of pain, I didn’t deny the pain, clamping my hands over my ears and saying, “You’re not real” or any other such nonsense. Instead, I thanked God for my healing when I was in pain. The pain was genuine, but God was, and is, more significant than my pain.

We often tell ourselves, “When God does this, I will be so thankful. I will dance and shout.” There’s nothing wrong with dancing, shouting, and praising the Lord when we’ve seen the answers to our prayers manifest. However, we’ve been talking about behaving like we have received what we asked for in prayer. Therefore, dance, sing, shout, and praise the Lord right now for answering your prayers!

Given all that, believing that you have received what you have asked for in prayer, what do you do when you do not?

This is the testing of faith, isn’t it? The heart of the issue. The reason “why” people walk away from God and why some people, who never knew him in the first place, reject him. I’m not talking about Christians here. I’m talking about people who say things like, “I asked God to heal my mother, but he didn’t. so I will never be a Christian.” While they may not use those words, I refer to the sentiment.

As for those people who are Christians, this is the testing of faith and why some Christians might walk away from God. For some people, however, after walking in faith, believing God, and thanking him for doing what no one else can do, there is a deep sense of shame when those things we’ve thanked God for don’t happen.

We know God can do it, we’ve believed that he will do it, and we “know” it’s in his will to do it. We sing, dance, shout, and praise him, yet we see no healing. We lose that job. The hope we had shattered.

The apostle Paul had something to say about that feeling after we’ve thanked God and not seen our hope come to fruition.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:5 (NIV)

Paul gives us this insight after telling us about suffering.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

I’ve felt shame after praising God for something that didn’t happen. Usually, that shame comes with a dash of anger and betrayal. I’m not angry at God but at myself because I feel like I’ve failed. That somehow, I lied to myself because it didn’t happen, yet I acted like it did. Most of all, as I try to describe why I feel shame in those instances, I realize I cannot find the words to explain why I feel shame. My reasons and descriptions here for why I feel shame are inadequate. Yet, Paul tells us that “hope does not put us to shame.”

Therefore, when those times come, I do not see that thing I’ve hoped for come to fruition, instead of feeling shame. Instead of closing my mouth and ceasing to praise God, I remember the love God has poured into me, as Paul says, and the gift of the Holy Spirit within, and I remember the promise of Romans 8:28.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.