When I was in seminary I took a class on cults and Christianity. In some quarters of the church there is a question as to whether or not these groups are truly cults, but we spent time discussing Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists and others. As a part of the requirements for the course, we attended services at each of those churches. It was interesting to say the least.
I learned a lot in the course, as you might guess, but there is one thing that stuck with me. Christian Scientists believe in healing, but they do not believe in miracles. You see, a miracle is when something unexpected and out of the ordinary happens. An answer to prayer, a healing, should not be unexpected. When we pray, with faith, we should anticipate that the thing will be done. We should see answers to prayer.
So here are a couple of questions for us:
- Should we be praying with an expectation (faith) that God is going to answer our prayers?
- When prayers are answered should we consider those answers miracles?
- How should we adjust our thinking, prayers and expectation?
If we pray, believing that God is going to do something, he will. This will cause us to increase our prayers. And increasing our prayers will increase the number of answers we get. Consequently, when we get more answers we will expect more answers. This sort of prayer-faith-answer cycle will repeat itself as long as we participate in it.
Here is one more example. This spring there was a group of us doing a mission at Kokomo Urban Outreach in Kokomo, Indiana. One of their projects was to prepare Easter baskets for local families who were in economic difficulties. They had received several donations, but did not know the exact number of baskets they had received. One of our tasks was to inventory the supplies to make sure there were enough baskets to meet the requests. As one group was counting the baskets on hand, another was counting the requests that had been received. "Miraculously," both totals came to 207. The response of the KUO staff and volunteers was very nonchalant. They were used to God answering prayers in this sort of dramatic way.
Prayer: I have seen answers to prayer, o Lord, but I would love to see more. Help me to expect your work in my life and with my needs. Make me faithful and prayerful so that you can work in the world. In Jesus' name. Amen.