I was deeply disturbed. My prayer closet had been filled with fervent, loud, sincere and forceful petitions without a single response from the Lord. God had not spoken to me for three weeks. As a senior pastor, I have ministered to many people struggling with the idea of faith, but now I was forced to answer the question: “What is faith to me?”
My family owns a small business, and sales had dropped 30 percent. Every morning I prayed fervently: “Lord, please keep our business up. I believe You will do this, because I am Your daughter, and You are my loving Father.” Every night I prayed loudly: “Lord, please show me the problems in our business. I will correct them according to your will.”
My fervent prayers reflected my simple faith: I believed, and I prayed. God would listen, and then I would receive. This is how it is supposed to work, isn’t it?
Business continued to decline, and I began to analyze my simple faith. I thought my faith was too small, so I prayed more sincerely: “My Lord, You are in control of my personal life, church ministry and this business, too. Although I am not able to pay some of the bills now, I believe You are in control, and You will supply.”
Then some of our equipment broke down and needed to be repaired. We had difficulty with permits, and I was preparing to leave for Asia on a ministry trip. My anxiety continued to rise. I began to pray forcefully: “We will conquer the enemy and win this battle!”
Difficult as it is, we have to admit how easy it is for us pastors to hide our own doubts and the weakness of our own faith. We know the words of God very well. We all can quote the right scriptures at the right time. We often convince ourselves that we believe in every word of God, don’t we?
The day before my trip to Asia, I could not pray anymore, because I did not know what else I could say to the Lord. He had not spoken to me for three weeks, and a double dosage of high blood pressure medicine was my best friend.
While waiting for my flight at the airport, I cried out to the Father: “Lord, didn’t I pray earnestly? Why can’t I sleep like Peter did in Acts 12 when he was in prison? When can I be released from my chains like he was? Why can’t I escape from my prison?”
I thought about how Peter’s friends prayed for his release, but when he stood at their front door waiting to get inside, they did not believe he was free. Peter had been completely at peace, resting in the Lord while he was in prison, and his bondage was broken.
As my flight lifted off, I realized how often we pray in faith, but then we doubt the outcome. “Lord, I only want to be with You,” I said. “I don’t care if I am in prison or if I am chained, I only want to be with You.”
I heard the voice of the Lord speaking to me: “Everything will turn around and be back to its goodness,” He said. Later I discovered that, on that very day, our business began to increase again! Financial issues were solved, and problem machines were fixed. I was speechless but praised God: “Wow, Lord, You are the Great I Am!”
Faith is everything we have been taught from the pulpit and have discussed in Bible studies. But faith is also to experience Jesus Christ and to be with Him, and especially to find peace in Him. This is the unshaken faith.
By: Christina Chao is senior pastor of Home of Grace (Las Vegas Chinese Foursquare Church) in Las Vegas, Nev.
Share your journey through Acts » Comment below to share what God is showing you personally as the Foursquare family reads through Acts together this year! You can also subscribe to the weekly Foursquare Leader Prayer email to receive insights on Acts from Foursquare leaders around the world.