Faith is essential in our prayer life. As we discover that faith is restful, we will experience that prayer is restful too. – Peter Youngren
Faith is easy. It is simply yielding to and resting in Jesus’ ability. The apostle Paul asked the Galatians believers, “He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:5).
Put this question in contemporary language. Do you receive the Holy Spirit and does God work miracles among you by your efforts and struggles? Does it happen by how well you have performed your religious duties? Or do these divine blessings come by hearing of Jesus and His abilities?
As a young new believer, I heard that the next step in my spiritual growth was to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Naturally, I wanted to advance in my newfound life as a believer, and I thought I must have this experience with the Holy Spirit. I was spending three weeks at a Christian youth camp where people told me if I sincerely wanted the baptism of the Holy Spirit I should attend a 7:00 a.m. prayer meeting. These were beautiful Christian friends and they wanted the best for me. They emphasized that this prayer time was only for those who were sincere in their quest for the Holy Spirit. I was fourteen years old and an early morning prayer meeting was not really my style, but I wanted to put forth a good effort. Bleary-eyed, I rolled out of bed at five minutes to seven in the morning and rushed to the prayer meeting. We begged and pleaded with the Lord, “Please God, please baptize us in the Holy Spirit.” If anyone should have received because of our effort, it should have been us. In fact, one of the young men, Hans, who was the leader of this prayer meeting, was an exemplary youth. I felt I was not nearly as “holy” as he. He was the one who woke me up so I would make it in time to the prayer meeting. If anyone should have been rewarded with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it was Hans. He had a stepbrother who was his complete opposite, named Steve. Steve wasn’t saved, and furthermore, was the number one troublemaker at the youth camp. If anything went wrong, any prank, we knew Steve was behind it.
If anyone should have received because of our effort, it should have been us.
One night this rebellious young man wandered into our evening service. We never knew if he’d show up or not, though the rules of the camp mandated that everybody had to be in attendance. Steve was crying and called out that he needed Jesus. We all thought that was wonderful. We knew he needed salvation considering what a “big sinner” he was. Fifteen minutes after Steve received Jesus as his Savior, he was baptized in the Holy Spirit speaking in other tongues. When we saw this, knowing how thoroughly unsanctified he was, we were a bit unsure. However, we thought, “Well, God is good so maybe this is alright after all.” Then, twenty minutes after this experience we heard Steve’s voice from the back of the auditorium speaking a message in other tongues prefacing it with “thus saith the Lord.”
If you are unfamiliar with this kind of a happening, it is described in Paul’s writing to the Corinthians. A message in tongues and interpretation are two out of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned there. Steve was giving a message in tongues and interpreting; prophesying to us who felt superior to him spiritually. The word he gave was very powerful and though we sensed it was a word from God we had a tough time receiving it. What business did God have to use such a troublemaker? If anyone should have been prophesying it should have been one of us who had attended the 7:00 a.m. prayer meeting. We had been begging God and seemingly received nothing. Do you see how a religious legalistic mindset works? The legalistic condemning person hates the undeserved, unearned, unmerited favor of God. “Didn’t Steve still need to get sanctified?” you may ask. Of course, but God does not give miracles according to how qualified a person is. He does it by faith. I’ve seen this scenario repeated hundreds of times. It’s the hopeless and the hurting that are touched by Jesus.
People who are focused on faith rarely receive; those focused on Jesus readily receive.
All Christian virtues, including humility and sanctification, are very important. God’s grace will work in us if we allow it to produce these qualities. However, possession of Christian virtues does not earn us points toward a miracle.
As mentioned earlier, hundreds of people have approached me saying, “Pastor Peter Youngren, pray for me. I have lots of faith. Just ask God to heal me now.” I could be wrong – there could be some instance I have forgotten, but I can’t think of a single person who approached me proclaiming how much faith they had who actually received their miracle. Faith is not an issue of human performance, but rather of connecting a person with Jesus. People who are focused on faith rarely receive; those focused on Jesus readily receive.
Are You Good Enough?
That’s why the stories of the Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion are so important. Jesus ascribed “great faith” to them. They didn’t even know all the requirements for healing. They were Gentiles who had not been exposed to the Law of Moses. The less we look at ourselves and the more we look to Jesus, the more faith comes. Faith has nothing to do with our achievement or our worthiness. Questions like “Am I good enough? Do I measure up?” make faith of no effect.
Faith rests in Jesus and His ability. That’s why we often see Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus who know very little about the Bible receive astounding miracles. Though they have never heard of the Book of Genesis, the epistles to the Romans or Galatians, they grasp the simple truth of God’s love revealed in Jesus for them. Once a person connects with Jesus, everything is possible.
Once a person connects with Jesus, everything is possible.
When we forget ourselves and look at Jesus Christ we become peaceful. Faith is not rules concerning what we must do. When we see Jesus as big as He really is we relax in Him. When Jesus appears great to your inward eyes you automatically start speaking positively, confessing God’s Word. In fact, you can’t speak negatively when you see Jesus completely as big and awesome. This is entirely opposite of being stressed to live up to expectations, as if God was a scorekeeper in heaven counting points to see if you have shown enough faith to qualify for an answer to your prayers.
Peter Youngren’s faith isn’t very good; that’s why I hook up with Jesus’ faith. If it’s up to the sick person’s faith or the preacher’s faith, we don’t have much hope. Sometimes people say to me, “Peter, you’re such a man of faith.” Of course, I like when people say nice things about me, but in myself I’m not a great man of faith. Truthfully, in myself I have little or no faith, but I have experienced thousands of times when Jesus’ ability and His faith has flowed through me. Because of Jesus living in me I have full access to His faith. I yield to Him.
It is stressful to pretend faith. If a doctor diagnoses I’m going to die in thirty days, my mind understands the implications of that diagnosis. I can’t psych myself into some miracle-working faith – I need the faith of the Son of God. I would want to pray, “Lord, no matter how hard I try to believe, no matter how much I try to put on a good face, I know that Your faith is the only faith that works. Jesus, I just want to draw closer to You. Let Your life, Word, faith and power flow through me.”
Jesus is Relaxed
When Jesus calmed the raging storm, all the disciples were on deck screaming, “We perish! God help us!” All the while Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat. We may have foolishly reprimanded Jesus, “Don’t You have any sense of responsibility, Jesus? The boat is going under and You’re asleep? At least the disciples showed some responsibility and cried for help.” If we didn’t know any better we would think the disciples were the ones with faith. If the Bible account had said there were thirteen people on the boat and one was asleep, we would have thought the one sleeping was Judas or Thomas or maybe Simon Peter, but not Jesus. The Bible account, however, is clear that the author and finisher of faith was asleep on a pillow. There’s no panic with Jesus.
you will find rest for your souls
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was dying we read, “So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” (John 11:6) If we didn’t know it was Jesus who purposely waited two days we would have thought it was one of the disciples. Possibly it was Judas or Thomas who encouraged this delay. We may have thought that the responsible action of Jesus would have been to hurry to the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and quickly perform the miracle. Again Jesus exemplifies rest. When we lift Him up and we see how great He is and His love fills our hearts we, too, will be at rest. This restful faith causes tumors to melt and slipped discs, hernias and joints and inflammations to be healed.
Jesus is relaxed in every situation. Consider the feeding of the five thousand. Even though Jesus knew what He was going to do He asked Philip, “What do you think?” Jesus didn’t say, “I am the Messiah. I have the revelation. You better start bringing some empty baskets or this miracle is not going to happen.” No, Jesus is at rest.
You may have heard a lot of stressful preaching about how you must produce faith. It’s one thing for healthy folks to be stressed out, but if you’re on your deathbed and get taken into a healing service and once you get there they stress you out with so many instructions, it actually becomes worse than the hospital. That’s not Jesus’ ministry. For He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Let nothing come between you and Jesus, not even your earnest attempt to have faith.
You need not be stressed about the size of your faith. Instead, allow Jesus to get bigger before your inward eyes. Is Jesus big enough to touch your family? To remove your tumor? Big enough for your lung problem, psoriasis, eczema, migraine? Is Jesus big enough to heal your cancer? How big is your Jesus? Let nothing come between you and Jesus, not even your earnest attempt to have faith. Be at rest in Jesus!
All About Jesus Now
Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, while we were still in the Old Covenant, Jesus frequently told people, “Your faith has made you whole.” Never again are these words spoken once we enter into the New Covenant after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Never again are believers told, “Why don’t you have faith?” You cannot be a born-again believer and be without faith. Once you are a believer the author and finisher of faith lives inside of you.
These words “your faith has made you whole” were never spoken by the apostles Paul, John or Peter, once Jesus had finished the work of His death and resurrection. Rather, Simon Peter looked at Aeneas who was lame, and said, “Jesus heals you.” Philip went to Samaria and “preached Jesus Christ to them.” Paul said, “I preach only ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified.’” The whole message and operation of miracles was centered on Jesus. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus. When we put the focus on Jesus, what He has done and His ability, the Holy Spirit works with us.
If nothing happens at first when we pray then we just draw closer to Jesus and His Word.
When you receive the healing you need while reading the pages of this book, please don’t say, “Peter Youngren’s ministry is really powerful.” No, we don’t want to exalt a ministry; we only want to lift up Jesus. I’ve heard too many statements like, “I have a ministry for back problems; I have a ministry for deaf ears; I have a ministry for stomach healings.” It’s about time we say, “I’ve got Jesus and He is all-sufficient.” This way we don’t have to seek healing or any specially anointed person, but our pursuit is after the Healer. If nothing happens at first when we pray then we just draw closer to Jesus and His Word. We don’t blame ourselves or others, but instead we ask the Holy Spirit for an ever clearer revelation of Jesus.
The Book of Hebrews says, “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:10) Did you notice that? That rest comes when we cease from our own works. When we stop trying to have faith or earn our miracle, we can rest in Jesus’ love and power.