Take Your ‘Receipt’ When You Pray

Daily Devotion | Day 299

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, KJV). 

When you purchase an item online and the transaction is successful, you see a confirmation receipt printed on the screen. They’ll usually tell you to print and keep a copy of your receipt. At times they’ll email your receipt. The receipt is evidence of successful transaction. The rest is just a question of delivery.

In the meantime, because you have the receipt you feel assured. You’re even excited. You can imagine the package being dropped at your door. You can almost smell the freshness of the item you ordered. You can see and feel the item in your hands. The receipt you obtained gives you assurance that the thing you ordered shall be delivered according to your wishes. And indeed, hours or days later there’s the package at your door with your name on it.

We will use the above analogy to illustrate the main point of today’s message:

The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The past few days, we’ve talked about the effect faith has on our prayer. Today, we’ll delve deeper into the following words of Jesus: “whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24, ESV). When Jesus says, “believe that you have received it,” He means have faith that you already possess it. In other words, when you pray for something, it is like making an order. You need to take your receipt with you. 

Faith acts like a receipt.

If you’re in possession of the receipt, it means you have evidence that what you requested shall be done according to the details on the receipt. This is why faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Think of the “substance” and the “evidence” as a spiritual/invisible receipt. It is an image or visual in your heart and mind which shows you the result of what you requested.

This receipt assures you that you will have what is indicated on the receipt. Without the receipt/substance/evidence, you’re groping in the dark, simply hoping to get lucky – like in a lottery.

Faith is not blind as some suppose.

Faith has its own pair of eyes. They are the (spiritual) eyes of faith. With these eyes you can see the result of your prayer. And Jesus says, believe that you have received it and you will have it. It means when you pray (and believe) for something, you should ‘see’ yourself in possession of it. This step represents the substance of the thing you hope for and evidence of what is not seen.

Let’s conclude today’s message by looking at the example of the woman who was miraculously healed of 12 years of hemorrhage (Mark 5:21-34). She said to herself, “If I touch even his [Jesus’] garments, I will be made well” (v.28). Notice what happened here. The woman ‘saw’ an image of herself made well before she even touched Jesus. In her spirit, she saw an image of herself healed before it became a physical reality. In other words, she possessed faith: the substance and evidence of what she hope for, and evidence of what she did not see (physically).

Next time you pray for something, take your ‘receipt’ with you and hold on to it. And may the Lord’s word be fulfilled in your life, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyHebrews 11:1-30

Faith in the Unseen Jesus

Daily Devotional: Day 143

“Though you have not seen him [Jesus], you love him. Though you do not now see him [Jesus], you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9, ESV).

Today’s devotional is meant to dovetail yesterday’s message. Recall that yesterday we learned something about how God doesn’t want us to make images and bow down to them. The Father’s desire is for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is spirit and invisible, and He wants us to worship Him that way until the Day we see Him face-to-face.

You also will notice that the Son of God became flesh (visible) to save us from our sins; but after His resurrection, He ascended – body and spirit –  to heaven and didn’t leave us any physical representation of Himself on earth. He promised, however, to be with His Church always, albeit in an invisible manner. He further sent us the Holy Spirit (Who is also invisible). All of this tells us that God wants our worship to be based, not on visible images or some physical representations of Deity, but based rather on faith in the unseen Presence of God. True worship requires this kind of faith –  living faith.

If we base our worship on what we can see, feel, touch and smell, we’re walking by our senses, not by faith. The Word of God says, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV, emphasis added). You probably recall the story of Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ. He hardened his heart and insisted that until he could feel, touch and see the risen Christ, he wouldn’t believe He was risen from the dead. Later, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and He upbraided Thomas, saying, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29, NKJV, emphasis added). The blessing is for those who, without seeing, believe the word of faith. Feeling, seeing, touching, or smelling doesn’t require faith. If the Word of God proclaimed by believers is not enough for a person to have faith, but he demands to see, feel, touch and smell something before he believes, then Christianity isn’t for him.

Based on everything we’ve said so far, today’s opening Scripture makes sense. Look at it again. Peter describes the kind of faith which produces authentic worship. Writing to groups of predominantly Christian neophytes, he states that they have not seen Jesus, yet they love Him. He continues by saying, they do not see Jesus at the present time, yet they believe in Him and are filled with a joy so glorious and inexpressible. This is the meaning of living faith and the meaning of true worship. Therefore, if you need a man-made image or statue of Jesus to help you worship the Lord, you are practicing a different religion not Christianity.

The Father seeks worshipers who will worship Him is spirit and in truth, based on faith in His Word, not ‘faith’ in images and religious objects or articles produced by men. The Bible shows that one does not need to see Jesus (or contemplate any visible man-made images of Jesus) to believe in Him or love Him.  Our faith and our worship should, consequently, be based on an inner conviction produced by the living Word of God that is preached to us. And, when faith is alive, it will produce authentic worship and the fruit of peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (cf. Romans 14:17). Let’s worship the unseen Lord through living faith.

May the Lord bless and keep you today! Amen.

For further study: John 20:19-31

God Provides in a Time of Obedience and Trust

Daily Devotional: Day 133

“And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest” (Leviticus 25:20-22, NKJV).

In Leviticus chapter 25, God commanded the people of Israel to keep a sabbath for the land they were about to occupy (Canaan). They could sow and reap for six years, but the seventh year was to be a year of rest for the land. During the seventh year, they were prohibited from all farming activities on the land. This commandment was to be observed – as in a cycle – every seven years, for as long as they remained on the land.

Obviously, this commandment presented its own opportunities and challenges. On one hand, it afforded them the opportunity to rest; but on the other hand, they were left with the obvious question: “What shall we eat during the seventh year?” What God was asking them to do required radical trust and obedience. Recall that once every week, on the sabbath day, they did no work. It is one thing not to work once a week; but no farming for an entire year was a completely different story. This brings us to today’s Bible text.

God allayed the fears of the people with the following promise: “I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.” This blessing ensured that the Israelites had food provision for the sixth year, the seventh year, and the eighth year. What we can learn here is that God is not limited in His ability to bless you. Oftentimes obedience to God requires a sacrifice. Not sowing or reaping, for the Israelites, was a huge sacrifice. But today’s Bible reading assures us that when you do what God requires of you, He will not leave you without provision. Our God is a dependable provider. Dare to trust Him.

May the God of Israel command His blessing upon you and your family today! Amen.

For further study: Genesis 22:1-18