As most of you know, I have been on thse boards, on and off, for a couple of years now. I have been saved a total of 3 years.
You would think that by now, I would have full and complete faith and confidence in God, but alas, I do not, and I am really beginning to get worried that my faith will never be perfected, and I feel it is seriously hindering my spiritual growth, and God's working in my life.
I will give you a typical example of what I mean. Prayer journals...I have had several people comment (both on this board and in my church) that they keep prayer journals, and through them, they see how God has worked marvelously in their lives. Now, it's not so much that they are keeping journals, but that they chalk all of the things that have come to pass as being "answers to prayer." You would think that as a Christian, I should know this, deep down to the very core of my soul, and praise the Lord for it. I should hear about something like this, and be encouraged by how good God is. Well, I don't. Sometimes I do, but there are also plenty of times where I say to myself "How do I know that was really God? That could have been just coincidence." I also cannot see how God has worked miraculously in my life without kicking and screaming against my own thoughts...for example, He delivered me from smoking many months ago, but when I tell people how He delivered me, inside, I'm thinking "How do I know that was really Him? Maybe it was just willpower." Everything is coincidence and willpower to me, and in my spirit, I know it isn't so, but even so, these thoughts are nagging, and absolutely crushing to my faith. Deep inside, it's hard for me to believe sometimes.
In other words, there is a huge part of me that refuses to see the things that happen as coming from God, and this really bothers me. I always end up talking myself out of this frame of mind, but even sometimes, when someone asks me to pray for them, I automatically think to myself "How do I know God will answer this?" I will pray for them, but then when I go to pray, I have so little faith that it will actually happen, it's as if I'm just going through the motions. I honestly don't understand where this is coming from, because I pray quite a lot, but it's as though when I'm praying, I have no faith that it will actually happen....my mind will often chalk it up to coincidence.
I know that, as a Christian, I should have a lot more faith and this, but even though I try and have faith, I always end up being skeptical. It's as though there is a part of my mind that doesn't want to believe that God hears my prayers, and I don't want to feel this way....I want the first thought to come to my mind when someone gives a praise report to be "WOW!! God really answers prayer." The problem is, I just don't think that way, and it really seems to be hindering my faith, a lot.
Not only that, but....for example, my pastor is going through the book of Revelations. I have really enjoyed the study, but when I think deeply about this, or any sort of Biblical prophecy, I start thinking "What if this really isn't true? Then I'm just fooling myself"....but the problem is, it is true, and it kills me to think that I would doubt it even for a millisecond!!!!!
Another problem is that I get so hung up on how I pray, that sometimes, i can't even come to the Lord freely. I don't know why this has become such an issue. I will be praying, and I will be thinking so hard about how I say something, thinking that if I somehow don't ask in the right way, that God will not listen. I know, it sounds stupid, but it is seriously something that impedes my prayer time. I almost feel like I am holding back something from God if I don't pray right, although I always ask the Holy Spirit to lead my prayers. I don't know if it's a subconscious desire for perfection, or if I'm being attacked in my prayer life.
I just feel that this lack of faith, paired with this restraint that I have during prayer, is really hindering my prayer life somehow. Why is it that I have so much trouble seeing the Lord's work in peoples' lives? Why is my initial instinct skepticism? Has anyone else struggled with this? If so, how on earth did you overcome it?!
Thanks so much for reading this.