Prayer: Faith in Christ Alone
Anxiety might plague me, Lord, but I praise you that you are stronger than any unwanted feeling, doubt, worry, guilt, fear or disgusting thoughts. Moreover, you have promised to work all things together for the good of those who love you. I love you, so this is your promise to me.
I thank you that this persistent anxiety that harasses and confuses me is my opportunity to grow spiritually stronger, just as having to keep running uphill is a chance to grow physically stronger. Faith is more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7) and faith can only develop during times when feelings and circumstances clash with what you want me to believe. So I praise you for this opportunity to grow in faith. And I thank you that even though, because of the very nature of the trial, it will feel as if you have left me, you are actually with me every step of the way. Despite everything that might plague me and confuse me, you have pledged never to leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). Regardless of what I feel, you remain faithful and true.
You are Truth and you declare over and over such things as:
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
You rightly say that if I claim to have never sinned, I deceive myself and accuse you of lying. In the same way, if I, who have confessed to you my sins and put my faith in Jesus, claim to be unforgiven, I also deceive myself and accuse you of being a liar.
Anxiety feels like a guilty conscience. This tempts me to dishonor you by concluding that just because I feel guilty, you must have lied when you made this promise to cleanse all who confess their sin to you. Despite these horrible feelings, however, I make you, not my feelings, my God – my spiritual authority and source of truth. Since you, in the above Scripture, declare me purified from all unrighteousness, then I am purified from all unrighteousness, no matter what I experience and how powerfully I might be tempted to think otherwise. So I hang on to your truth, refusing to contradict you, no matter what feelings and doubts rage within.
I cannot stop powerful feelings that are contrary to your truth – even Jesus was tempted – but I can repent of caving into the temptation to accept those feelings as truth. I repent of being so carnal as to think that a mere feeling – rather than your Word – indicates spiritual truth. I have sinned by thinking that you might not be the God of infinite love and that you therefore must prove your love for me by giving me signs or feelings or assurances. I have insulted you by wanting such “proof,” as if you could lie or be unloving unless what you say is true matches my feelings or circumstances. From now on, I steadfastly refuse to believe that any feeling, no matter how strong, persistent and convincing, is a more reliable source of truth than you are.
“The just shall live by faith” (KJV, cited four times in the Bible – Habakkuk 2:4. Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). So I choose to live by faith, not feelings. I hereby renounce feelings, or anything less than you alone, as a reliable source of spiritual truth.
The perfection of divine love means that you passionately love even your worst enemies; more fervently yearning to forgive them than any human is capable of craving anything. You recoil at the thought of in any way letting your beloved Son’s agonizing sacrifice for the sins of the entire world be in vain. You want no one to perish (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 33:11).
You tell us to forgive “seventy times seven” and yet I keep worrying that you will tire of forgiving me, as if perhaps you were a hypocrite. The truth is that you love me far, far more than any human has ever managed to love himself or anyone else. Driven by infinite love, you passionately long to keep on forgiving me and to lavish your mercy upon me for all eternity. Since this is your burning desire, propelling you to the extreme of the cross, I was wrong to ever beg you to forgive me, as if there were any reluctance within you to cleanse me. You are eager to forgive; your reluctance is in giving signs and feelings because that makes me spiritually vulnerable by fostering a dependence upon means that the Deceiver can easily replicate and manipulate. Your word declares that it is faith, not signs and feelings, that is “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, KJV). I repent of playing into the devil’s hand by seeking such things instead of simply accepting your loving forgiveness. I acknowledge that signs and feelings are the Devil’s playthings – his way to entice us to get our eyes off the cross and the integrity of your character. He cannot touch spiritual truth but he can toy with signs and feelings. Faith is our only shield; our sole protection against his trickery.
So I commit myself to start honoring you by stubbornly clinging to you, no matter how many doubts, fears, worries, guilt feelings and unwanted thoughts scream within me.
I cease right now from insulting you by wanting signs, feelings or assurances as proof that you love and forgive everyone – including me – who comes to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I renounce all attempts to get such things. The integrity of your character is all that I need. I resolve from now on to live as you have called all your children to live – by sheer faith, and nothing else.