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BIG Faith or little faith?

I was watching episode 8 of the latest The Chosen series and was especially drawn to how Jesus was teaching the disciples when they asked him:

“The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” Luke 17:5

Of course, they wanted to increase their faith. A similar question in Matthew 17 happened when the disciples were unable to heal a possessed man. Don’t we all feel like they must have felt when we pray for someone to be healed…and they die. Or we pray for a certain outcome (a new job, a boyfriend/spouse, a wayward child…and the prayers go unanswered. They saw Jesus accomplishing miracles with just a simple touch or a prayer to God, yet their prayers were not working. I could really relate to this ‘Ask’ for more faith. In both passages, Jesus’ answer to them was simple, but a little confusing:

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move.

Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20

But this is where the storyline and visuals from The Chosen grabbed my attention. In this episode they were trying to feed the hungry crowds gathered to hear Jesus teach and only had a basket filled with 5 loaves and 2 fish. It seemed hopeless and the crowd was growing hangry. Jesus had them hold out this one basket and take all the other empty baskets into the crowds with two words of instruction: “Feed them.” The disciples looked dumbfounded but walked forward with the empty baskets. When they opened the lids of the baskets, each one was overflowing with loaves and fish.

God showed me two things from that story:

  1. I need to hold out my empty baskets (show up, do the next thing, be ready) and

  2. Have great faith that He will fill them

The second point is the one where I needed the most work. I was praying prayers of great faith, but then my actions and words were actually showing little faith. I started to journal some recent prayers and how I was taking control or trying to ‘help’ God by doing some of the work. Here are a couple of examples of some prayers with little faith and great faith:

Little faith prayers

  • God, help me connect with the right people who will be instrumental in helping single moms. (Then I proceed to try and make the connections happen or look for people who can do this)

  • God, help this friend find the job she needs for fulfillment and provision. (What can I do to help make it happen? References? Connections?)

Great faith prayers

  • God, I believe you are putting the right people in place for this need. I will keep my eyes open!

  • God, You know where she needs to be placed. Make it clear to her, give her words

Do you see the subtle difference? My prayers are similar but my little faith happens in the ways I think God needs help. We have to hold the empty baskets, which means keeping our eyes and ears open and taking next steps. But trying to fill the baskets myself doesn’t give God time to work and I end up getting the credit.

What are you praying about right now? Take a hard look at your prayers and see if they are prayers of BIG faith or little faith. Hold out your empty basket to Him and watch it overflow

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