In the mid 1990’s we were having a hard time making ends meet. We were taking care of some apartments for a real estate company, and from time to time we would grab a job on the side. At the time the Lord was taking me through some extremely dark areas in the process of separating me to Himself. I had been praying and asking Him to help me trust Him to supply our needs. I prayed about this for weeks (maybe months). One day while in prayer the Lord spoke and said, “If you would trust me to supply your needs, you must be willing to give away even that which you need.” He then told me to give away all our money. I think we had a little less than $200.00 at the time.
Within two or three weeks after obeying the Lord my wife came to me and said, “We’re out of food and our son is hungry, and so am I. What do we do about it?” I told her to give me a little time and I went in our bedroom, closed the door, and cried out to our Father. Within seconds He very tenderly said, “Go to Pizza Hut.” When He spoke those words I somehow knew which Pizza Hut he wanted us to go to. We hadn’t been to a Pizza Hut in well over twenty years, so I wasn’t familiar with it.
I told my wife we were going to Pizza Hut and she wanted to know what we were going to do when we got there. I told her I had no idea, but maybe the Lord would reveal something when we got there or maybe not; I just knew that we had to go there. Reluctantly she and our son got in the car with me and we went to the Pizza Hut. When we got there the place was empty. We were the only customers there. We sat down in a booth and my wife started digging in her purse hoping she would find some money. She looked in her change purse and found that she had inadvertently forgotten to empty it when we gave our money away. She had enough for three drinks. So we ordered drinks.
When the waitress brought our drinks she asked if we wanted something to eat. I quickly said, “No ma’am. We’re fine.” Without hesitation the waitress said, “If you change your mind, we just finished our lunch buffet and there are several pizzas left over. We’re just going to throw them away. Eat all you want. You can take whatever’s left home with you if you’d like.” I thanked her and we ate a mid-afternoon lunch that our Heavenly Father had prepared for us. We didn’t take any home because He had just sent us there to quench my family’s hunger that particular day. The following day we received $100.00 anonymously in the mail.
When I went into our bedroom that day to seek the Lord concerning my wife and son’s hunger, I didn’t even mention His promise to supply our needs according to His riches in glory. I just asked for help. He already knew the problem and He was aware of His promise. I simply knelt before Him and asked for help. You see, when I was a young Christian everybody around me was claiming things in prayer and I tried it one time. It was awful. At the very second I tried it, I instinctively knew it was foreign to the Holy Spirit, and I felt horrible. I felt horrible for days, possibly weeks, after that experience. I haven’t done it since.
Several years after the time I tried claiming something in prayer the Holy Spirit revealed to me that claiming, standing on the Word, and the so-called binding the devil stem from the root of unbelief. Dear ones ask the Lord for something and, when they don’t get their request when they feel they should and, having no assurance in their hearts that they will receive what they ask, they start claiming, binding, and/or standing on the Word in an effort to make what they want come to pass.
Many do this because they subconsciously feel they have to prove they believe the promise for which they pray. Some use the excuse that they’re not claiming something from God; they’re claiming it from the devil. Others take an opposite course and justify their claiming and standing on the promises by saying they have been given authority from God. In each instance – there is double-mindedness – their faith is wavering and, they’ve fallen into the devil’s trap.
When Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil, He refused to command the stone to become bread when He was hungry because He hadn’t heard a word from God. He refused to cast Himself down from the temple because He didn’t regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped, and dared not put God to the test by claiming the promise Satan quoted to Him. Instead, He humbled Himself and became obedient, and waited on God. (Throughout His ministry Jesus worked as the Father worked, and did nothing on His own initiative (John 5:19, 30).
We must be cautious with the terminology we use because sensitive souls can be misled easily. A young tender Christian may hear an older Christian claiming a promise and assume that’s the proper way to pray. However, claiming a promise and standing on a promise are, to my knowledge, not in the Bible. I can’t recall ever seeing either one of them. I believe their origin can be traced to something deceitful and desperately wicked, the heart of man.
Even Abraham, when he was promised that he would be the father of many nations, didn’t claim the promise. Nor is there any record of him rebuking Sarah’s aged womb and claiming a younger one. Abraham knew he was going to be the father of many nations because God said he would. The promise of God was the substance of what he hoped for, and the evidence of what he couldn’t see. He didn’t need to claim or demand that the promise take place — he simply believed the One who made the promise.
Dear friends, like Abraham, we must simply believe our Father and submit ourselves to Him, entrusting our entire being to His authority. We must walk humbly before Him, acknowledging Him in all our ways. We must trust and obey Him in all things. And as we continue to trust and obey we will find that a seed of faith begins to sprout and slowly grow within us, leading us to places we’ve never been, places that defy the intellect and the wisdom of man; dark places rarely trod. And somewhere in that process, the process of trusting God blindly, without question, without doubt, we find that this One who cannot lie is, in fact, the substance of what we hope for; He is the evidence of what we can’t see. His immutable Word speaks volumes.
There are times when we feel like God has forsaken us; we can’t sense His presence; He seems so far away; it appears that He’s left us on our own, and that He’s refusing to help us. This is no time to panic and start looking for answers. Dear friends, hear this — hear this — hear this – the Lord is only training us up in the way we should go. He wants our obedience, and we learn obedience through the things in which we suffer; and we cannot suffer without trials and tribulations. He is disciplining us for our own good and, for that reason, He won’t immediately bail us out of every situation we don’t like.
In these situations, we must be still, and ignore every tendency to work things out our way. We must resist these tendencies and submit to our loving Father. Submit – Trust – Obey – letting patience have its perfect work; we must learn to endure; we must attain steadfastness and perseverance.
Dear friends, the Lord is always closer than our own thoughts, regardless of what we’re going through. We don’t need to claim His promises — we just need to take Him at His Word – dare to trust the One who cannot lie and submit to Him. Abraham believed and the promise of God came to pass. For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us, (II Corinthians 1:20 NASB). If we believe, we’ll receive. Amen.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant