The Equation

“So Abraham said to God, ‘May Ishmael live under your special blessing!’Genesis 17:18

Changing Abram’s name to Abraham did not change his heart, or solve the math problem he faced. When God promised to provide Abraham a son and an heir borne by his wife Sarah, “he laughed to himself in disbelief.” V. 17

God’s promise to Abraham was impossible to believe. It did not ignite Abraham’s faith. It revealed his disbelief.  Abraham bowed his body to the ground, showing an outward posture of submission, but his heart was in rebellion to God.

Abraham was trying to figure out a monumental math problem. He added up all the numbers, but lost his confidence in God’s capacity to do the math.

“’How could I become a father at the age of 100?’ he thought. ‘And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?’” V. 17b

Facing the monumental, Abraham was in need of a miracle. God gave him a math lesson. Faith always adds God to The Equation. God’s Presence is always greater than the sum of the parts. What did Abraham do? He prayed.

Abraham did not pray with great faith, but he brought God what little bit of faith he had. Abraham was still depending on God to use what he had already brought to the table. He asked God to make an exception of his son Ishmael, and give him a special blessing. God had other plans.

Abraham’s form of faith was trapped in his past. God intended to do something new. Hagar cried for her child, in the wilderness, and was heard by God. Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael reached God’s ears too. Both parents prayed for their child. God heard and answered their prayers. He still does. Still, The Father had more in mind.

Believing prayer opens the door of the heart of a child of God to receive His plan for their lives.  The child may begin praying with their own plan in mind, but believing prayer doesn’t end until The Father’s will is in their heart. Prayer adds God to The Equation. When adding up His promises, don’t forget to carry The One.

Abraham’s prayer was not based on his confidence in God’s resources. It was generated by an assessment of his assets. He already had a son. He prayed God would bless the one he had.

When Abraham heard the promise of God, he had a good idea. It just wasn’t God’s idea. Abraham asked God to bless the son he had. He held no expectation of God giving him another son. He considered the idea laughable when God said Sarah would be the instrument of His grace.

Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael was answered. If The Father waited for pure motives, and clear insight from His children before He answered their prayers, there would a lot less answered prayer. The Father takes the tiniest seed of faith His children bring to Him, and He makes something great out of it.

“As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked.” V. 20

The Father expects His children to be overwhelmed by the math of His promises. When they can’t figure out the problem, they would be wise to add Him to The Equation. He is always greater than the sum of the parts, and He makes the most out of the tiniest seed of faith.

God’s grace causes man’s resources to shrivel in comparison to His generosity. Too often prayer is based upon God’s children figuring out what they can do by themselves, and giving God the glory for it. This neither increases their faith nor honors God.Two words come to mind. STOP IT!

Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael was answered because he asked. God’s grace was poured out on Abraham even when he didn’t. This is the beauty of answered prayer. The Father longs to give more to His children than they could possibly imagine. Pray!

“’But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.’  When God had finished speaking, He left Abraham.” V. 22

NOTE TO SELF: When God is silent, He is not speechless.  Allow His promises to continue to speak to your heart. What He has promised to you in His Word, He will deliver to you, in His time. The air of prayer breathes new life into the promises of God. When you are in the waiting room, don’t take matters into your own hands. You may live to regret what you have done. When the deepest thoughts and concerns of your heart don’t add up, release them into The Father’s hands. Prayer adds Him to The Equation. Do the math. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!