The greatest legacy of all is to know God, from which every other legacy gains meaning and purpose. The more we know God, the more we trust Him. Knowing God is a process that takes a lifetime, with markers along the way that indicate our progress.
The 4 Markers of Faith
Marker #1 — Trusting God
In a relationship with God no two people are alike, and none of us will experience God in exactly the same way. God is completely true and trustworthy, and He will prove himself to you. Do you trust God with your eternity? Do you trust God with your daily life? Why are we quick to trust God with our eternity, but we hesitate to trust Him with our daily lives? I believe with all my heart that God simply wants us to trust Him.
Marker #2— Loving God
God wants to have a personal relationship with everyone, but He will not impose on us. God is already waiting for us. Is it possible to know God as you know your best friend? I believe the answer is, “Yes.” The more you know God, the more you love Him.
Marker #3— Obeying God
Obedience is the natural next step in knowing God, after trusting and loving Him. Admittedly, you have to know what He is saying before you can obey Him.
Marker #4— Serving God
In our progressive relationship of knowing God, there is an important reason for listing serving God last. Usually we end up serving as we obey Him. The happiness that comes from service, which originated as obedience, is so intense that words cannot accurately describe it. You have to experience it for yourself to understand.
Growing in Faith Through Prayer
Prayer is an integral part of our growth in Christ and goes hand in hand with trusting, loving, obeying, and serving God. Of all the things that a Christian does, such as attending church and serving others, communicating with God through prayer is the most important to me. I say this now, but it wasn’t always the case. Prayer is communicating with God; I am talking with Him, and He is talking with me.
The reality of prayer is obedience, and what makes prayer effective is faith. However, prayer also requires action. When God speaks we are to obey Him even if it doesn’t make sense to us at the time. The crux of the matter is this: Without faith, prayer accomplishes virtually nothing, but with faith, anything is possible. There are five main reasons why I pray:
I love to pray. The more I pray, the closer we get in our relationship. Yes, sometimes I pray because I have a need. More than any other reason, I pray because I love God and I love to communicate with Him.
I’m not in control. I always pray because I’m not in control. I pray not out of fear, but out of faith that God will orchestrate events in my life and my family’s life.
I pray because I need help. I love to help people, but I recognize that without God’s help my efforts are far from what they could be.
I want things to change. Prayer does indeed change things, but the majority of change takes place in me. Pray for His will to be done, then go with the flow.
I need to do His will. If I pray according to my own desires, then I’m wasting my breath.
Being steadfast and tenacious in prayer will move mountains, whether for ourselves or others. God wants to answer our prayers. We must believe that He hears our prayers and acts on our behalf. That is faith. Faith has nothing to do with time, and everything to do with trusting God. Does this mean that God answers all my prayers? Yes, but not necessary in the way that I want Him to.
Although God desires to answer our prayers, we have to be willing to do our part. God wants to do it His way, through me. He is a giver, not a taker; He always reciprocates to a larger degree. When I let God work through me, something remarkable takes place.
When I surrender my life to Jesus, God accepts me and will never give up on me. Because of grace, God accepts nothing in return for what He has done for me. Grace is a word people often use but seldom understand. Grace should not be confused with mercy. Mercy is letting you off the hook for something you did or rightly deserved. Instead, grace is giving you something you do not deserve and could not get by gain or earn, no matter how hard you try.
It is a joy seeing evidence of the markers of faith in your life as well as allowing God to speak to you through prayer. More so than a financial legacy or one based on your accomplishments in life, a legacy of faith in God lasts for an eternity. Walking with Christ is a lifelong journey that never ends.
Paul J. Meyer, a New York Times best-selling author and millionaire many times over, exemplifies faith and service to others in his daily life. To learn more about learning to know and trust God, order Paul's inspirational CD, Elements of Faith today, available at www.pauljmeyer.com or Amazon.com.