When we pray to God, or Jesus, and ask for something, favours perhaps, or even a miracle; who are we praying to exactly?
Is it an invisible benevolent magician somewhere up in the sky whom we have been taught to believe in and to ask for good things? After all, none of us have seen Him; so how can we be sure that He is actually there and listening, let alone giving us what we ask for.
And when we receive what we asked for and we go around happy that He has answered our prayers; are we genuinely sure that it was He who did so, or are we self-deluding ourselves into believing that there is a benevolent magician after all who helps those who love Him?
Let us now consider the people at the time of Christ; when He walked this earth.
When they asked for favours they knew that this Man they were addressing had special powers. They had seen those powers performed on others; or had heard about them. Some even believed that He was a different man from the rest of society. On a higher moral plain. Some even believed He was/is the Son of God.
When Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus had died, Martha reprimands Jesus by saying ""If you had been here, my brother would not have died." She does not say that out of pure faith. She says it because she had probably seen His power elsewhere when he healed others; or perhaps she had heard of His healings.
She then continues, "But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him." Yet again, she probably had seen others raised from the dead at the hand of Jesus; so she knew that He could raise her brother if He wanted to.
On His way to Capernaum Christ met a Roman Centurion whose servant was very ill. He asked Our Lord to help the servant, and when Jesus made His way towards the house the Centurion said ‘Lord, I do not deserve that you come under my roof. But just say the word and my servant will be healed.' Here again, we have an example of someone having faith in Jesus, but most probably this faith too is based on experience of other healings he may have witnessed by Jesus.
The woman who dared touch Jesus' cloak knowing full well that she would be healed showed faith, but she too perhaps had witnessed such miracles before and thought, "Why not me? He can heal me too!"
The point I am trying to make here is that the Bible is full of examples of people asking Christ favours and receiving miracles time and again. Those people had faith in the Son of God but their faith was based on facts. Miracles they had seen happen time and again to others. So quite rightly they asked for these miracles for themselves too. Their faith was tempered by the realities they had seen.
But how about us? When we pray and ask for favours, how certain are we that we will receive what we ask for from someone we have never met in real life and seen face to face as the contemporaries of Jesus did?
How greater is our faith than that of those who have seen and witnessed?
Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:28-29)
Smile ... ... ... How blessed are you in the eyes of God.