What if I could show you how to get miracles, answers and provision from God? Would you be interested? What if I could point you to a way of seeing answers to prayer without operating in control or forcing an outcome? What if the mystery of God's interaction could awaken in your heart again instead of feeling like you have to abide by another formula?
I love the English language, and learning new words like salubrious (healthy). On the other hand, some common words in our American English culture, unfortunately, have lost their meaning. One of those words is hope. It is deeply ingrained in both the church and the world that hope means a strong wish or desire. We say, “I hope so” to mean that we desire something but we aren’t certain.
Here are three definitions of hope and how to experience it for yourself. First of all, hope, theologically, means the certain expectation of good. When you are certain that because of who God is and what has been accomplished in Christ, that you will receive something from Him…that is hope.
Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24)
Jesus makes one of the most outrageous statements he has ever made right here! He says whatever things you ask. “Whatever” is a huge, all encompassing, unqualified, ridiculously big word. He places no limitations on it other than believing because we can’t truly believe it if it is inconsistent with his work and his nature. He swings wide the door for us to live an unlimited life with an almost unbelievable promise.
Andrew Murray, said of this passage: “God forbid that we should try and bring down His ‘ALL THINGS’ to the level of what we think is possible. Let us now simply take Christ’s ‘WHATSOEVER’ as the measure and the hope of our faith: it is a seed-word which, if taken just as He gives, and kept in the heart, will unfold itself and strike root, fill our life with its fullness, and bring forth fruit abundantly.” (With Christ in the School of Prayer)
Faith is believing that I have a right to the whatsoever’s of God. Hope is the certainty that I will “have them”.
Biblical truth, though, was never designed to stand alone as some ivory tower theoretical. It was meant to be experienced by us personally, viscerally. Has anyone ever taught you how to experience hope?
The second definition comes from the Dictionary and it includes the idea that hope is“a feeling that what is wanted will happen; desire accompanied by expectation.” Did you get that? Hope is a feeling. Some branches of the Church say that we live by faith and not by feelings… but joy is a feeling and I want to live by joy. Peace is a state of being that has a feeling, and I want to walk in peace. Hope has a feeling associated with it, too.
If we reject the sense, the feeling of faith and hope, we essentially intellectualize it and then wonder why it doesn't "work."
Everything that Christ has freely given us and every blessing (empowerment) is in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3). It is an invisible spiritual inheritance until by faith and hope we bring it into the natural world. Do you know what is happening when you give yourself permission to feel hope? You have become the beginning answer to your own prayer. In other words, when you yield to the feeling of hope, you are already bringing something from the spiritual world, into the natural world. The miracle or answer is coming from your spirit into your soul. May you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers. It begins in your inner man before it moves outward. On earth, as it is in heaven.
When you yield your heart to the certainty of his promise, your feeling of hope is the beginning of a miracle. This is why Jesus said to believe that you receive NOW until you have it.
There is a third aspect of hope that is essential if we are going to experience what it brings to us. Hope is a godly imagination of the future. Abraham was promised by God that he would have an heir, a natural born son through his wife Sarah, even though she was barren and he was past the age to be able to reproduce. Abraham didn’t just walk in faith, he was a man who against all hope, believed in hope. Or to put it another way, he was a man who in spite of what he saw in the natural, believed in what he saw in his heart.
Do you know HOW God trained him in hope? God told him to look up into the heavens and showed him a picture that would imprint into his imagination. He said that as numerous as the stars in the sky, so would his seed be. So every night in his bed he would look up and see an image that reinforced his hope. Hope is a certainty of good, a feeling of confidence and expectation, and it is empowered by a godly imagination.
The world uses their imagination, or more accurately, the image center of their hearts, to conceive everything from Mars explorations, to iPhones, to extraordinary works of art, to creative ways to teach children. Yet, the Church tends to reject imagination and copy the world, instead of being the most creative imaginative and connected people on the earth. We are the ones connected to the Creator. We, in fact, were created from an image in the heart of God.
There is an amazing story in Genesis of how universally powerful images are in influencing the future. Jacob, took sticks and shaved the bark in various places in order to make them appear spotted. He then placed those sticks, those images, in front of the sheep so that while they mated, they were viewing them. The result was more spotted sheep. Jacob, had the power of blessing over his life and the sense to know the effect of the imagination even on animals. (Genesis 30:25-43) What could happen through you who are in Christ!!
Faith is the substance of things hoped for. What does that mean? The word for substance is HYPOSTASIS. Strongs 5287: hypóstasis (from 5259 /hypó, "under" and 2476 /hístēmi, "to stand") – properly, (to possess) standing under a guaranteed agreement ("title-deed", “Title of possession”); (figuratively) "title" to a promise or property, i.e. a legitimate claim (because it literally is, "under a legal-standing") – entitling someone to what is guaranteed under the particular agreement.
Faith gives me the legal entitlement to paint a picture of my future that is consistent with the finished work of Christ. Believing is always present tense. It is about setting your heart in the present moment in a relationship of trust and fellowship with a sense of healthy entitlement. It is not manipulating God. He has already said yes and amen. It is about our side of the equation of being a receiver through faith.
So How Do We Experience Hope?
Ps 4:4 tells us to commune with our hearts and with God on our beds. This is what Abraham did every time he looked at those stars. A picture of hope, an image, a movie script of a prewritten ending, gives faith something to work through.
Step 1: What is it that you desire? Is it consistent with what Christ received as an inheritance through resurrection (health, blessing, righteousness, peace, provision, ministry, etc)? Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above. Would this be a good gift?
Step 2: In partnership with the Holy Spirit write the movie script ending in vivid detail. The body of Christ is full of unnecessary stress because we don’t know how our story is going to end. We are wrongly waiting for God to sovereignly write the end of our story separate from us. God gives us the desires of our hearts and helps us conceive a seed of hope in our hearts through fellowship.
Step 3: Each night before you fall asleep, play that movie in your heart. Feel the wind, hear the words that would be spoken, see the miracle as if it were all present tense. Yield your heart to that feeling of hope. Know for certain that you have it now, while you wait for it to manifest in your life.
Important Note: Avoid the temptation to try to figure out the details. Leave the details to God and if he needs to, he will reveal his wisdom to you. You are to function like the Lord… He sees the end from the beginning. Avoid trying to control the outcome in any way... you are learning to receive, not force something to happen. You are learning to yield not control.
Step 4: Keep a journal by your bed because after a season you will begin to dream these very things, further enhancing hope.
How Long Should I Do This?
The Bible says, “He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.” (Isaiah 26:3) The word for mind there is translated imagination in other places. You keep playing that vivid script in your heart, over and over again until you come into that place of perfect peace. When you get there, you will know without a doubt that the answer is on the way.
What if it doesn't “work”? Michelangelo once said, “The greater danger is not that our hopes are too high and we fail to reach them. It’s that they are too low and we do.”
At His House Church we needed LCD TV's for our foyer and children's room. So for a few minutes before I left the office, for about three days I followed the above ideas. We didn't have the money for the TV's and I only told a couple people what I was asking for. Months later people who knew nothing of my prayer brought us 4 LCD TV's.