I’m not a construction guy… I don’t build a lot things, I don’t really work with my hands, I don’t understand the physics or science of construction all that well, but one thing I know: Rebar is tough stuff… Rebar or reinforcing bar is that carbon steel bar placed in concrete structures to give it strength and stability. It’s somewhat bendable but incredibly strong and is used in everything from foundations to walls to keep structures together.
Now, I always though concrete was pretty strong simply on its own, and it is, but it is made that much stronger by rebar. When really crazy elements come up against a building it is the rebar that keeps the concrete together. If a construction company neglects the rebar their can be disastrous results.
You know, often I forget that my faith needs that same sort of reinforcing bar. It needs that same material to keep it strong and to maintain its security when the elements of the daily grind start to where on it. But what is the rebar of faith?
When I thought about that I had to take into consideration that this thing has to be stable, it has to be consistent, it is not something that tests faith (though those sorts of things strengthen faith as well), but it is the foundation where faith rests. That led me to think of one thing: prayer.
I know what you’re thinking… “My prayer life isn’t always that consistent or stable. How can that be the rebar?”
Well, that’s one key point. Just like the neglect of the reinforcing bar can have disastrous results on the integrity of a building, so can the neglect of prayer have a seriously negative impact on the integrity of one’s faith.
1 Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
2 Sing about the glory of his name!
Tell the world how glorious he is.
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Your enemies cringe before your mighty power.
4 Everything on earth will worship you;
they will sing your praises,
shouting your name in glorious songs.”Interlude
5 Come and see what our God has done,
what awesome miracles he performs for people!
6 He made a dry path through the Red Sea,
and his people went across on foot.
There we rejoiced in him.
7 For by his great power he rules forever.
He watches every movement of the nations;
let no rebel rise in defiance. Interlude
8 Let the whole world bless our God
and loudly sing his praises.
9 Our lives are in his hands,
and he keeps our feet from stumbling.
10 You have tested us, O God;
you have purified us like silver.
11 You captured us in your net
and laid the burden of slavery on our backs.
12 Then you put a leader over us.
We went through fire and flood,
but you brought us to a place of great abundance.
13 Now I come to your Temple with burnt offerings
to fulfill the vows I made to you—
14 yes, the sacred vows that I made
when I was in deep trouble.
15 That is why I am sacrificing burnt offerings to you—
the best of my rams as a pleasing aroma,
and a sacrifice of bulls and male goats. Interlude
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what he did for me.
17 For I cried out to him for help,
praising him as I spoke.
18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer.
20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
or withdraw his unfailing love from me. Psalm 66 (NLT)
Now, anyone reading this that remembers their Sunday School can probably pick up that this was written by Moses shortly after he and all of Israel ran from Pharaoh and Egypt… note the Red Sea reference… What’s interesting is that this is a Psalm praising God, but also a Psalm that shows life isn’t easy. Where does the joy of faith come from for Moses? Prayer. (see vs. 20).
Unlike some Christians, I don’t believe your life is supposed to be easy or fun or somehow happier just because you are a Christian. In fact, the mark of God’s people is suffering (but that’s a post for another day). The strength of Christianity is that we have direct access to our God. He is a personal God who cares deeply for His children. So that when we pray, something extraordinary happens… God actually listens. And our sincere prayers of faith can actually have an impact on what God does.
21Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21-22 (NIV)
How does that work exactly? To be honest… I don’t know. But I know that faith and prayer go hand-in-hand, and there is something supernatural that happens when a faithful person prays to the Creator of All Things… He listens.