Pray with Faith
What does it mean to pray with faith?
There is a prayer that hopes, and there is a prayer that expects. One asks with an uncertainty of what will be, and the other asks with an unwavering confidence that it will. And the nature of each is determined by one’s knowledge (or lack thereof) of who God is. Knowing that He is good, able, and generous changes the nature of how and why we pray.
So often it seems like our prayers have become a timid wish list of what He might give us if He is in a good mood. It leaves a backdoor wide open in case He doesn’t come through. The courage to ask God for big things and believe that He will do them beckons a boldness that the Church desperately needs. We also know that the faith we offer Him when we pray brings Him great pleasure, for without faith it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Is faith the bedrock of your conversations with Him? Is there purpose in your prayers, or have they become a motion of empty words?
Mark 2 tells a story of Jesus ministering in Capernaum. As He spoke to the people in a crowded home, a paralyzed man and his friends entered the scene. With no way to squeeze through the crowd, they tore their way through the roof and lowered their friend down into the presence of Jesus. His kindness to forgive the man, and soon after to heal him, came in response to one very specific thing—their faith (Mark 2:5). There was an expectancy when they approached Jesus that superseded the inconvenience and embarrassment threatening their mission. We see another story in Luke 8 when the woman reached for Jesus’ robe in full belief of His power and His grace. She was immediately healed and Jesus said to her, “Your faith has healed you.” He was intentional to tell her that it was her faith that carried the power that day. How gracious He is to bring us in the process and teach us! She knew her need, and she knew her healer; and that was enough.
I got in a boat earlier today and crossed over the Sea of Galilee. How wild that is to even type! The idea that my Jesus walked on and rebuked the waves I traveled over was humbling to say the least. I tried to picture the moment when Peter took his first steps out of the boat at Christ’s invitation. When logic made no sense, it was the call of His Savior that trumped any reasoning. But I’d like to believe that it wasn’t placing his feet on the water that became his faith offering; instead it was the moment his remaining grip on the boat gave way. For his safety was no longer split between where he was and where he was going. While his hand was on the boat, there was still a plan B. There was still a way back should his faith fail. But now his rock was Christ and Christ alone.
Our prayers can be like that many times. We ask for great things, but don’t get our hopes up in case it doesn’t come to be. James tells us that prayers without faith are like wasted breath! For our prayers are like a confused wave, going about in every direction at the guiding of a fickle wind (James 1:6, paraphrased). May our prayers be directed by faith and not feeling—fully committed and hands off the rail!
Where are you exercising faith in your life right now? Is it difficult for you to expect good things from the Lord? Perhaps you’ve experienced disappointment at the hands of man or in your walk with the Lord. I pray today he calls you out of disbelief and back into a great expectancy in Him. He has never stopped loving you, and there is beauty still to be written in your story. For us all, remember this: faith is one thing that doesn’t exist in heaven. For we will see fully, and belief will no longer be necessary.
So, let’s exercise it as much as we can. Let’s ask with offerings of faith and hands open ready to receive. We will bring great pleasure to the Father and watch as the prayers we pray materialize in front of us, according to His glory and His goodness alone. Entitlement is only distasteful when someone assumes a right that isn’t theirs. But when you pray, the ear of the Father bends to you, for you carry the title of a child of God . . . Ask Him!