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Praying In Faith


(James 5:15-18 NKJV) And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. {16} Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. {17} Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. {18} And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

The Seven Aspects

Well what are the attributes of prayer that heals and prayer that works miracles. Do you need to be an extraordinary sort of person? No, not at all "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours," says the apostle James and he meant it! The extraordinary thing is not the nature of the pray-er but the faith the prayer is offered in. There are seven aspects to faith that moves mountains and heals the sick - most of them can be found in Hebrews 11.

1) Faith believes in the creative power of God. (Hebrews 11:3)

2.) Faith believes in the invisible attributes of God. (Hebrews 11:1,6)

3) Faith believes that God rewards those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

4) Faith believes what God says - particularly His promises. (Hebrews 11:8ff)

5) Faith believes that God is holy and therefore refuses to sin. (Hebrews 11:24,25)

6.) Faith waits patiently for the fulfillment. (Hebrews 6:12-15, Luke 18:1,2 )

7) Faith is sensitive to God's agenda. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

To sum these things up - faith is man or woman who is totally at God's disposal. If God promises - they believe, if God commands they obey, if He calls, they go.

Faith and Grace

(Mat 8:13 NKJV) Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour.

(Mat 9:29 NKJV) Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you."

Throughout chapters 8 and 9 of Matthew Jesus repeatedly makes the point that faith saves people. I have chosen just two of them for this study. These two make it very clear that faith directs grace. Faith is the riverbed in which grace flows. "As you have believed, so let it be done for you.." "according to your faith let it be to you". This even applies to saving faith. (Eph 2:8 NKJV) "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God," . We receive grace through faith. We receive grace for salvation through faith, for healing through faith and for all God's saving acts big and small - through faith.

We cannot earn grace. Paul goes to great lengths to point out that that "earned grace" is a contradiction in terms. In fact he devotes the whole epistle of Galatians to this topic. Here are a couple of verses from Romans..(Rom 4:4-5 NKJV) Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. {5} But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, (Rom 11:6 NIV) And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

The point is this is simple - our prayers are never answered because we have been good. They are answered because we are in Christ and because we are recipients of grace through faith. The notion that God hears our prayers because we have been "good children" is Santa Claus theology. It is works all over again. If that was so our prayers would be answered even if we did not have any faith at all - provided we were good enough. However God never separates prayer from Christ. God makes our prayer life dependent on our believing in Him and in His Son not on our performance - praise the Lord!

Doing It

How can we then apply this to our daily ordinary prayer life? Firstly if we are to pray in faith we should be flexible in our praying and be prepared to adjust our agenda to God's agenda if it should turn out that way. We are His servants - not the other way around. Secondly we should be anchored in God and His word and have a firm conviction that it is true - just as true as 2+2=4. Thirdly when we have a definite and clear idea of what we are praying for before God then we must pray persistently until we see it come true. We must never give in. Prayer should never be offered with an attitude of "maybe God will answer, maybe He won't" but a conviction that He will! Faith is the certainty that God has heard us! (1 John 5:14-15 NKJV) Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. {15} And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Conclusion

Praying in faith is thus the main way in which we receive God's grace. This is scary because our faith seems so fragile and small. Yet even fragile small faith that is alive and growing can do mighty things. (Mat 17:20 NKJV) {20} So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Prayer in Practice

1. How do you feel about the Bible's claims that God answers prayers made in faith?

2. The things that stop us believing are often "the evidence of the senses". Abraham was very old when Isaac was born so it seems "impossible". How can you get past this in your thinking?

3. Name some promises of God that you can rely on when you pray?

4. Faith is eroded by over-questioning God about the issue. What makes you waver? Are you continually "checking up on God?"

 

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.