The Essential Quality of Faithful Prayer
I had only been a Christian for about a year when I started attending a Christian College in Southern California. In my first year, I met a Kenyan girl who was had an incredible prayer life. Intrigued, I asked if we could become prayer partners. She agreed and we began to meet weekly to pray with and for each other.
Several weeks later, she asked why I never prayed for my father. I told her that my real father had left me when I was four years old and I hadn’t heard from or seen him in over 13 years. In fact, I didn’t know where he lived or if he was even still alive. After hearing my story, she suggested that we exercise faith in God and seek to get an answer from Him regarding my father. I was caught off guard, but decided to hang on to her faith and see what happened.
Within 10 days of praying for my father, I was feeling sick and was lying in bed when I received a call in my dorm. To my shock, the person on the other end of the line said, “Hi Eric, this is your Dad”.
I asked how he found me, and he said that he had kept track of me over the years. He knew my mom’s phone number and he got my number from her. I then asked why after all these years he had decided to call, and he simply said he was working that morning doing construction at a church (he was not a Christian) and he couldn’t get me off of his mind.
Needless to say, this whole incident stunned me and catapulted me into a journey of faith that has only grown over the years. I wish I could say that every time I have prayed for the miraculous, that God has acted as He did in this situation, but I have learned some important things about faith and prayer, even when God does not respond the way I want him to.
When I pray for my own needs or interceding for another person, I am essentially saying to God that I trust him and I need Him to act. Prayer is an act of faith. It is my willingness to acknowledge the power (He can answer the prayer) and love of God (He often times desires to answer the prayer offered in faith) Over the years, I’ve also learned that all prayer is answered, sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no, and at other times the answer is wait.
Faithful prayer opens my eyes to what God is doing, what He is capable of doing, and aligns my thoughts with His will. Faith is the essential character trait for every Christian – God requires that we believe in Him and trust in His love for us. Here are some of the reasons faith in God is so important:
Faith is what saves us:
In Luke 7:50, Jesus spoke into a sinful woman and said “Your faith has saved you, go in peace”. This same phrase is echoed in Romans 3:38 “So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.”, and 5:28 “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”
Without faith, salvation is incomprehensible and unattainable.
Faith is what pleases God:
In Hebrews 11:6 the writer proclaims, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
At the core of our relationship, God calls upon us, his children, to exercise a basic faith. We are called to trust that he is who he says he is.
Faith as a mustard seed:
It is not the measure of faith that matters, but whom our faith is in. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus chides the people when he says, “You don’t have enough faith. Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there, and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Faith makes things happen:
In Matthew 9:29 Jesus healed two blind men and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” This theme is reiterated several times in the gospel when Jesus says (Mark 5:34) to the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
Or in James 5:13-15 when the sick in the church call for the elders to anoint with oil and pray over them, James writes, “Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well.” Faith is the activator of God’s heart. As James 4:2-3 says: “Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.”
So where do you stand when it comes to faith? The writer of Hebrews in (10:38a) challenges us “and my righteous ones will live by faith.”
Faith is the distinguishing mark of the Christian’s life. Whether it’s faith that leads to salvation, faith that waits for one’s physical healing, faith in God providing what is lacking, faith that opens the eyes of the unbelieving, faith the sparks a father to call his son after 13 years of no contact, or faith that brings about a miraculous result.
- What hinders or blocks your faith?
- What could move you toward greater faith in God?
- What could you trust God for today?