The Prayer of Faith

by John Edmiston

(Matthew 21:21-22 NKJV) So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. {22} "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

(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.

Here lies perhaps the greatest of frustrations for the believing praying godly Christian. We read verses like those above and, believing their encouragements with all our heart, set out in fervent prayer. We see some answers, many answers, but the one thing we REALLY want eludes us. I have been praying for a godly partner for three years now... with no result whatsoever. Thousands of other prayers have been answered but that one (at least at the time of writing) still eludes me. So I write this in humility. I do not claim to have discovered the key to the vaults of Heaven. I do claim that believing prayer can work many great things. I do claim that if you believe that if you pray earnestly and in faith that you will see astonishing things happen. I do claim that the Bible is true. I do not claim that you will get all you want. Your fleshly desires will remain unfulfilled. (James 4:3 NKJV) You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. God also has His time for answering things (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11). So within these limits let us look at the adventure of praying in faith.

  1. Have faith and do not doubt. Faith is a steady assurance that a good God will hear us. (1 John 5:14,15) and that He is faithful. Prayer is not "worrying before God". Prayer puts worry to rest (Philippians 4:6,7). Faith-filled prayer is steady and rock solid and knows what it is praying about.
  2. Faith speaks confidently (will) say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' (and) .it will be done . Faith is not just a thought or belief it is a belief that shapes our words and conduct. Faith shapes the actions of the believer. The least of these actions is our speech. For faith to be faith at all it must be capable of making us speak words of faith. If you truly believe in God - don't you say so - at least to your friends? Your beliefs shape your words. The person who truly believes the mountain will move will command it to move. The faith will produce the words - and the mountain will move.
  3. Faith asks "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Faith does not just sit and think. Faith does not just worry about it wishfully. Faith gets up, goes to God, and asks for it. Faith asks God for things. Some see this as tacky, as less than fully Christian, As if asking God for things was beneath them. By doing so they proclaim that they have forgotten that they are creatures of the Creator with needs He must meet. We CANNOT have our most basic needs in life met unless, like a little child, we come to God and ask. Faith does not demand selfishly it asks respectfully. God is on the throne, we are asking a boon from the King - not ordering the footman to obey. Faith is always humble and reverent. (Hebrews 5:7 NKJV) who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,
  4. Faith asks fervently. (James 5:16 NKJV)The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. The faith that moves mountains is not lukewarm. It is fervent like a flame. It cuts its way through to God like an oxy-acetylene torch. It proceeds from a focussed mind and a glowing heart. Faith is always fervent because it draws on the energy of God from whom proceeds blazing fire. Lukewarmness is a sign that we have started to walk by sight and to make our decisions by what we think and calculate is reasonable. Faith is not based on what our eyes see but on what the Scriptures say. By its very nature it must be fervent then for (Jeremiah 23:29 NKJV) "Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? If God's word is afire then faith is built out of the flames. It is hot stuff.
  5. Faith is productive (James 5:16 NKJV)The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much The word translated "effective" is energoumene which is related to our word "energetic". It actually means "to be effective" "to produce". Faith is concerned with actually producing something. It wants to get on with the job. Faith does not just gaze romantically at candles. Faith does not play at religion. Faith gets on with God's work. Faith is in the diligent steward carrying out God's Kingdom work for His Master. Faith is in the evangelist burdened to see souls won. Faith is in the bible teacher who wants to see lives changed. Faith gets angry at mere chit-chat. Faith demands action. And faith demands action from God. Elijah wanted results. Elijah prayed. Things happened. His demand for results made his prayer fervent and his faith bold.
  6. Faith proceeds from a righteous nature There is no use being productive and fervent and thoroughly evil. You will not be heard. (Matt 7:20-21). Righteousness is absolutely essential to answered prayer. You must be in Christ and clothed with His righteousness which you then work out into your thoughts, nature and actions. (See the article Hungering and Thirsting For Righteousness for a full discussion of this). Faith operates out of God's word and out of obedience. It is a dependent creature-Creator relationship. Faith trembles at God's word. Believing people believe the words of God and seek to put them into action. It is like a computer technician being asked "don't you believe the manual?" "Well of course i do" is the reply which is quickly followed by "Why then do you constantly disregard it thinking you know better or never even read it at all?". If we truly believe then we will obey.
  7. Faith succeeds Faith in prayer "avails much" - the mountain moves, faith works, it succeeds, it makes things happen. I have seen faith work wonders. It heals the sick (James 5:15) and provides daily needs as well as all that is necessary for the advancement of God's Kingdom. Faith succeeds because it is in a successful God. (Isaiah 14:24 NIV) The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. Because God's plans always succeed then prayer based on faith in God is always successful.

Go out and pray and pray and pray. We all learn to pray by praying. Take your faith and ask it to be made into a productive, righteous, fervent flame of God. Persist. Storm Heaven. Open the Scriptures and pray them. Take the mighty Word into your life. Content yourself with nothing less than successful praying. Disregard the testimonies of the lukewarm, the faint-hearted and the unbelieving. Believe the testimonies of Scripture and great men and women of God. Prayer is meant to succeed. Prayer does not just change us - it moves mountains. These promises are there to make you bold for God. Be bold - and do not shrink back.

Copyright Eternity Online Magazine 1997

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