If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting.
Another prerequisite for powerful praying is an unshakable faith. As we look at Scripture, we see an inseparable link between faith and answered prayer:
- “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (Matthew 17:20).
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting” (James 1:5-6).
- “The prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him” (James 5:15).
What does it mean to pray in faith? Too many Christians today equate faith with positive thinking. They think if they can just believe that something is going to happen hard enough and long enough, then God will be forced to answer their prayer. Remember the children’s story “The Little Engine That Could”? The engine was chugging up the hill, saying, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can,” and it made it to the top and over. A lot of people think prayer is like that. They really want something to happen, so they say, “I think God will. I think God will. I think God will,” and then believe God’s going to act. That’s not faith; that’s presumption.
Faith is believing that God will do what He has promised to do and then acting accordingly. That’s why Elijah had such confidence in God. God had already revealed to him what he was to do on Mount Carmel. So when Elijah prayed, he was praying in faith, believing that God would consume that sacrifice just as He had promised to do. What does it mean for you and me to pray in faith? When we pray for a loved one to be healed from an illness, when we pray for a promotion at work, when we pray that a relationship might be healed, we may or may not be praying according to God’s will. We just don’t know. In those instances, when we don’t specifically know what God’s will is, what are we supposed to do? What does it mean to pray in faith in those situations? It means to boldly ask and quietly trust in God’s will. To pray with faith means we boldly tell God what is in our heart (“Lord, this is what I want”) and then quietly trust that God will do what is best (“Not my will, but Yours be done”). That’s praying in faith. However, when we pray that God would give us power in sharing the gospel with an unbeliever, when we pray that God would give us victory over temptation and sin in our life, when we pray that God’s name would be glorified in our lives–we don’t have to have any doubt because we are praying according to the will of God, and that gives us confidence in our prayer.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Practice the Principles of Powerful Praying” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.