20 Nov 2020

Prayer and Faith

Prayer is linked to faith in Scripture:

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

It is our understanding of God in His nature and character that affects our prayer most deeply. Faith focuses upon the object and not on itself; the prayer of faith thus rests upon the glorious and great character of God.
Our prayer of faith reaches out to God in three aspects of His being:

(a) Firstly, we reach out to Him as the sovereign Lord of the universe and affirm that He is the creator of all things, heaven and earth and the sea and everything in them. He holds all things together and He rules over all. Hence we can have great confidence to come before His throne of grace.

(b) Secondly, we reach out to His promises and trust that every word He has spoken will certainly come to pass. We rest in His faithfulness and that He remains the same, yesterday, today and forever.

(c) Thirdly, we reach out to His good and perfect will. The prayer of faith is not an insistence on getting what we want, but it is a trustful confidence and rest in the Father’s wisdom, love and care for His people.

We need to walk in the steps of our Saviour when we tell Him and the Father that however much we desire and long for something, God’s will has priority for us; we want HIs will and only His will even though we know how much it costs and how much it involves. Here is one of the most important lessons we can learn about prayer.

The prayer of faith learns to wait patiently for God to act, always conscious of His faithfulness, His goodness and His perfection. As we wait on God, He leads us to see that the initial motivations in our prayers were more concerned with comfort, convenience and even glory for ourselves and less with His honour, HIs praise and HIs glory. He thus helps us to purify our motives in His sight and attunes us more directly to Himself than to our own self-centeredness and self-serving requests. So we are to learn to pray to God in order to further the praise of God first and foremost, not to gratify selfish concerns in which God has no place. God seeks to search the inner realities of motivation, purpose and desire that prompt our prayers and to enable us to grow in godliness and to be more like His Son.

A godly man once said:

” Skillful swimmers are not afraid to get into water over their heads, whereas young learners feel for the ground and stay close to the bank. Strong faith does not fear when God carries the believer beyond the depth of reason”.

It is as if we are swallowed up in a sea that is bigger than we are and we have no idea how to get out of trouble, but our eyes are upon the Lord God, and we trust in the tenderness of His heart and in the faithfulness of His promise. The more contented the Christian’s heart is under the changes which providence brings on his state and condition in the world, the stronger is his faith. God uses circumstances and even sufferings to mould the heart and faith of the believer; as he clings to the perfect goodness, love and wisdom of God even in the most trying situations; he is moulded into the image of the Saviour. But not all believers ‘benefit’ from these lessons; they forget that they are living the future in the present and that there are ‘two worlds’ and ‘two lives’ for the people of God in this world.