The Prayer of Faith


by Dr. D. W. Ekstrand


The Nature of Prayer

Printable pdf Version of this StudyPrintable pdf Version of this StudyCommunion with God (prayer) is the very essence of the Christian life. At its heart, prayer is “walking with God”… it is “an ongoing dialogue with God” that characterizes a life lived in vital relationship to God… thus it is “an ongoing experience of God’s presence in our lives.” Prayer is much more than getting God to run errands for us; it is a matter of “turning our soul to Him;” the psalmist David describes it as the lifting up of the soul to God: “Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul” (Ps 25:1). When we lift up our soul to the Lord it gives God an opportunity to do what He desires to do in us and through us; hence, prayer essentially is “putting ourselves    at God’s disposalit is not a matter of persuading God to do what we want Him to do… nor is it a matter of bending the will of a reluctant God to our will; therefore, we must not conceive of prayer as overcoming God’s reluctance, but as “laying hold of His highest willingness.” Though God may capitulate at times and grant us our persistent stubborn requests, that only brings “leanness to the soul” (Ps 106:15); which simply amounts to being cursed with the burden of a granted prayer that is actually contrary to the will of Godsuch cursing is itself a very sober teacher.

Sadly, many people simply reserve prayer for “deliverance from physical emergencies (dangerous moments, sickness & illness, physical deficiencies, and challenging circumstances). Although such emergencies are significant moments for prayer, and remind us of our complete dependence upon God for everything in our lives, “spiritual manna from God to feed our souls” is a far more important reason for prayer. In this sense, the ultimate essence of prayer is fellowship and communion with Godcommunion with Him not only builds our relationship with Him, but “helps facilitate our being transformed into the image of Christ” (cf. 2 Cor 3:18); because it is through prayer that we are to “consciously align our will with God’s will.” God wants us to spend quality time with Himaway from everything elsewhere first and foremost we seek His face, and in doing so, love Him more and reflect His glory more. Such fellowship with the Most High, not only effectuates a change in us, but enriches and strengthens our faith.

The reality is, we need “alone time” with God, where we experience His love and grace in our lives. If it was essential for Jesus to commune with the Father, obviously it is essential for us as well.  Jesus believed in prayer… He knew the efficacy and power of prayer… He knew the importance of experiencing intimacy with the Father.  As believers, we too need to believe in prayer. Though our motivation to pray is sometimes quenched when Satan gets us to doubt whether or not our prayers will work or make any difference (notice the self-centered perspective Satan wants us to have regarding prayer), such thinking misses the main reason for prayerconversing and dialoguing and building and maintaining a relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Obviously, if spiritual sustenance isn’t our primary consideration when praying, we will be easily distracted when praying.  So, prayer is not a duty or a religious obligation or a means whereby we gain “spiritual brownie points” with Godwhat possible merit could such a religious action produce? If that’s what prayer is, why not just hire someone else to light our little prayer candle for us, and do our praying for us, and help build our little heavenly bank account? That kind of religious perspective is totally foreign to Scripture, so don’t turn your prayer life into some kind of meritorious ritual or magical incantationeven though that is the essence of prayer in the majority of the world’s religions. True biblical prayer ismovement of the soul toward God;” thus the foundation of our praying is “relationship with God,” and growing in that relationship. Though making requests are clearly genuine aspects of prayer (be it enrichment from poverty, protection from danger, deliverance from temptation, or fulfillment of a want or need), the need for communion with the Father is by far the most important and the most significant aspect; this is clearly seen in the prayers of Paul in the NT (cf. Rom 15:5-6; Eph 1:16-17; 3:14-21; Phil 1:9-11; Col 1:9-12; 2 Cor 13:7-9; 2 Th 1:11-12; 3:16). When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, essentially He told them that their prayer should include the following five things: 1) expressing reverence and adoration for God; 2) deferring to His wisdom and His will; 3) bearing the soul in contrition; 4) pouring out heart-felt thanksgiving to God for who He is; and 5) presenting petitions and supplications to Him (cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:1-4).

Daily nourishment from “Scripture” is indispensable to living the life of prayer, because God’s Word expedites the intervention of God    in our life. The reality is, our theology (that is, what we truly believe about God, which is the foundation of faith) is actually nurtured by prayer, and since theology is inseparable from spirituality, we cannot afford to neglect either Scripture or prayer and expect to grow in grace and faithwith that in mind, meditation & contemplation are both supplements of prayer, and draw us closer to God. The most acclaimed preacher and Bible commentator in the post-apostolic era of the church was John Chrysostom (400 AD)he frequently spoke of Scripture as being “essential nourishment for the believer’s soul;” it is the manna from heaven that is ministered to the soul by the Holy Spirit. Regarding prayer, he says “it is a harbor in the storms of life, an anchor for those who are storm-tossed… it silences the passions of the soul, assuages the rebellion of anger, dismisses envy, dissipates evil desire, withers the love of worldly things, and brings great peace and serenity to the soul.”  It is the means which unites man with God, and involves both a wrestling in the dark and a resting in the stillness… though there is a time to argue and complain to God, there is also a time to lay down the gauntlet and submit to Him. So prayer is both a pleading with God that He will hear and act upon our requests, and a surrender that confidently trusts God to act in His own time and His own way… but, as the theology professor Donald G. Bloesch says, “this confidence comes only through struggleultimately in prayer, we seek to bring our will into conformity with the purposes of God; so we pray not simply for our own personal wants and happiness, but for the righteousness of God and the advancement of His kingdom. Chrysostom goes on to say that we must pray with ever vigilant attention (which is only possible when we understand with whom we are conversing), and that during such times we are His servants offering sacrifice to God. Furthermore, we must seek spiritual progress by prayer with contrition, with reverence, with serenity, and with true humility… though sin oftentimes obstructs our walk with God, it is in prayer that we approach Him and are once again reconciled with Him.

Down through the ages, monks persistently searched for “the most quiet corner possibleto set up their sanctuary of prayer, because “silence” helps concentrate the mind, gives rest to the spirit, and keeps it in constant readiness. The object is to have external quietude penetrate into the soul, for without inner silence & peace, external quiet is of no avail. When the serenity of the soul is accompanied by gratitude toward God, great results can be achieved spiritually. Obviously, the community of monks greatly valued quietness of heart and solitude in the soul, just as our Lord didHe often went off into a quite lonely place to commune with the Father (cf. Mt 14:23; Lk 5:16; 6:12; 22:41); likewise, He enjoined believers to “go into their inner room and close the door when they pray” (Mt 6:6). The chief obstacle to prayer is often the vain thoughts and imaginations that Satan places in our minds to draw us away from the essence of prayer; therefore writes one monk, “the doors of the mind and of the heart must be well guarded, so that the originator of evil will not control them and be able to enter freely.” Chrysostom goes on to say, “Are you in a state of calmness and serenity? then, beseech the Lord to make more permanent this joy in your heart. Are you troubled by the onslaught of tribulations and temptations? beseech the Lord to calm the storm in your life. Has your prayer been heard? thank God. Have you not been heard? persist in your prayer until you are heard.” Contrition and compunction (that is, overcoming distressful thinking) are essential companions for effective prayer. When we tame our will by steadfastly abandoning non-spiritual thoughts and our love for the world, compunction will rule in our soul… but it is only achieved by temperance, vigilance and humility; efficacious prayer awaits those who pray without distracting imaginations. The enemies of prayer are burning desires, sinful delights, and diabolical thinking. [the source for much of the material in these last two paragraphs can be found in the book, “Athonite Flowers”].

Prayer in the Midst of Struggles

King David provides believers with a powerful reminder of their inherent weaknesses, and the wonder of God’s grace and love to quicken them even in the darkest of times. He says in the 143rd Psalm Quicken me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake; for Your righteousness sake, bring my soul out of trouble” (143:11). In this psalm David asks the Lord to revive his spirit; in it he employs one of  the strongest levers to move the hand and the heart of Omnipotencethe glory of God. As the nineteenth century pastor of London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle (where Charles Spurgeon would later become pastor) James Smith (1802-1862) said, “The soul that has been once quickened, often feels its need of being quickened again.” Like you and me, David often prayed for this blessing. He knew what it was to be overwhelmed, and have his heart desolate within him… as such, he looked up and sought the help of Heaven. He cried with fervor and pleaded with earnestness; he entreated for his life and sought deliverance from his enemies, as well as instruction in God’s ways, and a renewed sense of God’s loving-kindness. David’s soul was troubled, as all of ours are at times (though some more than others). Our faith is feeble and our unbelief is strong… at times we don’t seem to be able to get a grip on God’s promises or appropriate them to ourselves… we look on them with longing eyes, but we cannot draw from them the comfort we need. Obviously, Satan comes with his temptations in an effort to draw us from the Lord, and lead us to doubt and fear if he can divert our minds from the glorious gospel, he can soon bring us into bondage, if not into open sin… then darkness spreads over our soul and a gloom seizes our spirit… and we then feel a deadness in reference to all that is holy… the Word of God fails to make a sweet impression or offer us any refreshment… and the throne of grace loses all its attractions.  We try to pray, but the most we can do is sigh and groan.

Deadness of soul is a debilitating condition. To be surrounded with spiritual food, and not have an appetite to enjoy it is bewildering; to be loaded with privileges, yet feel neither life nor comfort from them is frustrating. Writes James Smith, “It is at this point that the hidden evils of the heart, the concealed corruptions that lie embedded deep in the soul, begin to rise, rage and roar. Such foul, filthy, and unmentionable corruptions are discovered. These terrify and alarm us, while Satan suggests that it is impossible for God ever to dwell in such a vile heart… or for Christ to love and nourish one so corrupt. It is at this point that the soul is like the troubled sea it finds no rest; just tossing, trembling, doubting, fearing, sinking, sighing, and groaning.” (these quotes by “James Smith” are from my own files, but I did not have access to their specific bibliographic references). Smith inquires of us: “Do you know anything of this? Many of the Lord’s people do. Some, who appear to others to have a very smooth path because all without appears to be prosperous suffer a martyrdom within. It is a difficult road along which many of God’s flock travel, but all do not sink so deep in the mire, or pass through such miry roads, as David did.” The psalmist prayed, “LORD, Quicken me! Revive me!” Only the Holy Spirit can quicken our hearts He gave us life at first, and He is the one who must renew us again & again. Just as God in nature renews the face of the earth in spring, so the Holy Spirit renews the souls of God’s tried and troubled people. “Bring my soul out of trouble!” was David’s cry. We can get ourselves into trouble, but only the Lord can bring us out of trouble; and this He does in His own way, and in His own time. In Psalm 143, David used two pleas to God, two reasons why God should act

First, “For Your name’s sake i.e., because You Lord are gracious, merciful, long-suffering, and abound in loving-kindness, goodness and truth; and because it is Your desire to be known as such. David here was praying, “For the sake of Your own glory, show Yourself to    be the God of loving-kindness and power which You are esteemed to be, that my soul might praise Your name (Ps 23:3; 25:11; 31:3); for the sake of the honor of Your name, that it might be honored by others, may it please you to quicken and deliver me and deal graciously and bountifully with me!” (Ps 25:15; 34:17; 138:7; 142:7). Likewise, we are also to plead the name of Jesus, and pray that for His sake, on account of who He is and what He has done and suffered for us, that we might be renewed, and that He might be praised. The prayers of most believers lack this perspective most often they simply ask God to do something “for their sake and what they have done”… rather than “for Christ’s sake and what He has done” (Ps 127:1; Jn 15:5; 1 Cor 3:6). Think about that. Asking God to do something “for His sake” or “for His Name’s sake,” essentially is a direct equivalent of asking God to do something “in Jesus Name for Jesus sake” (Jn 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23). Remember, God’s will (not our will) needs to be the “primary reason” for any request (Jn 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23). It should be noted, to ask for something in Jesus Name is not simply to insert His Name at the end of a prayer it is to ask in accordance with His mind and His will (Mt 26:39, 42; Jn 6:38), and it is to ask for those things which will glorify God, bless mankind, and are for our own spiritual good. Furthermore, in order to ask in Christ’s Name, we must live in close fellowship with Him, otherwise we would have no inclination of His attitude… and the closer we are to Him, the more our desires will be the same as His desires… so when we live in the center of His will, and walk in fellowship with Him, and ask for that which the Lord desires, we can be sure that our prayers will be answered the effective prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jam 5:16). Following are 36 passages from Scripture that stress the importance of action taken for God’s sake;” carefully reflect upon them to enhance your appreciation and understanding of this concept 2 Kg 19:34; 20:6; Ps 23:3; 25:7, 11; 44:22; 69:7; 79:9; 106:8; 109:21; 143:11; Is 42:21; 43:25; 48:9, 11; Jer 14:7, 21; Ezek 20:14, 22, 44; Dan 9:17, 19; Matt 10:18; 16:25; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 6:22; Acts 9:16; Rom 1:5; 1 Cor 4:10; 2 Cor 4:11; 12:10; Phil 1:29; Phil 1:6; 1 Pet 2:13; 1 Jn 2:12. Never forget, ultimately life is about God, not us… God is the One who is preeminent, not us that thought runs completely contrary to the flesh, because the flesh is all about self and its own autonomy. By the way, it takes most believers a “lifetime of struggling” to apprehend and accept this truth (Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 3:21; Col 1:16; 1 Tim 1:17; Heb 2:10; 1 Pet 4:11; 2 Pet 3:18). Carefully and prayerfully reflect upon each of the verses listed above in this section.

Second, “For Your righteousness’ sake from this expression we understand God’s faithfulness to His Word, in which He has promised to do these things for us… and His just dealing with us, as those in covenant with Him, for God has covenanted to withhold no good thing from us (Ps 84:11). Blessed be God that we can “plead His name! even though we can plead nothing of our own! Yes, we can “plead His righteousness! not withstanding our own unrighteousness!  Think about that why do we try to make ourselves “presentable to God” (which is impossible) in order to get Him to respond favorably to us? Remember, the only thing that is acceptable  to God is that which is “perfect! and Jesus is the only One who is perfect! We can approach God’s throne in heaven only because of Christ and His perfect righteousness! Even though we ourselves have “absolutely nothing” to bring to the table (so-to-speak), we have been given the wonderful privilege of pleading “His righteousness!”  Carefully reflect upon this concept we can plead His righteous-ness, even though we lack any righteousness of our own! Praise be to His glory! not ours! So why do we insist on being able to “bring something to the table” when we have absolutely nothing to offer? That is the work of Satan in our souls, insisting that we come worthy in and of ourselves (at least to some degree)… lest God cast us out! Satan will always make us feel “shamefully unworthy of God’s love when we sin”… the truth of the matter is, Satan is a religious junkie who wants to get us all tangled up in a “religion of works!” By the way, if that’s the track you’re on,    get off of it! You cannot win that battle! Jesus is our righteousness! beginning to end! (Gal 3:3, 11, 19).  Get your eyes off of yourself, and  get them on Christ! (Heb 12:2). Jesus is our salvation not us! Every good and perfect gift comes to us “from above”… that HE might be praised! Not us! Beloved, when you approach God’s throne, simply plead the blood of Christ! The truth is, there isn’t a man living on this planet who can stand in God’s presence because of anything he has done! If this is a strange concept to you, prayerfully wrestle through it again and again until it peacefully settles in your soul (Ps 103:14).

Writes James Smith: “Soul trouble is the heaviest trouble!” As Solomon said, “A man may sustain some bodily infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Yet, when soul trouble weans us from SELF, and drives us to the LORD, it does us good. Says Smith, “Whatever makes us pray is a blessing!” when the soul is troubled, it is at this time that our theology becomes more than just some forensic truth. The good news is, the Lord’s name and His righteousness and faithfulness may always be pleaded by us we cannot plead our own names, or our own doings but we can always plead the name of Jesus! even though we are shamefully guilty of some wrong! Therefore, however dark or dead we may feel… however Satan may tempt us, or corruptions work within us… however feeble our faith or strong our unbelief… let us still cry out to the Lord and plead His name & grace! that He may quicken us again, thus bringing our souls out of trouble… setting our feet upon a rock… and establishing our doings to the praise of His glory! It is also good to remember that what David experienced (at least in part) was also for our benefit (1 Cor 10:6, 11), and was recorded for our instruction and encouragement (Rom 15:4).

Paul writes: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man (1 Cor 10:13) there is no such thing as a new trial or  new temptation under the sun; none of us are subjected to a totally unique trial they are all common to men. All those men of great doctrinal knowledge down through the ages, who were at the forefront of Christian ministry, had their ebbs and winters. Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) battled terribly with a depressed soul he saw his depression as his “worst feature.” He once said, “This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry.” Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) suffered from depression throughout his life. Writes George Marsden in his biography of Edwards: “Even as he kept the disciplines of the faith, he was frequently afflicted by times of spiritual darkness.” Likewise, Martin Luther (1483-1546) also experienced great discouragement in his soul on one particular occasion he was forcefully reminded of this by his wife, Katharine: seeing him unresponsive to any word of encouragement, one morning she appeared dressed in black mourning clothes. Luther inquired as to the reason, and she responded, “Someone has died.” “Who died?” questioned Luther.  “It seems God must have died” his wife replied.  Luther got the point. All of God’s great saints were familiar with the despondency and depression that David and others in scripture experienced. The author of Psalm 42 was downcast and troubled in his soul, because it seemed to him that God had forgotten him thus he was far more aware of God’s absence than God’s presence… just as we often are.

Many of the saints in Scripture experienced “darkness of the soul,” and many godly men in the history of the church have also experienced it. Needless to say, it is perplexing to the mind, because one expects God to respond in a tangible way when the seas roar in our lives. Let me quote the words of the psalmist David My God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning… I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer, and by night, but I have no rest” (Ps 22:1-2). Likewise he writes, “To Thee, O Lord, I call… do not be deaf to mehear the voice of my supplications when I cry to Thee for help” (Ps 28:1-2). Later he goes on to say: “Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my supplicationsmy soul longs for Thee as a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; do not hide Thy face from me” (Ps 143: 1, 6, 7). Similarly the psalmist Asaph writes, “Has God forgotten to be gracious? Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Then I said, It is my grief, that the right hand of the Most High has changed” (Ps 77:9-10; also cf. Ps 10:1; 13:1; 42:1-3; 51:12; 88:1-7). Job writes, “When I expected good, then evil came; when I waited for light, then darkness came” (Job 30:26). Keeping those passages in mind, David at another point writes, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears…. the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them…. The righteous cry and the lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:4, 7, 17-19). Likewise he says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destructionHe set my feet upon a rockand put a new song in my mouth” (Ps 40:1-3). David also writes: “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Ps 55:22). Here are some of the most encouraging words in Scripture: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble (Ps 46:1). The psalmist emphatically exclaims four times in Psalm 107, “They cried out to the Lord in their trouble; and He delivered them out of their distresses” (Ps 107:6, 13, 19, 28). The inevitable conclusion of both avenues of thought expressed above is that God ultimately rescues us from our troubles;” the idea being that His rescuing is not always as swift and pain-free as we would like it to be; the reality is, there are times when the darkness is so long and debilitating that one feels it will never go away, no matter how much we petition the throne (cross-reference that man named “Job”). Regarding darkness, David said, “Thou dost light my lamp and illumine my darkness” (Ps 18:28; cf. 2 Sam 22:29; Ps 27:1). The foregoing is the incredible teaching of God’s Word.


Prayer and a Crisis of Faith

The common expression crisis of faith is a term applied to periods of intense doubt and internal conflict about one’s preconceived beliefs. The believer who undergoes challenging difficulties says, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24); the reality is, none of us have a perfect faith; there is a degree of unbelief in every heart (that is simply the residual effect of inhabiting sinful flesh. As such, believers are exhorted in Scripture to “grow as Christians” (cf. Eph 4:15; Phil 2:12; 1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 3:18). And as Jesus Himself said, “If we would find, we must seek… and if we wish the door to be opened to us, we must knock” (Mt 7:7). There are many Christians outside the church today because of a crisis of faith; they have lost the kind of joy and zeal they once had for serving God, and oftentimes they are not even able to pinpoint exactly when that happened. For many it can be traced back to a crisis time in their walk with God when they reached a place of desperation and felt that God was not there… or that God failed to provide for them, so they hold that against Him. The causes for such a crisis are extremely variedit could be the loss of a loved one, a financial disaster, a relationship break-up, or a job lossthe root causes can cover several issues. We can see this in the lives of five great men of God in the Old Testament… men who reached such a great crisis point in their walk with God that they asked God to take their life, and wondered why they had ever been born.

1.  Moses He responded to God with these words: “This job is too much for me… if this is the way You’re going to treat me, just kill me now and end my miserable life” (cf. Num 11:14- 15). How could such a successful leader like Moses ever come to a place where he felt he could not go on? This crisis came out of a deep seated sense of insecurity; Moses simply felt he was not up to the task God had called him to do.

2.  Elijah Scripture tells us that “Elijah was afraid when he got Jezebel’s message that she wanted to kill him… so he walked a whole day’s journey into the desert… he begged the Lord to take his life… he had had enough… he was no better than his ancestors” (cf. 1 Kg 19:    1-4). It was here where the man through whom God had performed the miraculous, asked God to take his life. Although it seems like a strange paradox, the man of power was now in his crisis time filled with fear, afraid of Jezebel, and feeling like he was all done and that no one else believed like him.

3.  Job This man of pain and suffering cried out to the Lord, “Why didn’t I die at birth?” (cf. Job 3:11). Here we find the prosperous and respected Job asking God why he had ever even been born. The unforeseen disaster that had come upon Job caused such suffering that  Job reached a dramatic crisis in his walk with God.

4.  Jeremiah This renowned prophet cried out to the Lord, “Put a curse on the day I was born! Don’t bless my mother!” Jeremiah felt such an outward shame and humiliation that what he had prophesized had not come to pass, and this brought about an immense crisis of faith for Jeremiah in his disappointment with God for not doing as he had promised.

5.  Jonah In the midst of his humiliation Jonah cried out to the Lord, “Now let me die! I’d be better off dead!” He had not wanted to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh because they would repent and God would spare them. This is exactly what happened and Jonah came to a crisis point because of his pride in wanting “his will” more than God’s will.

All five of these men ultimately chose not to abandon their faith in God. They were each able to have a “crisis of faith” and not lose their faith. They did this by recognizing a salient truth God has a plan. Though His plan may not be our plan, or we may not understand it, or He may not reveal it to us, God is still in control, and still working. In every case God worked out His purposes even if these men initially could not see it. Whether it is fear, insecurity, disappointment, suffering or pride, only by trusting God’s ultimate plan can we overcome a crisis of faith. In each situation God ultimately provided an answer proving His complete faithfulness.  The reality is thisthe cost is simply way too high to sacrifice all the benefits of our faith over a temporary crisis.

So when we take our doubts and troubles before the Lord, what exactly is the meaning of this thing called prayer”? The nineteenth century theologian, Charles Hodge, describes prayer as “the converse of the soul with God”… keeping that description in mind, it is important to remember what we stated earlier, the essence of prayer is the alignment of our will with God’s will (carefully reflect upon that statement). Therefore, “wrestling with our fleshly inclinations” is often a vital part of prayer, because they are frequently at the forefront in our thinking. Since seeking the mind of Christ (2 Cor 10:5) is essential for effective prayer, “self-examination” is one of the chief characteristics of prayer. To keep prayer in a proper perspective, the prayer of the righteous is: Thy will be done.” (Mt 6:10; 1 Jn 5:14-15). Thus prayer is not a matter of “trying to convince God of the merit of our will or what we want,” even though that is understandably an integral part of some of our praying (Mt 26:39). With that in mind, the Christian life essentially is conformity to the will of God,” and that means reflecting and meditating and wrestling with the truths of God’s Word faith, my friend, is a “fight!” (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7). So prayer is not just the solicitation of God’s help to get us out of trouble or deliver us from evilor enlarge our bank account. First and foremost then, efficacious prayer begins by approaching God with a “right attitude being humbly mindful and grateful for who God is (our Maker, our Lord, our Master and our Redeemer). In the process of seeking His face, God will then clear away all the conflict-ing thoughts that surround our circumstances, that we might come full circle and pray in concert with His will. Thus in prayer, we experience God as not only personal, but powerful… He not only hears us, but He responds to us in kind. As Jesus taught: we are to “pray in His name;” that is, for His name’s sake (cf. Jn 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23) to ask for something in Jesus Name is to ask in accord with His mind and His will (cf. Mt 26:39, 42; Jn 6:38); hence, it is to ask for those things which glorify Him… bless mankind… and enhance our    own spiritual good. Perhaps it is helpful to keep the concept of faith in mind when praying, because it is only the “prayer of faith” that resonates with God. Here are some thoughts on faith you might consider:

  • Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1)
  • Prayer soars to heaven on the wings of faith — St. John Climacus
  • Genuine faith in God is efficacious in prayer — Anonymou
  • Faith gathers strength in us by practice — Joseph Addison
  • Faith gives certitude to our prayers; without faith prayer is but wishful thinking — Anonymous
  • Faith is being confident of God’s hearing us, and His responding to us — Jeremuy Taylor
  • Faith trusts God in this dark, fallen, upside down world in which we live — Anonymous
  • Faith puts its hand in God’s hand that it might walk uprightly through this rocky world — Anon
  • Faith and a sincere life are required of us, not loftiness of intellect — Thomas a Kempis
  • The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials — George Muller
  • Faith alone unites the soul to God — St. John of the Cross
  • Faith discerns God and the things of God — John Wesley
  • Faith is conscious of God’s presence in one’s life — G. S. Meriam
  • Faith believes in the existence of God and the unseen order — Anonymous
  • Faith is the disclosure of truth to the human heart by the Holy Spirit
  • Faith triumphs over incongruity and meaninglessness — Reinhold Niebuhr
  • Faith is a gift of God, not a gift of reasoning — Blaise Pascal

Let me encourage you to read a couple of studies I have done on these issuesthey are: Transformed Living & The Dynamics of Genuine Faithyou can find them on my website at: Some of the foregoing material was taken from these two studies.