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Faith

Faith is the key force in prayer. Over and over Jesus told the people he healed that their faith had produced the result. (Matthew 9:22, 9:29, Mark 5:34, 10:52, Luke 7:50, 8:48, 17:19, 18:42) Jesus also testified that if we have faith, and do not doubt, nothing will be impossible to us. (Matthew 17:20, 21:21) All things are possible to the person who believes (has faith in God).

Faith is a power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20) that God uses to do what we ask: to produce results in prayer. The key question for a given prayer is if there is enough faith working in us to produce the results of our prayer. We need the truth regarding some additional questions if we are to perfect prayer.
  • What is faith?
    • What is doubt?
  • How do we increase our faith?
    • How do we overcome fear and doubt?
  • What results can be produced with the faith working in me?
    • Is there enough faith working in me to produce the results for my prayer?
  • How do I use faith to produce the results being sought in prayer?

What is faith?

Faith is believing that something or someone is a reliable source of what one needs. Faith that produces results in prayer is believing that God is a reliable source of the result we are seeking - and is based on the testimony of the Word and Spirit of God. It is believing that God is a source that can be trusted to answer the prayer: he has the supply needed and he won't withhold the supply. Trust is the action of actually relying on God to supply the need. Trust risks the consequences of the need not being met. Faith that doesn't have actions of trust - that rely on the source trusted - is unused faith. Faith that produces results in prayer has some actions that rely on God to provide the result - actions that risk the consequences of the need not being met.

Consider an example. Say I believe that God builds boats that can be trusted not to sink and that I need a boat to get across a lake. God gives me one of his boats to use. I can’t use his boat to get to the other side of the lake without trusting that it will do so without sinking. I can’t use his boat to get to the other side with risking sinking in the middle of the lake. Faith that doesn’t get in the boat is unused. It is dead. It won’t get me to the other side of the lake. It won’t produce the result in prayer.

This is where we encounter our first problem with prayer. We don’t like experiencing the risk involved in trusting someone else to meet our need. This is made an even bigger problem when we’ve experienced prior failure in prayer. (This is a good example of where failed prayer produces undesirable results.)  We try to minimize the risk by means of some additional help. As a result we end up with doubt.

Doubt is believing that our need can be met by something or someone other than God while also trying to trust God to meet our need. When we doubt we try to minimize the risk of trusting God by also trusting in the other source to meet the need. The nature of spiritual law that governs prayer is such, however, that only one thing can truly be trusted at a time to meet the same need. We either trust God, or we don’t, and we must trust God to receive from him.


How do we increase our faith?

Faith that produces results in prayer is believing that God is a reliable source of the result we are seeking. Increasing faith is a matter of increasing the degree to which we believe that God is a reliable source of the result we are seeking. Believing is measuring evidence as truth. We increase our faith by examining the available evidence about God and about what he is willing and able to give us. Faith comes by hearing (the truth) and hearing comes by the word of truth. Faith comes by hearing the word of the testimony of the great cloud of witnesses who have trusted in God and found him to be a reliable supplier of needs: people who believed God is and that he supplies the needs of those who diligently seek him. Faith comes by hearing the Spirit of Truth guiding us into the truth. Faith is a result of prayer. It is produced by our prayer for faith and by sowing the word of God into our hearts and protecting it from tares so it can produce hearing and faith.

We increase our faith in a specific area by examining the available evidence in scripture about that area. For example, if we need to increase our faith that God is not withholding from us we need to examine scripture that testifies that he does not withhold from us and that testifies to how freely and abundantly God gives to us .

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)


What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)


While we were yet sinners God gave his son to die to give us salvation, redemption, life, and righteousness. How much more now, being cleansed by his blood and made righteous, shall he not with Jesus freely give us all things?

If we need to increase our faith regarding the will of God we need to examine scripture that gives us examples of his will. For faith regarding results in prayer we need to examine scripture that shows us what results have been produced in prayer. We need to keep examining - sowing - that particular type of Word testimony until we have enough faith in that area to produce results in prayer. (And do even more examining as we grow still further in prayer.


How do we overcome fear?

Fear is believing that a trusted source of supply has failed or will fail and we will experience the consequences of that failure. It is believing that the boat will sink and we will drown. Fear is rooted in concern for self: concern for the what we will suffer. There are three ways to work to overcome concern for what we may suffer by trusting God.

One way to work to overcome fear is by increasing faith to the degree where we become convinced that failure is not possible. Another way to overcome fear is to not care about any consequences of failure we may suffer.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalms 55:22)

Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)


The final way to overcome fear is love. There is no concern for self in true love. Love is willing to suffer, if necessary, to draw closer to God, to have his name held holy, for his kingdom and his righteousness, and to help those around us. Love moves us not to care about any consequences of failure we may suffer.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: (1 John 4:18)



How do we overcome doubt?

Doubt is believing that our need can be met by something or someone other than God while also trying to trust God to meet our need. The two most common and difficult forms of doubt are
  • trusting through evidence that is seen as a source of truth while trying to trust in God through evidence that is not seen
  • trusting in the supply for wage system as a source for supply while trying to trust God to freely give what we need and desire
We overcome doubt in part by better perceiving what we are trusting our sources of supply to do and seeing that only God is a truly reliable source. We are not just trusting them to supply our need. We are trusting them to withstand and overcome all force and authority that may rise up against them or us to prevent them from supplying our need. Trusting a boat to get us across a lake also trusts that it will withstand all waves and storms.

Evidence that we perceive with our senses is not truth, it merely suggests the truth. A fever doesn’t mean a person is sick, it suggests they are. Fever may be evidence of a number of other things. The same is true will all evidence we perceive with our senses: what we perceive may be evidence of a number of different things. We accumulate evidence in an effort to measure what is true. We measure according to our experience and by what others, who we measure to have experience, tell us is true.

On the other hand, what God says is true. What evidence we perceive with our senses suggests makes no difference. It doesn’t matter if evidence we see suggests what God says is true, or if it suggests that what God says is not true. What God says is true.

We overcome doubt by better perceiving the trustworthiness of God and the untrustworthiness of all others.

Doubt is also overcome when we perceive the limits, costs, of and benefits associated with the sources of supply. We trust in sources other than God at a cost of developing our prayer, faith, patience, experience, and hope in God. It costs us closer fellowship with God and opportunity to contribute to God being glorified and his name held holy. Even if other sources were fully reliable, and they are not, the cost of receiving from them is too high.


What results can be produced with the faith working in me?

God is able to do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we ask or think (infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams) - according to the power that works in us. (Ephesians 3:20)


God does all that we ask according to the power of faith that works in us. What does the scripture say can be done?

All things are possible to him that believes. (Mark 9:23)

Nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)



Is there enough faith working in me to produce the results for my prayer?

What God says is true, is true. If he says there is enough faith in us to produce the result then there is, even if we don’t feel like there is. Evidence of enough faith working in us to overcome fear and doubt and trust God to supply the result prayed for is helpful, but it really comes down to what God says is enough.


How do I use faith to produce the results being sought in prayer?

How we use faith in prayer to produce results depends on the nature of the prayer. It depends on the opposing forces working to prevent the results and how we must overcome them. It depends on the spiritual law governing the prayer and receiving the results sought. Basically, we ask God how we are to pray the prayer and use our faith accordingly. God may provide the result directly or give us means - which require our faith to use - to receive the results.

Consider the prayer of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking what he must do to receive eternal life. There is spiritual law governing the receiving of eternal life. Jesus gave him the means that worked according to the spiritual law. If the rich young ruler used his faith to follow the means given, then he would receive eternal life.

First part of the means: “You know the commandments.” - “All these have I kept from my youth up.”

Second part of the means: “You lack one thing: sell all that you have, and distribute unto the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”
Imagine. One thing away from eternal life and Jesus just told you the one thing needed!

There is no man that has left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who will not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. (Luke 18:29-30)


Jesus gave him the means: means which required him to use his faith in God to overcome his trust in riches. He went away in great sorrow as he could not follow the means Jesus gave him.

Producing results in prayer requires that we trust God as the source of the results and of the means which work to produce the results. Whatever he tells you to do, trust it is for your benefit and works to produce what you need and desire. Do it.


When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

Yes, if:
  • we learn what faith is
  • we pray for it
  • we sow the word of God into our hearts to produce it
  • we use it according to the directions God give us
  • we share the testimony of our witness of the faithfulness of God
  • we teach what faith is
  • we lay aside our trust in other things and develop our trust in God
Will he find faith on the earth?