He that cometh to God must believe. Hebrews 11:6
Richard Alleine said, “The reason why we obtain no more in prayer is because we expect no more. God usually answers us according to our own hearts.” The Bible is clear about the value of faith-filled praying. Moses turned God’s wrath from Israel through his intercession (see Exod. 32:31–34). Abraham pled for Sodom to be spared successive times (see Gen. 18:23–33), and his prayer stayed God’s hand of judgment; it was only after he ceased to pray that the judgment fires fell and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. When the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast out a demon, He noted, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21). According to the founder of the church, some things will never take place apart from prayer.
Faith is the only doorway through which God enters a human soul. Humans relate to the material world with their five physical senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. But we cannot smell, taste, or touch God. We must use our sixth sense: faith.
God’s greatest delight is to be believed. God’s greatest sadness is when He is doubted. Our praying in faith blesses the heart of God. Scripture states, “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Faith pleases God and accesses His presence. Since the only way to please God is by faith, it is a major prerequisite for prayer. That means it is a vital protocol for prayer.
A wise person once said, “Unbelief always considers it too soon or too late for God to work, but faith expects God to work now. God is the God of the present moment.” Faith is expectant. Asking for rain is prayer, but carrying an umbrella is faith. When we pray, we must believe. After we ask for a thing in prayer, we should immediately thank God for it. Thanking God is the first step of faith. Believing that we actually possess what we ask for in prayer is not presumption—the Bible calls it faith. Verbalizing our faith with thanksgiving after we make requests not only blesses God’s heart, but it also builds our trust. We must dare to believe God.
Faith is taking God at His Word. It is very practical. For example, we do not need to do penance to balance out our failures. After confessing our sin, we should immediately thank God for His forgiveness. Saying thank you to the Lord is not dependent on our feelings. We can express gratitude regardless of our emotions: “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart” (1 John 3:20). Faith claims everything God offers and is entirely independent of our feelings. Our emotions may be secondary, but our faith is mandatory. Believing that we are forgiven after we confess our faults pleases God. Bible promises are not only to be believed; they must also be claimed.
Prayer can turn a promise into a prophecy. The Bible says that if we have faith as a mustard seed, we can move mountains (see Matt. 17:20). Mountain-moving faith is not big faith but confidence in a big God. When we pray the promises of God, we are forecasting the future. As someone once said, “Faith makes giants look like grasshoppers. But unbelief makes grasshoppers look like giants.” We must stop looking at the size of the giants and start looking at the greatness of God.
Ponder this straightforward proposition: “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). If we are not praying in faith, we are not praying at all. God demands that we believe when we pray. It’s the faith protocol. We should pray with exclamation points instead of question marks. We need to feed our faith and starve our doubts. We should plead God’s promises in an organized, businesslike way, bringing God’s promises with our petitions to the Lord. Bashfulness is just as offensive to the Lord as brashness. We should come humbly yet boldly! Faith is a choice to believe God. One person said it this way: “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity; the sphere in which God does His greatest works is the sphere in which no one but God can work.” Another said, “God loves with a great love the man who has in his heart a passion for the impossible.”
Our ministry, Christ Life Ministries, sponsors what we call Prayer Advances. These are not prayer retreats. We have retreated long enough; it’s time to move forward—advance! One year we challenged the attendees to pray for “impossible” requests—things that were humanly impossible. The Scripture says, “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). One woman at the ladies’ Prayer Advance was deeply burdened with a seemingly impossible situation—her aging mother needed a kidney transplant. Doctors in Philadelphia had said she was too old for the procedure, but a doctor in Virginia had said he would do the surgery if a donor became available. So the daughter cried out to God on behalf of her mother, asking for a suitable kidney. When she returned home, two potential donors approached the family, each volunteering a kidney. The first volunteer was a match, and the surgery was a success. The next year the praying daughter, her mother, and the donor stood and testified to the miraculous answer to an “impossible” request!
Conservative Christians tend to be timid and cautious when praying for difficult situations. This may be due to past petitions not being answered or perhaps because of exaggerations and excesses advocated by some imbalanced preachers. But the apostle James gives us clear instruction: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up” (James 5:14–15). Note that it is not the prayer of doubt, the prayer of likelihood, or the prayer of statistics that secures the miracle. It is the “prayer of faith” that saves the sick. Unbelief is the greatest hindrance to effective prayer. George Müller said, “Faith does not operate in the realm of possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.” We must dare to believe for what we ask of God in prayer.
Jesus said, “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). We must stop limiting God through our unbelief. Christ spoke to His disciples and said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23). What about those instances when healing does not happen? David kept praying for his sick child until the Lord took him. In his case, the child got ultimate healing instead of temporal healing. We are not responsible for outcomes, but we are obligated to ask in faith.
Faith honors God, and God honors faith. I have heard it said that there are three stages in every great work of God: first it is impossible; then it is difficult; then it is done. Do you have any God-sized needs? Pray big! Ask big! Believe big!
- Faith is the only doorway for God to enter a human soul.
- God’s greatest delight is to be believed. God’s greatest sadness is when He is doubted.
- Unbelief is an insult to the Lord. “Unbelief always considers it too soon or too late for God to work, but faith expects God to work now.”
- “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and the sphere in which God does His greatest work is the sphere in which no one but God can work.”
- If you have a track record of unbelief, admit it, and ask God for forgiveness.
- Feed your soul with faith-building promises. Identify verses that inspire faith. Rehearse the instances in which your prayers were answered. If God has answered prayer for you in the past, it is proof that He can do it again!
- Practice ambitious praying. Bring your God-sized needs to Him who has endless resources. Ask God for things that only He can do.
- Once you have stated your petitions, launch right into the gratitude protocol. Thank God in advance for answering your prayers. Don’t wait for the manifestation of the answer before you start thanking God.
Taken from “Approaching God‘s Throne: Biblical Protocols for Prayer”. CLICK HERE to order your copy TODAY!