Tuesday: The Foundation of Biblical Prayer – Believe

Read Mark 11:24. Besides asking, what other aspect does Jesus mention in connection with prayer?

Asking alone is not enough.

Prayer - Believe

Image © Stan Myers Goodsalt.com

There is a second important aspect that needs to be present in our prayers: faith. The book of Hebrews tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please” God (Heb. 11:6, NASB). When we kneel down before God and open the Bible to any of the more than three thousand promises and then ask God, with the simplicity of a small child, to fulfill His promise in our behalf, we have to believe that He will do what is best for us in His time.

Read James 1:6-8. How does the text describe the person who lacks faith? Why is faith a prerequisite to receiving the promised gifts?

If we come to God, we must believe that He exists and that He will reward those who seek Him. Effectual prayer must be accompanied by a belief not only that God can answer, but that He will do so according to His divine will.

In the Bible, believing is related to trusting. We can trust someone only when we know the other person to be trustworthy. When we entertain doubts that God will keep His promises, we waver and cannot expect that we will receive anything from Him. To believe means to take God at His word. It means that we depend on God and His promises, even when our feelings tell us otherwise. For “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1, NASB). Faith clings to God’s promises because we trust what He has said (Heb. 11:11). Faith knows that “it is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18, NASB). God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Faith knows that for God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).

Faith opens the door to the divine treasure house. Through the Holy Spirit, God moves the hearts of men and women to trust the Word of God and through faith our prayers move the arm of omnipotence.

What helps you to grow stronger in faith? What aspect of Jesus helps you to have confidence in His willingness and ability to help you in your times of need?


Tuesday: The Foundation of Biblical Prayer – Believe — 24 Comments

  1. What helps me grow stronger in faith is (1) the record in the Word of how the LORD kept His promises to care and protect His people; and (2) experience in my own life of how the LORD has looked after me.

  2. My understanding about a prayer of faith is that our attitude towards a problem should change immediately we pray in the belief that the prayer has been heard and an answer is on its way. However i fail to strike a good balance in understanding Mark 11:24 compared to the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-7. Thus my question is this; if the widow believed that her request would be attended to the first time she made the request as suggested in Mark 11:24, would there be any need for her to go again and again with the same request. Are we not showing signs of unbelief if we pray for the same thing over and over again? I need help here.

    • Elijah went and prayed over and over again, then asked his assistant to go check the sky over and over again to see if anything was coming. His persistence was not changing God's mind, for God had already told him that what he would say to the king, that, God would do. The one who's faith was strengthening, by the persistence, was Elijah's.

    • I know with me, sometimes my first, second and third..... request I lack the Faith in my asking. But as I have returned with the request over and over, my eyes are opened to me and my lack of faith etc. Every prayer strengthens my Faith.

    • Jackson, the widow was petitioning for justice according to the law. The judge she was petitioning was unjust. Her persistence won her case for justice.

      If what we pray for is just, and promised, we may persist in asking, for God will often allow us to face delay in order to exercise faith through patience, and to demonstrate our sincerity through our persistence. Our persistence cannot be from impatience or doubting, but if in faith, will be in patient confidence and simply waiting upon the Lord and His best judgment for our need.(See Ps 40:1-3)

    • Mark 14:32-41 comes to my mind ... I see Jesus praying over and over and over. The same words, the same request. We know it was not lack of faith. Although he has not received what he asked for, yet he has come out strengthened to face what was coming. Clearly Jesus refers this parable (Luke 18:1-7) “to show them [us] that they [we] should always pray and not give up”, although we receive no answer after our first prayer, neither after the second, nor the third...
      The patience of this judge had a limit (Luke 18: 5). God's, no. He wishes to answer their [our] prayers sooner than we imagine. What does He expects? Faith every time we go to Him, as many times as necessary. Faith in the time of God. The widow showed faith every time she approached the judge.

    • Hi Jackson,

      Jesus prayed three times to the Father, "...if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44). Why? Did Jesus lack faith? No! Indeed, it was His faith that motivated His persistence.

      It is not stated or implied (Mark 11:24) that we will be made aware of the answer to our prayer immediately or at the moment we first ask.

      Perhaps the delay in our "hearing" the answer is what takes time and faith. God may very well have sent the cloud/rain that Elijah prayed for after the first time Elijah asked. It was just too far away for Elijah to see so, in faith, he continued to pray with confidence that God would be faithful in His promise to send rain.

      God answers prayer not because we have asked the correct number of times, but because, in faith, we claim His promises. God heard us the first time we asked so asking more times is a sign of faith, not unbelief, as I see it. It isn't necessary to pester God so he will relent and keep His promises (Luke 18:1-7).

      He is faithful when we are faithful... and we demonstrate that faithfulness by being persistent in our prayers (Colossians 4:2; Romans 12:12; Matthew 15:22-28). Indeed, Jesus response to the persistent pleading of the woman of Canaan was, "...O woman, great is thy faith..." (Matthew 15:28).

      Persistence in prayer demonstrates our faith, not our lack of it.

  3. My faith has the power to move the arm of the omnipotent one ... Oh what a wonderful promise . What power faith has !
    What seems impossible I will believe..... Every promise you make I receive Lord .. I will trust you !!!!!

  4. Faith is important as noted. Does our faith waiver or do we question God, and if we do ,is there a justifiable reason? The loss of a loved one is probably one, if not the greatest challenges to our faith. Others will have a number of reasons for someone else's situation and lack of faith. Yes there are examples of great faith in the Bible as well as situations all over the world. When push comes to shove how do many of us deal with adversity? Which Bible texts come to mind. The text that says I will send another comforter,John14:16 might be near the top of the list. Our human instincts have the majority of influence. Some will criticize our humanity.

  5. Jackson I don't think it's sign of unbelief. I believe sometimes we don't have the patience and our God is an on time God and he knows what is best for us. Not everything we pray for we will receive. My marriage is rocky and I pray everyday for the Lord to fix it but it gets worse. So now I change my attitude of praying and I now say Lord thank you for these trials because I am now even closer to you and I know better days are coming if I continue to trust him. I just want to be in that number when he comes. Please pray for me and family brethren.

    • The Lord is answering your prayers, Annette. He is helping you to see the changes you need to make and that in turn will surely make a difference in your marriage. You are so right, God is seldom early, but NEVER late in answering our prayers. I try to remember to ask God to CONTINUE working in a person's life as I know He is working because I have asked Him to do so, I just cannot always see how He is working. Many times we think God is not working because we have our own expectations of how He should answer our prayers. Courage, Sister, God is at work because you are asking Him to do so!!

  6. Answered prayers, needs cared for and changes made in thoughts and actions help me to see God at work in my life and the lives of others.

    I've seen transformation in my life and the lives of friends that is ongoing. These things give me courage and hope. They help me to 'wait' for God to answer prayers. At times I am impatient for answers.

  7. One must daily exercise faith in order to pray in faith. If we do not follow the light God has given us, we are demonstrating unbelief. Praying in faith is not only about expecting God to grant our petition, but living in all things according to His will. If we are seeking to know God's will(Eph 5:17) in order to follow it wholly, we will not be tempted to unbelief. If knowing God's will as He has clearly revealed it, we will know what He has promised and submit to the conditions set forth.

    Wavering is the manifestation of unbelief. If we are constantly wavering over the Statues of the Lord, we cannot pray in faith. We are called to live according to the light we have received, and must not fall back from following faithfully where Truth has clearly led us.

    The Word of God received brings us faith(Rom 10:17). Jesus' promises reveal His willingness, as well as His dying for our sins. What more could He do to show His willingness?

    • It's attitudes like this that drive people away from God. That you have to be a certain way or behave a certain way. God comes to people who aren't even looking for Him. People who aren't even asking Him verbally for anything. People who don't even know Him or have a desire to know Him. Like the thief on the cross. He knows their heart cry, their weakness, their desperation. He comes to them in ways just for them. Our God is amazing He knows each and everyone of us by name. He knows the number of hairs on our head and everything about us and loves us in spite of ourselves. I believe it we misrepresent Him when we come across like we have to be or act a certain way before he hears us. He comes calling in so many ways in nature in our experiences. He wants us to know Him and love Him and experience Him this can happen without ever reading the bible. I love God and His word and I want to be careful I don't misrepresent Him. God is LOVE!

      • Dea, you will find this is the teaching of the Bible, and it has the purpose of saving souls for eternity. Many fool themselves that God is not particular, yet what happened when Eve ate some fruit? Such a small infraction to many, yet not to God. Jesus said "if you do not believe that I am [Messiah] you must die in your sins". This is a warning to all who would be careless and think that the love of God would excuse their sins. He has said He cannot clear the guilty. We must live by faith, for we are saved "by grace through faith" which God gives us out of love. If we turn from that love, what can then save us? God's love will never override our choice.

        Today many calling themselves Christians teach that God does not care about our "little" sins and only wants to save. Yes, He wants to save, but Jesus' death shows how God feels about sin, and He calls us to "repent and believe the Gospel". Jesus was always encouraging faith through repentance, for "without faith, it is impossible to please Him".

        Yes, out of Love, God is always reaching out to sinners, but what does He invite them to do?

      • Thank you, Dea, for your important reminder of how God really deals with us.

        God comes to people who aren't even looking for Him. People who aren't even asking Him verbally for anything. People who don't even know Him or have a desire to know Him. Like the thief on the cross. He knows their heart cry, their weakness, their desperation. He comes to them in ways just for them. Our God is amazing He knows each and everyone of us by name. He knows the number of hairs on our head and everything about us and loves us in spite of ourselves.

        Let's just name a few to whom Jesus came in their weakness and desperation: The two demon-possessed Gadarenes, the widow of Nain whose son had just died, the woman with an issue of blood, the lepers ... and we could go on and on and on. Jesus healed some who did not even ask to be healed. He healed multitudes who may not have been "worthy" to be healed. But they asked, and He responded.

        And Jesus came to make the God of the Universe manifest on this planet. He has not changed so that He now only pays attention to the "good" people who follow all the rules. After all, the "good" people who followed all the rules eventually crucified Him and ended His life on this planet.

        I appreciate the fact that you are conscious of representing God rightly - of not misrepresenting Him. For me, this is the greatest motivation for living in accordance with His Law. I don't want to misrepresent my gracious God, because then others might be turned away from Him. He wants to use us to draw those around us to Him, and this can only happen when we exude the same kind of love that He exuded, so that the common people heard Him gladly, not to mention the children. It's a challenge, for sure!

        I am concerned that if we follow the rules / keep His law so that our prayers will be heard or that we might be saved, we fall into the same trap as those who crucified Jesus. And we might not recognize Him if He appeared among us. Come to think of it, He *does* appear among us in the form of the poor, the shunned of society, even the modern "tax collectors" who appear rich and in need of nothing but have a deep spiritual hunger. Inasmuch as we neglect the needs of those around us, we neglect the Saviour.

        I believe He hears every heartfelt prayer (as opposed to formal prayer like the prayers on the street corners of the day) and He answers according to His wisdom.

        That said, as we learn to know Him better, we will also be more in harmony with His will and His law. And that means, we will pray more in harmony with "His Name," i.e. His character and thus have many more prayers answered the way we want them - because we will pray prayers that He delights to answer.

        And maybe this is a good time to review what "faith" is, since God delights to answer prayers of "faith." In its most basic form, faith is simply *trust.* We *trust* God to answer our prayers in the way He knows best, and He does and He will. The better we know Him, the more we will trust Him. And that knowledge of God comes to us in many ways - even our reveling in His creation, as well as our listening to Him through reading His Word, talking to Him through ongoing prayer, and working with Him by sharing His love on this planet.

        The bottom line is that God is love, and love means relationship. That's what the Pharisees forgot and what we are in danger of forgetting.

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

        • Amen Inge. I was that lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7). I didn't deserve to be rescued. In fact, I utterly deserved NOT to be rescued. But the Lord was gracious and forgiving and, in love, found me in my wretched and lost state and brought me back to the Father's house nonetheless. Praise Him.

  8. I believe that if every time we inhale and exhale, it's not by our own doing, that it's of God, then that's enough to believe that our Heavenly Father is able to do all things if we will only trust him and have faith.

  9. Yes there are prayers that I took to the Lord but have not received the answer yet. Over a year I have been praying for my two daughters to get married, till now non of them is engaged or has a Suitor. Though I have not stopped praying I believe God will answer my prayers soon.This has also strengthened my faith.

    • Thanks for the Amen.This shows that somebody somewhere has join me in this my prayers.May the Almighty God be with you and answer your own prayer requests in Jesus' name I have prayed.

  10. Practically How to be sure that i have recieved the word from God revealing His will and not my own guess or desire. Of course this surety will help me have the unwavering faith.

  11. We can not have everything we ask from God. He knows whats best for us cos he is the God who knows the past,present and future. We need to pray his will. When we seek first his kingdom then we will not just want to ask him but we will also take time time listen to him as we wait for answers. This means that even wen he answers the way we didnt expect,we will be able to draw out positives from the negative. Leaning on him has everything to do with answers to prayer.

  12. Is there a central, connected theme running through the six foundation texts for this (lesson 10) study? I found James' statement (Jam 1:7) quite jarring...I actually read it several times...and again in context. I noticed that he associates the reality and presence of human "doubt" with what he terms "double-minded"...a term used by only him (and David, Ps 119:113 in the NKJV). He uses it again in perhaps even more stark fashion in Jam 4:8. What is this that so effectively STOPS the hand of God?! Seriously?..."nothing"?! (read it again Jam 1:7).

    The psalmist said it a little differently, in another of the lesson's key texts (Ps 66:18). It may not be immediately apparent, but so does 1 Jn 5:14 when compared with Jesus' statement in Mk 6:4-6. If James links DOUBT to that which STOPS the arm of Omnipotence, which he terms "DOUBLE-minded", is he referencing God's original diagnosis in Eden (Gen 3:22; Heb 3:12-13; Isaiah 59:1-2)? Has this disorder clung tenaciously to humanity for millennia afterwards (Rm 7:21,23-24; Isaiah 53:6; Rm 3:9)? If this is the TRUTH that lies at all our roots, then the message of another of the lesson's key text MUST be heard throughout Earth (Act 2:38)!

    The problem is, however, how does one ask for something he/she DOESN'T even KNOW they NEED (Jer 17:9; Gen 6:5)?...Enter the unmerited kindness of the Creator who loves His entire creation (Rm 8:26-27; Joel 2:28; Act 15:7-9; Mt 5:44-45; Rm 2:4-5)!!

    God has gifted humanity with the remedy to remove that state of mind (double-mindedness) which robs us of "at-one-ment" or fellowship with our Father (Jn 1:29; Act 3:26; Jam 1:17-18). Any askers?


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