It is my opinion that the best thing we can do for one another is to pray for one another. It is also my opinion that A, we do not pray for one another nearly enough. And that B, our prayers are not nearly as effective as they can be.
I know it is difficult to defend yourself against A. No matter how often you pray, you will always know it is possible to pray more or feel that you should be praying more. It is one of those things that will always cause a sense of guilt in just about any Christian. (And not what I am trying to do here.)
And when we get to B and ask questions about the effectiveness of our prayers, the go-to response is always that we should pray more. More often. For longer. Louder.
Let me very clear at the start of this series. I do NOT think you should necessarily pray more. I think you should pray more effectively.
In our search for more effective prayer, we should acknowledge that prayer is not a fictional, magical incantation where you get the result if you get the words right. And it is not a vending machine from which you get stuff if you press the right buttons.
Prayer is many things, but in this context, it is simply you asking of God and Him answering you. The Bible speaks about prayer all the time and many factors will influence your effectiveness in prayer. However, I think that your faith is the most important and most influential factor.
It is easy in our pc world to lose sight of the fact that Jesus rated people’s faith when he did or did not do miracles on their behalf.
Yes, He loves every single person. Yes, He is no respecter of persons. And yes, He will turn no one away who calls on His name. But…
- He often reprimanded His disciples and others with the words, “you of little faith.” (Mat 6:30, Mat 8:26, Mat 14:31, Mat 16:8)
- He described some as having “great faith”. (Mat 8:10 NIV, Mat 15:28)
- At times He would grant a healing miracle with the words, “your faith has healed you.” (Mat 9:22, Mar 5:34, Mar 10:52, Mat 15:28)
- There was even a place where He did no miracles because of the people’s lack of faith. (Mat 13:58)
So, the question is this. When God responds to the prayer you prayed this morning, would He call you someone of little faith or great faith? Is it possible for Him to say to you, “Your faith has brought about what you asked.”? Or will nothing happen because of your lack of faith?
I think the answers to these questions are important. And I think it might be better to remedy any shortcomings in your faith before you face big situations. Finding great faith in the heat of the crisis might not be the best approach.
Here are some statements that I hope will shock you.
- Spending time with Jesus does not necessarily increase your faith. The disciples were with Him 24/7 and He often called them ‘you of little faith’.
- There is unlimited power in the name of Jesus but saying ‘in the name of Jesus’ like an incantation will not increase your faith or grant effectiveness to a faithless prayer.
- Working harder in prayer (shouting, crying, praying for longer, etc.) will not give a faithless prayer strength.
- The urgency of your situation or the merit of your case presented with great eloquence seems to not influence the effectiveness of your prayers.
However, there is some good news!
It is possible to grow from someone of little faith or lacking faith into someone of great faith. There are things you need to understand and there are things you need to do. But it is very possible to become someone of even greater faith than what you are right now.
The Bible speaks about finding faith, growing your faith, building your faith, and strengthening your faith. It takes work but it is not complicated. You can do it.
I want to invite you to join me on a journey towards that goal. In the next few blog posts, you will receive all the tools you need to grow into some who Jesus thinks have great faith.
- Subscribe to this blog and read it in a quiet setting without interruptions.
- Like the Facebook page and collect the quotes posted there. It will help you to remember and apply.
- Put into practice what you learn.
And please let me know when you agree or disagree. I have used this material extensively over the years and would appreciate your help in making it more effective in this format. It would also be great if I could pray for you while you are on this journey.
Jesus says faith can move mountains. I have mountains. The question is, Do I have faith?