The first rule? Don't be timid.
Posted in , Jan 13, 2015
If you hang around church folk or praying people for very long, you’ll probably hear someone talk about “the prayer of faith” or the importance of praying “in faith.”
The New Testament book of James says that “the prayer offered in faith” has the power to actually heal the sick (James 5:15, NIV). But what does it mean to pray with faith?
Praying with faith means, don’t be timid. “Come boldly to the throne of grace,” the author of Hebrews wrote (Hebrews 4:16, KJV).
Remember Esther’s story? She took her life in her hands and marched into King Ahasuerus’s throne room to make life-changing, world-altering requests of him.
His was hardly a “throne of grace,” and yet she threw off all caution and gained what she asked–what she and all her people needed. We should do no less, especially since our King is gracious, merciful and generous.
Praying with faith means, don’t try to hedge your bets. Sometimes–particularly in worship services and prayer meetings, where others can hear us praying–we try to “hedge our bets,” so to speak.
We may pray, “Lord, heal sister Jackie, but if not, make her comfortable.” That’s hardly mountain-moving faith.
We should always strive to pray prayers that align with God’s priorities (“May your name be kept holy; may your kingdom come; may your will be done,” as the Lord’s Prayer teaches us), but faith doesn’t hedge a bet. It goes out on a limb. It presses through the crowd to touch the hem of the Master’s garment (see Matthew 9:20-22).
Praying with faith means, don’t try to “protect” God from embarrassment. Do you tend to pray for “realistic” answers to prayer? Do you ask for “likely” outcomes? Or do you pray mountain-moving prayers?
Do you pray for things that couldn’t possibly happen unless God clearly intervenes? Sometimes I think well-meaning Christians try to protect God from embarrassment. You know, if we pray, “Heal now, or heal in heaven,” we can say that God answered our prayer even if Sister Jackie dies.
Shame on us. Jesus said, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:22-23, ESV).
Do any of these challenge you? What’s the boldest “prayer offered in faith” you’ve ever prayed? What’s the most faith-stretching answer you’ve ever experienced?
Adapted from the upcoming book, The Red Letter Prayer Life by Bob Hostetler.