PRAY, EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE NO FAITH
Have you ever prayed for something but you didn’t believe that God will grant your request and yet He did? It may be a seemingly impossible situation or something similar had defied solution in the past. So you’re just going through the motions in your prayers, “fulfilling all righteousness” as we often say.
That was probably the situation with the disciples of our Lord who were praying for Peter’s release from King Herod’s incarceration in Acts, chapter 12. James, one of the 12, had just been executed by the same king and it seemed like it was just a matter of days before Peter would suffer the same fate. As they were praying, a maid heard a knock at the gate. When she got there and saw Peter, she was so excited she forgot to let him in but ran to announce his arrival to the group. Their response recorded in v. 15 was: “You’ve lost your mind!” That was how expectant they were! Shortly after, they heard from Peter’s own lips how God had rescued him through an angel.
While I was writing this, I read the conversion and discipleship testimony of Matt Slick, the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM). As an agnostic at 17, he was invited to church by a friend, where frightened by a film about the rapture, he answered an altar call. Embarrassed by the weeping of some others kneeling there, he prayed, “God, if you’re there, then I’ll try and be sincere and accept you. If you’re not there, it won’t cost me anything.” Not exactly a Hebrew 11:6 attitude but that was what he came with before he was led in the sinner’s prayer. And it was enough!
(Related: Have You Been Told You Don’t Have Enough Faith?)
“As I concluded my prayer,” his story says, “I became aware that someone ‘other’ was there. Someone else was in the room with us and His attention was focused on me. This someone was not a member of that congregation. But I felt His presence dawning like a sunrise. This person was making Himself known to me in my heart. I somehow knew it was God. It was the Holy Spirit.” And so came conviction, he wept deeply, even rolling on the ground, and was gloriously saved.
Or perhaps you had a slightly different situation- you hadn’t even got around to praying and what you needed was delivered to you! God does that sometimes. He promised in Isaiah 65:24, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer” (KJV).
A good example of this can be got from David’s life. David was loved by God, who made him king over Israel. Although he had many wives and concubines, he lusted after Bathsheba, the wife of one of his subjects, Uriah. 2 Samuel, chapter 11 gives the account of how David committed adultery with her, tried to cover up his sin when she told him she was pregnant, killed her husband when his ploy failed and subsequently married the young widow.
The next chapter begins with God sending Nathan the prophet to confront David with his sin and pronounce judgment on him. But somewhere in there, Nathan told David, “The Lord has forgiven you; you will not die” (v. 13). David hadn’t begged for pardon but God had already extended it and spared his life, although he still punished him in other ways.
The usual way to get answers to our prayers is to pray in faith. That is why it is important to feed constantly on the word of God, the nutrient that builds faith in our hearts (Romans 10:17).
“6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” – James 1:6-7 (KJV)The proper way to approach God is with faith but don't let your lack of faith deter you. Click To Tweet
Many of the miracles of our Lord Jesus were done in accordance with the people’s faith as in the examples of blind Bartimaeus and the Syro-Phoenician woman whose daughter was tormented by a demon.
“40. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, 41. Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. 43. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God” – Luke 18:40-43 (KJV).
“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” – Matthew 15:28 (KJV)
But look at what happened in the Lord’s home town, Nazareth:
“54. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55. Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56. And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57. And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” – Matthew 13:54-58 (KJV)
(Related: Choose To Enjoy The Infinite Goodness of God)
Nonetheless, we serve a very merciful and compassionate God, a God who as we’ve seen can provide what we need even before we ask. So, getting back to you- perhaps, you’ve never been in the scenario I described at the beginning of this post. In your own case, when you don’t have faith, you don’t pray, period, because you consider it pointless. It could either be that you don’t see God listening to a doubting person or you don’t even believe in Him to begin with.
Lay all that aside. The question that matters here is: Do you have a problem, question or situation you need help with? If yes, come to God with your doubts and all. Bare your heart to Him. Sing to Him the words of the great hymn penned by Charlotte Elliot, “Just as I am”:
“Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”
Ask Him, like the father of the demon possessed boy in Mark, chapter 9, “Lord, help thou my unbelief.” (v. 24)
It may be that while you’re in prayer, God will graciously answer. He did say in Isaiah 65:24 that, “while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Your prayer could also cause you to have a life-changing encounter with God or direct your thoughts to past events and scriptures that will build your faith and secure the answers you need.
Whatever the case, never stop praying, least of all because you feel you haven’t any faith. Remember that God is bigger than all your doubts and fears. That is why 1 John 3:20 reminds us that, “whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” – (ESV) He knows your struggles, He knows the root of your unbelief; He can help you overcome it and He can bless you in spite of it.Come to God with all your doubts and fears. He can address them and help you. Click To Tweet
Why? Because He is the Sovereign, Omniscient God. Above all, He is good and His mercy endures forever (Psalm 106:1).
Please let me know what you think of this post and if it has blessed you, kindly share it with others via your social media accounts. God bless you richly in Jesus’ name.
The scriptures used in this post are either paraphrased or got from the translations indicated.
Used with permission. English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
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