Understanding Bible Faith! The Prayer of Faith! Part 12
(Ver 1.2) This is the continuation of a series that I have been doing on the subject of Understanding Bible Faith. What is it? Where does it come from? How do we get it? What good is it? How do we use it and on and on I could go. These are a few of the subjects that I have attempted to cover in this series at least in part. Everything that I have covered on the subject of Bible faith is applicable to today’s subject of the Prayer of Faith. However, today’s lesson is actually a new perspective of three related subjects and these are faith, prayer and healing combined into one lesson. I will have to touch a little bit on each of these subjects in order to teach about the “Prayer of Faith”. I have been trying to answer questions about some very complex subjects found in the Bible by simplifying them to the best of my ability. If you have not read this Faith series from the beginning I would strongly suggest that you go back and start reading with “Part 1” and continue through the lessons sequentially so that you do not miss out on any of the important points that I have already covered. In the world that we live in, we all are faced with challenges that at times seem insurmountable and even overwhelming to us. This is when most Christians fall on their faces and begin to pray asking God for help. Now, if this is the only time that you pray when you are in a major crisis, then your current situation was probably caused by your own poor judgment or past decision making failures. I know we have all been there before and have fallen short of the best that we could have done in every situation. Human nature normally likes to think that we have everything under control despite the actual circumstances of life that we are faced with. But, when the doctor comes to you and tells you that you have stage four cancer, then all of sudden people think it is time to pray. Please do not believe that I am making light of your situation and please do not think that I am saying it is too late to change it, because with God all things are possible (Mat 19:26). But, you need to realize that just because everything is possible with God does not mean that you can have it fall upon you automatically without learning what God wants you to do to obtain it. However, you also need to realize that no matter what the report is today, that does not have to be the final report on the matter. The first report never has to be the last report if you learn how to change your situation around by using your faith. I have already tried to teach you that your faith is the determining factor for your final outcome, either positive or negative and this is why you need to continue to change and grow up spiritually to begin to believe the right things based upon the Word of God to cause a positive outcome.
Do not get me wrong when I say that any prayer is better than no prayer, but people need to realize that there are several different kinds of prayer mentioned in the Bible and that each of them have specific purposes, instructions and rules associated with them for the correct way to use them effectively. This is why many Christians pray and nothing happens, because sometimes they are using the wrong type of prayer or the wrong rules for the prayer that they are trying to pray. Today’s subject is a “single” very specific type of unique prayer called the “prayer of faith” and this is a radical new approach to asking God for anything that no other religion in the world follows or even understands how to do. You see too many people believe that all prayer has great power and therefore, all you need to do is to pray and then you will see the hand of God at work. But, that is actually a fantasy type of prayer that is not based upon what the Bible says. Most types of prayer that religious people in the world pray have ABSOLUTELY NO POWER whatsoever associated with them! I know I just shocked a lot of people with that statement, but you find the scripture that says “Prayer” changes things just because you prayed. Please know that Jesus taught us that there is a right way to pray and a wrong way to pray and this is a new concept to many Christians who do not know the difference. Here is an example of what I am telling you:
Mat 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Here is Jesus teaching us a specific way NOT to pray. Jesus says the hypocrites love to pray and Jesus clearly says this is not how we should pray. I will be very plain and tell you if there is one wrong way to pray there are implied multitudes of wrong ways to pray. Perhaps one day I will do a series on what the Bible says about prayer. There are over 165 verses in the New Testament that mention prayer directly and many others that mention it indirectly. Therefore, there is a lot on the subject for us to learn and then we need to apply what we learn to find the correct way to pray to our Heavenly Father. Take a look around the world and see how many religious people are praying every day. You see all you have to do is to look at how many Jewish people are standing at the western wall in Jerusalem that are religiously lifting up baseless empty words to a God who is not interested in them. Wow, I know I am just about to lose a lot of readers with these statements. Please think with me, if prayer was all that was necessary for God to move, then the Islamic faithful who bow towards Mecca and pray 5 times a day would certainly be the most blessed by God. But, I will also tell you plainly that God is not interested in their prayers either. You see the problem with most of these prayers is the fact that Jesus taught us that He was the only way to the Father (John 14:6). Jesus also taught us if you ask the Father anything in my name, that is what He will hear and do (John 14:13). Do either Jewish or Islamic prayers ever acknowledge Jesus as the mediator and go between to God (1 Tim 2:5). I do not believe either of these world religions acknowledge the fact that God had a Son who came to the earth in the flesh. To me, that is a major problem isn’t it? That clearly teaches us that not every prayer that someone says is going to change anything so we better find out what to do to make it work.
So I guess we have a major problem, either prayer works or it doesn’t work, or perhaps there is a greater truth called faith that supersedes prayer that God is requiring us to learn in order to get our prayers heard and answered. I have said this repeatedly in my Bible lessons, there is more than one truth in the Bible and you need to learn all of the factors that are related in order to understand if what you are doing is correct. Let me be very frank again, if you have been praying to God to heal you for ten years and nothing happened then you have been praying 9 years 11 months and 30 days too long. Please get a clue and see when your prayer is not working, you need to do something different to cause it to happen. Too many times people look at God as being the problem, when prayer is not answered and this is never the case. The Bible says God does not change (Mal 3:6), with Him is not even a shadow of turning (James 1:17) that is going to occur. Therefore, where does that leave for the change that needs to occur in order for the prayer to be answered? This is not a trick question, if you have been praying to God and that leaves only two choices, you or God. If God is not the problem then you must be the problem that needs to change! Every Christian should be an ever changing individual, always moving from faith to faith, growing in knowledge and producing new fruit unto God. If you are not a changing Christian then you are dead Christian and that is not good. If you are a Christian and you are not willing to change, you are just in big trouble. Please learn that the problem with unanswered prayer is not His fault nor is God saying NO! God is normally just waiting for you to change and conform to His word so that you will get your answer on His terms and the correct way. This is why you need to learn about the prayer of faith and what it is and how it works. This is the beginning of the lesson on the prayer of faith and this is my foundational scripture found in the book of James:
Jas 5:14 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:
Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
This is a much ignored passage of scriptures in many churches in the modern world. Too many modern progressive churches think that the original letters written to the churches do not suddenly apply anymore and that is simply not true. We have some people that go to churches where they teach God moves and heals people only through doctors, modern medicine and hospitals today. They have reduced the power of God and in effect limited Him to a very narrow minded perspective that says God is incapable of doing anything supernatural in the world. To view things from a natural perspective only is to deny God’s supernatural power and this is foolish. As you can read in these verses in James, God is talking about people who are sick in the church. So what are they supposed to do? According to God and the Bible one thing that they can do is to call upon the elders of the church so that they can pray for them. Of course this is not all that it says is it? It actually takes much more than just prayer according to these verses. There is a factor given that the elders should anoint the sick person with oil and I have seen this done in churches and I feel like it is scriptural to do this. However, it is not the oil that heals people. It is not the elders that heal people. The implication is clearly given to us that the elders better be spiritually mature enough to understand how to pray a very specific type of prayer called the “prayer of faith”. You see this is the greatest problem with prayer for the sick that ministers in the church will come and pray for you, but since they know nothing about faith they pray wrong and get no results. When people come to your house and anoint you with oil and then say a quick prayer and leave, too many thinks they have fulfilled the requirements for what God said to do, but then when the sick person does not get better or even die, no one wants to think it was their fault or even attempt to take any responsibility for what just happened. Instead people reason in their minds that it was just not the will of God to heal Sister Jones or whoever. When it actually boils down to the fact that no one prayed the prayer of faith and God says very clearly that it is this prayer of faith that will heal them. When God says the prayer of faith will save the sick, the Greek word is “sozo” that means to deliver or to make whole.
No the problem is normally caused because God says ONLY the “prayer of faith” will heal the sick and everyone thinks they prayed this way correctly when in reality they do not have a clue what the prayer of faith really is. So we need to learn about what the prayer of faith is and how to pray it correctly or you will never see anyone get healed. That seems to put the responsibility of healing back upon people and not God, doesn’t it?
What I have discovered is that God is never moved by needs. You see there are a lot of people in the world who are sick or diseased who even die every day and God did nothing to stop this from occurring. I guess I should rephrase that statement because that made it sound like God is responsible for not healing and this is just not the case. You see healing was a very specific part of the atonement work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Salvation was an all-inclusive work of God that included your spirit, your soul and your body. God saved you spiritually, mentally and physically as a complete work of the shed blood on the cross. Therefore, if you need physical healing, then you are a candidate for what the Bible says God has already provided for you. If you do not do what the Bible says for you to do, then what do you expect God to do, make you do it? That would make God an unjust God who forced someone into doing the right things and God is not this way. God says in Hosea 4:6 my people are destroyed (killed, robbed, made sick) by a lack of knowledge of God. Insufficient knowledge is one of your greatest enemies to you receiving healing. So that is why I am here to try to teach you. Since I’m not God, I will warn you that I do not know everything and therefore I need to learn more also, but I will tell you what I have learned up to this point in time.
Faith as we have already learned comes by hearing the Word of God. Therefore, your personal measure of Bible faith is based upon your knowledge of God’s Word that you have heard. We can also conclude that the “prayer of faith” is also based upon this same personal knowledge of the Word of God. It comes down to this fact. Before you pray you better find out what the Bible says about what you are praying for and then you can base your prayer upon those specific scriptures. This gives your prayer a firm foundation to stand upon. This is what I have been taught to do. Go to your Bible and search the scriptures for verses on your subject that you are about to ask God for and see what He has promised you. Then study these for several days, mediating on them over and over until they become a part of your spirit and then go to God and pray. This means you should be able to quote them out of your spirit without reading them. You should know every word and every reference for every scripture. Now you have a firm foundation for the “prayer of faith” and you will be able to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12). If you need healing then look up healing scriptures and find out what God said about it. You can look in Isaiah 53 at the atonement scriptures. But, these are also quoted in the New Testament more clearly in Matthew 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24. There are many other healing scriptures that are also good to know, like Psalm 91:16 and Psalm 107:20, to name a couple. Study the Bible and find out the promises of God and these are what you will stand upon for the basis of your faith to expect God to fulfill them in your life. What I am trying to tell you is that the “prayer of faith” is always based upon your knowledge of the Word of God. Therefore, if you do not know the Word of God, you do not have any faith to pray. Uh oh? That doesn’t sound good for a lot of people who pray! Jesus actually teaches us some very specific things about the prayer of faith in Mark 11 and that is where I am going next. Please read this verse very carefully:
Mar 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
If you read the context of this scripture you should be able to see from verse 22 that Jesus says “Have faith in God”. There is actually a better translation of these Greek words which say “Have the God kind of faith”. Jesus was telling us we could have the same kind of faith that God has and this is hard to accept for many people. Jesus is definitely teaching us a faith lesson in this chapter so the subject of faith is the dominant themed subject. So when Jesus gets to teaching us on prayer in verse 24, He is associating a very specific type of prayer by discussing only the “prayer of faith” that we read about in James. What does this verse say? Jesus acknowledges that people have desires and these are some of the primary reasons why a lot of people pray. In other words people who do not desire to be healed and who want to remain sick will not ever pray and ask God to intervene. One of the first things you need to figure out is, do you desire to be well and healed? You may recall in an earlier faith lesson that I taught on the man at the pool who Jesus came up to and asked “will you be made whole”. The man’s will and desire played a role in whether he was going to be healed that day. If you have the same desire to be healed then continue reading else stop reading here now! Next it says to pray and ask for it. This is where it begins to get more complex. You see you cannot ask wrongly and expect to get it answered just because you desire it to happen. In other words, if you desire another man’s wife, you are not asking according to the will of God or the Word of God and you can count on your prayer not being answered or even just plainly ignored by God. So find out if what you are praying for is the will of God first by looking in His word and if you can find at least two scriptures that say that you can have it, then you have a firm foundation for your request to God.
Mark 11:24 then changes prayer things up dramatically when it says that when you pray you must also believe. This is another key factor for why many prayers go unanswered. People pray and never believe anything happened or they believe wrongly like things will happen some day. You see that is not the prayer of faith if you do not believe anything or believe things correctly. What I am trying to teach you right now, is that it matters what you believe when you pray. In fact God tells us in Hebrews some important stuff that we need to believe:
Heb 11:6 But 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.
Praying the prayer of faith without first possessing faith it is impossible for God to honor this prayer without Him violating His word. You see if God says it is impossible to please Him without faith and you think you can pray and get an answer anyway who is right, you or God? If you do not please God with your prayer, do you think it will be answered anyway? I personally do not believe this. God very specifically says you need faith to be pleasing to Him. Then it says you must believe that God exists. Wow, why would anyone pray if they did not believe this first? Next you must believe that God rewards you because you prayed. This is where it begins to get more complex again. You see Jesus taught us in Mark 11:24 that when you pray you must believe that you receive and that goes along with the fact that you must understand and know that God heard you. You see I already showed you that God does not hear every prayer. If you do not believe in Jesus when you are praying to God, you are being ignored because only Jesus is the way to the Father now. Here is a good time to introduce you to a verse that I talked about earlier but did not give it to you directly:
1Jn 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
As you can clearly see God says He only hears people when they pray according to His Word. This means if you are not praying according to His will your words of prayer are ignored. So one of the most important factors in any prayer of faith is for you to find out what the Word of God says is the Will of God for your situation. It is not hard to do this, if you know how to use a computer search program to look up the scriptures. As I taught you before, this means that you must spend time preparing to pray before you ever attempt to pray the “prayer of faith”. The more time that you spend in preparing to pray the prayer of faith will cause your prayer to be more likely to succeed. Do not rush into prayer, review the scriptures that you are going to use for several days and then finally pray.
Here is where I am going to differentiate with the KJV translation a little bit. I believe that Jesus said in Mark 11:24 that when you pray, you must believe that you received (past tense) what you have prayed for before you ever have them in the natural physical realm. The KJV translation is “receive” but this Greek word seems to be past tense and that makes a huge difference in what you believe and when. If you pray and believe that God heard you and that He will heal you some day, that is not past tense and that is NOT faith. This is probably the greatest challenge to why your prayers never worked before. You see it is because you did not believe that anything changed that is one of the key factors to why nothing did change so you kept praying and asking for God to do what He said He had already done. This is why the prayer of faith is only prayed one time and never repeated. In future prayers you can remind God and yourself about what you already asked for and thank Him for giving you the answer, but you are in error if you ever ask Him for it again. I wish I could say this is easy to do, but that would be an untruthful statement. Nobody that I know of ever said that walking by faith and not by sight was easy to do. Faith goes against all human reasoning and logic. People like to see the healing and then believe that they have it and this is putting the cart before the horse in the Bible reality of how God says to do things. You see the world says “seeing is believing” and this is the opposite to what God says “believing is seeing”. Since many humans are flesh dominated we tend to look at the circumstances and they many times take priority over what we just prayed for and what the Bible said to us. In other words if you are worse tomorrow than you were yesterday after you prayed and asked God for healing, you must not automatically fall into a sense realm reality that God did not answer your prayer. When you do this you are basing your faith on your circumstances and ignoring what God’s Word is saying to you and this is failure to please God. This is the opposite of what God tells us to do in the Bible:
2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
To walk by sight is to chart your course based upon what you see in the world with your 5 physical senses. But, to walk by faith this is where you find out what God said and then you fight to believe that over what the doctor has said. If God said you “were healed” and the doctor says you are “sick” do not chastise the doctor or sound like a fool in denial, you just thank the doctor and do what he says to do, but you choose to believe what God says the outcome is over the doctors report. The last report from the doctor is never the final report unless you give into it and believe it.
In closing today, let me reemphasize one major point. One of the most important things that you need to learn today, is the fact that when you pray the prayer of faith you must begin to believe that you have the answer at that very moment that you prayed or you are not following the Word of God or being obedient to how God taught you to pray. The concept of having to believe that you have something before you actually have it is a Bible faith concept that is found throughout the Bible from cover to cover. For example, God told Israel after they had left Egypt and they were in the wilderness, “I have given you the Promise Land”. So according to God it was a done deal, but to Israel they did not have it yet. So they were required to believe something that God said before it actually occurred and they possessed it. This is the same thing that happened with Abraham. God told Abraham your seed shall be as the stars of heaven. God told Abraham “I have made you a father of many nations”. Before Abraham was a father God said he was, so Abraham had to believe this before it happened and it eventually came to pass. This is the concept of faith that is essential to see before the promise has been fulfilled in your life in the natural you must accept it done in the spiritual realm. You must believe that it is true before you can actually prove that it is true in the natural realm. Here is another New Testament statement that Jesus makes:
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Jesus gives us a basic nutshell faith lesson in one verse. Jesus says you must hear the Word of God to get faith and then you must believe what you heard. If you do these two things then you have the basis for Bible Faith. In Jesus’ example, you must believe on Jesus being sent by God and then Jesus says you will have eternal life. How many of you that believe in Jesus as being sent by God today, actually feel like you have this eternal life? Can you prove it? How do you know you have it? I rarely feel like it and I cannot prove it to anyone, but yet Jesus says I have it so that is what I will stand on with my faith. Jesus is basically saying you will have eternal life whether you feel like it, whether you look like it or regardless of the proof that you possess. This is Bible faith, having what the word says even though you have no physical evidence for what it says. I hope this lesson helps you in your walk with God and I expect to hear about many answered prayers from this lesson. Thanks for taking the time to study the Bible with me and spread the word to a friend. God Bless!
If you would like to read the next lesson in this series you may continue to “Part 13“.
Posted on April 17, 2011, in Bible Study, Faith, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Knowledge, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.