In any pursuit to build your prayer life and become a powerful intercessor, first place must be given to faith. Faith and prayer cannot be separated. Ultimately, prayer is simply the expression of faith and faith must be expressed through prayer.
Faith takes possession of our inheritance in Christ. Faith is the hand of the heart that reaches into the storehouse of heaven to withdraw whatever we need.
Here are few vital things I’ve learned regarding faith and prayer in over 25 years of ministry:
1. Jesus taught us how important faith is to effective prayer.
Mark 11:22-24 (NIV)
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Faith achieves the impossible because it calls on God to do for us, and nothing is impossible with God. God has not placed limits or qualifications on our faith. Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God. If we banish what I call the FUDs (fears, uncertainties and doubts) from our heart, God will grant us whatever we ask in faith.
2. Your faith must be protected.
When Jesus foresaw peter’s denial, and warned Him of the devil's request to sift him, He said to His disciple:
Luke 22:31-32 (NLT)
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Our Lord was declaring this central truth; It is our faith He is seeking to guard. He knows that when faith is broken down, the foundations of our spiritual life give way, and our ability to experience God fails. It was Peter’s faith which needed guarding. Therefore, Christ fought by His prayers to fortify Peter’s faith.
3. We all must experience the fight of faith in order to grow in faith.
As a young minister I took a year long challenge to pray one hour a day. About three months into the challenge I entered into my place of prayer and I had no sense of the presence of God that I had become accustom to.
My mind began to fill with horrible thoughts like, “God does not exist!”, “Jesus wasn’t born from a virgin.”, "Jesus didn’t raise from the dead and ascend to heaven." , "The Bible is not the 'Word of God'.", and " the 'miracles' you think you’ve experienced were just mind over matter."
I didn’t know what was happening, but I resolves in my heart to continue to show up, praise God, encourage myself in the Lord by remembering my salvation, personal hearings and praying for others who received miracles. Day after day I showed up and continued to praise God for all these things and give thanks for the virgin birth, His death, resurrection and ascension.
This went on for three weeks. I didn’t sense God at all. I felt alone. But I had made up my mind. I was not giving up. I was going to praise, pray and remember God’s greatness and power by recalling the scriptures as well as my own experience regardless of how I felt.
After three weeks, I attended a revival meeting with a friend. I was worn out. My mind was not on the message. Then there was a call to come to the front to receive a prayer of blessing.
I thought, we’ll I’m going to get prayer from the pastor, that will help. A long line formed at the alter. As the pastor laid hands one by one upon each head and prayed a blessing he literally skipped right over me. He touched everyone in line except me! I stepped out of line bewildered and feeling as flat as a two litre of pop left open for a week.
At that moment, a teenager came up to me and asked if he could pray for me. I thought, well it’s better than nothing and nodded. His hand began to raise and was still several inches from my forehead when it, what I call my Holy Spirit uppercut, struck me. Bam! I saw nothing but light, flew into the air and landed flat on my back several feet from where I used to be standing. I’m surprised my shoes stayed on my feet. I felt only pure peace and warm waves flowing over me with three words running through my mind, “I AM - Real!”
For three weeks in my prayer closet I battled this Antichrist spirit and overcame. I won! Take that lying devil! All thanks be to Jesus Christ who continually interceded that my faith not fail. I overcame because the arm of the Lord gave strength to my arm to hold high the shield of faith. Now I, like Peter, am able to strengthen the body of Christ in their faith.
1 John 5:4 (NLT)
"For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith."
Pray this prayer with me. Lord God, You created the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for you. Lord, reach out your mighty arm and strengthen the arm of my heart, that is my faith, so I am able to overcome and receive all of your glorious promises. It’s through Christ Jesus I pray, amen!
I hope you’re encouraged. Leave a comment or encouragement below.
BY Mike Byrum
Pastor Mike assists in directing IMPACT under the supervision of the Pastors Alliance for County Transformation