Word of Faith?

November 23rd, 2003

In Christian circles, there is a concept of prayer that blames the lack of a positive answer to prayer on the lack of ‘faith’ on the part of the person praying.

This damaging concept leads to many people blaming themselves and others for their continued illness or misfortune.

It is based on a misunderstanding of some key scriptures. Here is a look at two of them.
Mark 11:
23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Normally this is interpreted as requiring an act of faith on the part of the believer for prayer to be answered. They tie it to Hebrews 11:1.

Hebrews 11:
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

The claim is that you must ‘believe’ before you ‘see’ in order to ‘receive’ and that failure to ‘believe’ will lead to a failure to ‘receive’.

Instead, read it as a description of the discernment process.

When you pray, ask for discernment, and when the Spirit places His faith and peace in your heart you will know that the prayer will be answered.

Matthew 18:
19 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Again, instead of reading this as a call to ‘forced agreement’, see it as a description of the discernment process.

When two or more believers spend time together in prayer and come to peace in their hearts about the issue, they can rest assured that their prayer has been answered in heaven.

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