Purpose of this Session
God responds to prayer, and He responds to faith. The Scriptures teach several clear principles to receiving from God through prayer.
As we mentioned in session one, faith is required for all forms of prayer, so in some ways to classify a particular prayer as ‘the prayer of faith’ is a little contrived. Lynne Hammond rightly points out in ‘the Master is Calling’:
“Some people have tried to separate the prayer of faith and put it in a category all by itself. They’ve said, “This particular kind of prayer is the only one in which you release faith.” But they’re mistaken. Every kind of prayer requires faith. It doesn’t matter whether you’re praying the prayer of faith, the prayer of agreement, worship, intercession, supplication, or any other kind of prayer, if you’re not releasing faith you’re not going anywhere.”
In many ways the prayer of faith is simply a confident request made of the Lord, based upon His promises, which is requested and received by the believer by faith. We include it here because the Scripture has much to say about this simple yet profound form of supplication.
Mary Alice Isleib says of the prayer of faith:
“The Prayer of Faith is based on asking and receiving according to the promises of God in His Word. It has its foundation in everything Jesus has already done for us through the cross and the resurrection.”
The promises of the Bible belong to us through Christ, and can be received in our lives by praying this prayer.
Jesus taught His disciples:
“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:23-24 NKJV)
“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.””
(Matt 21:22 NKJV)
This kind of prayer has several steps, which are set out in Mary Alice Isleib’s book, ‘Effective Fervent Prayer’. They are as follows:
- You must hear the Word of God
- You must receive the promise
- You must believe it’s true – for you
- Ask God for what you want (based upon the promise believed and received)
- Stand in faith until the answer manifests
1. Hear the Word of God
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17). As we hear the promise of God and meditate upon it, plant it in our hearts, faith starts to come regarding the reception of the promise. This is the very faith that will be released when we pray the actual ‘prayer of faith’. The answer is conceived in the believing heart before the prayer even passes the lips.
2. Receiving the promise
As faith develops we must receive the promise we are meditating upon, and personalise it. Jesus for example did not just die for the healing of the world in a general way, He died and received the stripes on His back so I could be healed; “I am healed by His stripes”. Apply this principle to whatever area you intend to pray for. Find the promise of God in the Word, and make it your own.
- Believe it is true for you
This is the most vital step. We have developed faith in our heart through the Word, and received it as a promise for ourselves. We now must believe that it is so. We are no longer ‘hoping’ that it will one day belong to us, it actually belongs to us right now. Hebrews 11:1 says:
“NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”
(Heb 11:1 AMP)
Someone with the title deed actually owns the property they have the deed for, even if they have not yet seen the property. It is theirs, because the deed declares it so. They no longer hope for it, it belongs to them. It may even be some time before they actually set foot in the place, but nevertheless, even during that waiting period, the house or property is theirs all along. God’s promise is the title deed to the manifestation of the promise. When we believe and receive it as such, we pass from merely hoping to possessing the promise in the present.
Jesus said ‘believe you receive when you pray’, not ‘when you finally see and set foot in the property’. When we pray we receive. Just because we cannot necessarily see or feel the answer right now is beside the point. It is only in the natural that we don’t have it at present. In the spirit it is ours right now. To bring that reality in the spirit into the natural realm, God has given us the prayer of faith. Faith reaches into the unseen realities of the spiritual world, and pulls them into the natural realm.
4. Ask God for what you want
Ask God simply and clearly and precisely for what you want, rehearsing to Him the promises you are basing your request upon. Release your faith that not only is a request being made, but the answer granted as you pray. Matthew 21:22 says; “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” . If something is promised in God’s Word we can have absolute assurance that what we have requested has been granted. There is no maybe or possibly about it. It is so! Mark 11:24 says that we must believe we receive when we pray.
Read the following verses carefully:
“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”
(1 John 5:14-15 AMP)
What does it say? What can we expect when we pray according to the Word?
5. Stand in faith until the answer manifests in the natural
With the prayer of faith we do not have to pray again and again. We release our faith, believing we receive that which we have asked for. The continuing part of this kind of prayer is standing and thanking God, refusing to accept anything other than total victory, until you have in your hand what is already yours in the spirit.
The Bible says of Abraham in this respect:
“And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” (Rom 4:19-21 NKJV)
Abraham had received the promise of God, and refused to allow contrary circumstance to dissuade him. Often after we have prayed the prayer of faith nothing will ‘appear’ to have changed, in fact sometimes they may even get worse.
How do we overcome the temptation to back off and let go of faith? Give glory to God for that which we have received when we prayed. Continue in praise and thanksgiving until the answer manifests.