Have faith prayers

by Rex Rouis

have faith prayersThe overriding issue in prayer is whether or not the prayer is spoken in faith. If you do not have faith then all the praying in the world won’t help you (unless perhaps you call upon the mercy of God).

The single active ingredient in prayer is faith. If faith is there, chances are real good that the prayer will be correct, or at least close enough. Its not the words necessarily but the release of faith that will bring the desired answer.

Whatever words you say, make sure you believe them, and you will have them. The Bible is real clear in that the words you say must not differ with what you are believing in your heart.

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt (differ, disagree, ‘strife with oneself’) in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23

The words must be living, fresh, and from your heart, not from some prayer book. The Bible is based on a system of living words. God speaks living words to us. We receive them into our heart and through continued diligence in love and the Spirit we allow faith to grow. The harvest of these living words is faith, and once we have it, then we release it through living words. The living words coming out of our mouth is called Prayer.

What about, ‘If it be thy will?’

Jesus said the words, ‘If it be thy will’ during one of His prayers. Much has been made of this. Throughout the Gospels, whenever Jesus prayed He always exhibited a clear understanding of God’s will. There was never a hint of uncertainty in any one of them. He prays once for direction and puts an ‘if’ in it and suddenly all types of prayer are thus affected. He is not praying to change the world; He is praying to seek the will of God. When Jesus uttered this phrase, He was in the process of seeking the will of God concerning His imminent passion. This was huge and He needed to know for an absolute surety that this is what God wanted and that there was no way around it. This was hard and He needed to know solidly from God. Everything depended on it. One must have their heart solid on the will of God before their faith can be real. There is no ‘if’ in faith once it has become a reality in the heart.

Faith begins where the will of God is known.

If faith is based on the known will of God, how can a prayer prayed in faith have an ‘if’ in it? We must assume that Jesus was ‘in faith’ when He prayed this prayer. The ‘if’ had nothing to do with whether the prayer would get answered, but it had everything to do with Him being open to what the answer would be. The ‘if’ was what He was believing for and seeking God for. He was in faith seeking the ‘if’ of His future. Seeking is all the about the ‘if’ of the future. Faith all about knowing the reality of the will of God on a specific issue. Again, Jesus knew that God would give Him the answer; He just didn’t know what the answer was going to be. That is seeking.

And without faith it is impossible to please {Him,} for he who comes to God must believe that He is and {that} He is a rewarder of those who (diligently) seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 29:11,13-14

When seeking the will of God you must believe that He exists, that He rewards diligent seeking, and that you will get an answer. When seeking the will of God, using the phrase, ‘if it be thy will,’ is appropriate. The phrase is otherwise never mentioned in prayer. If you need a mountain to move in your life, or you have a debilitating issue (like the woman with the issue of blood), inserting an ‘if’ in your prayer just won’t do. For all those situations, knowing the will of God from the word and from having previously sought His face is the only way. Faith begins where the will of God is known. Just throwing out the phrase ‘if it be thy will’ and taking whatever comes may sound good but it is not the faith exemplified in the Gospels. It is a false submission, a lazy submission. The only issue that Jesus looked at, and still looks at, is faith, and faith is based on a knowing in the heart, a reality heard from God. See the article – ‘If it be thy will’

There are three main categories of prayer:
  1. Seeking Prayer – Seeking God and finding His will – Knowing and believing that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. ‘If’s’ are appropriate in these prayers of seeking.
  2. Asking Prayer – Asking God in faith according to His will – Knowing and believing that He will answer.
  3. Declaring Prayer – Authoritative declaring of His will in faith – Knowing and believing that it will obey you. (One quick rule – this does not work on other people.)

We pray and seek God to find His will, and once we find it we pray and release His will (and its corresponding faith), into the world. Both ‘seeking prayer’ and ‘asking/declaring prayer’ are absolutely necessary to our walk of faith and obedience.


Does unanswered prayer mean you don’t have enough faith? What does God’s Word say?

Faith is…

The Bible says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1), so faith is an assurance we have hope in and the conviction of the things we do not yet see, like we believe in Jesus Christ without ever having seen Him. That takes faith, but faith is not what you conjure up or work yourself up to. It must be the Object of your faith that you are assured about and not the faith that we can muster up ourselves by means of the human will and mind. That’s not faith…that’s wishful thinking, so faith, being a gift of God (Eph 2:8), is not from us but from God, so when we pray in faith to be healed or to mend a broken relationship or even to avoid financial ruin, it’s not our faith that does miracles but God Himself, so if we are not receiving the answer to our prayers, there is a reason for it, and it’s probably not a lack of faith but a lack of being in the will of God.

have faith prayers

Word of Faith

I have actually heard some preaches say, “You’ve got a miracle in your mouth. You can speak things into being that are not yet,” and when I heard it, it actually reminded me of a Bible verse where it says, “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:9), but the “he” wasn’t a man, it was God. It’s similar to when “God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light” (Gen 1:3), so these “word of faith” preachers who believe you can speak things into existence need to understand that the will of God is more important than the will of the so-called “faith-healer.” When Jesus healed people, He would frequently tell them to “say nothing to no one,” and when large crowds started to gather, He would sometimes slip away. This is just the opposite of faith healers today who display their work on a public stage and broadcast it on television and the Internet, as if they are the source, however God’s definition of faith is radically different from those who are showboating their “gift of healing.” The Bible says that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb 11:1 NIV), and it’s not what you speak or think that has power. The Apostle Paul prayed three times to have his thorn in the flesh removed but God said, “My grace is sufficient (or enough) for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2nd Cor 12:9). When these fake healers claim to have the power to heal, they are not biblical because God alone heals. Even the Apostle’s miracles were always attributed to God and never once to man, so faith healers do this to rob God of His due glory and ascribe it to themselves.

Your Faith

When Jesus once said, “Be it according to your faith,” what did He mean and what was the context? On one occasion, “some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven” (Matt 9:2). On another occasion, “a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well” (Matt 9:20-22), so it seems that the person’s faith was responsible for their healing, but is this really what Jesus is saying? Does the person’s faith exist outside of faith in God? Is the person’s faith enough to heal? At least not without the involvement of Jesus because Jesus was still the one healing them, and healed them because they had faith in Him, not because they had faith in themselves. If they had faith in themselves, then they wouldn’t have even come to Jesus, but they had faith enough to know He could heal them…and He did…and it was done according to their faith…their faith in Him!

James on Faith and Works

Many have been so confused over the centuries about James statement that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17), but James is not in disagreement with Paul (Eph 2:8-9) but actually supports what Paul was writing that we are saved, not by works, but for works (Eph 2:10), so saving faith is revealed in doing good works such as these mentioned in Matthew 25:34-40 and James 1:27. Works don’t save us but a saved person naturally works the work of God. Later on, James puts it this way, “ anyone among you sick? 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” (James 5:14) and “the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:15), but again, James is not saying that if you can conjure up enough faith in yourself you can be healed. It is the “prayer of faith” to a God Who can heal that can erase any sickness or illness, but truly, it is only the Lord Who can heal and if you have enough faith that He will, He might, but there is no guarantee anywhere in the Bible that claims God will answer every single prayer and heal every person who prays for it…in faith or a faith that wavers. It depends on what God’s will is and not how strong or weak our faith is.


If God doesn’t seem to be answering your prayer, think about this; maybe God wants to keep you humble and totally dependent upon Him (which is His will) or He wants you to be able to comfort others who are going through the same thing…or God’s will is hidden and we don’t really know why God didn’t answer the prayer specifically, but even unanswered prayer is an answer, and sometimes, unanswered prayer is the best answer of all. One final thought; we may never know why God didn’t answer our prayer, at least this side of the kingdom, so rest in this: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29). Whatever is God’s secret counsel is none of our business, but what is our business to know is what is “revealed to us and to our children” by God. I can live with that. How about you?

Read more about faith and healing here: Is Healing All About Faith?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible : English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Before I moved to Seattle I used to work in Las Vegas. I wasn’t a dealer at the Bellagio or doing weddings dressed as Elvis. I was working at one of the Conservative synagogues in the suburbs. It wasn’t on the strip but it was just as colorful.

A member of the congregation, a physician, drove me to the airport at the end of my first weekend. I asked if the study of medicine brought him closer to a belief in God or further away. The Las Vegas airport is right next to the strip and I couldn’t help but notice the discord between my theological question and the mega casinos glittering next to us. Without hesitating he said, “Closer. And I remember the moment,” he said. “It was when I first saw the trochlea, in gross anatomy.” The trochlea, he explained is a critical part of sight. It is a small round bone scarcely bigger than the head of pin that acts as a pulley. One of the tendons in the eye threads through this bone, does a 180-degree turn and attaches to the back of the eye socket. The resulting torque gives the eye the ability to track diagonally. “It was perfect engineering,” he said. “And I just felt it could not be random. The design was too precise.” It absolutely deepened his faith in a higher being, he said.

As a follow up question I asked whether the conversation of science and intelligent design ever comes up with his colleagues. His response was equally without hesitation. “Absolutely not.” He suggested, somewhat sadly, that something in the study of medicine puts the conversation off limits — an unwritten rule, a tacit agreement.

I have asked this question to many physicians, mostly Jewish, and the conversation virtually always follows a similar trajectory. Yes, the study of medicine has deepened their faith, brought them closer to a belief in a Something and no they would never speak to their colleagues about it. I find echoes of the Jewish experience in these conversations.

Faith, prayer and our concepts of a Grand Designer are subjects we Jews rarely discuss. Perhaps because it is too personal, but more likely because we don’t have the context for it. As a way of shuffling off the question we claim these are not Jewish words. Not part of the Jewish dialogue. The rabbis of our tradition would not understand our discomfort. For them, God, faith and prayer were very Jewish words.

I am often struck when reading through our commentators how unabashedly they speak in terms of faith, God and prayer. And how uncomfortable it would be considered if we spoke in such terms. How awkward it makes so many people feel — until they start talking. I suspect this lack of dialogue about an adult theology is among the things driving so many of Jews away from Judaism. I see it every day. There is a very deep and very human hunger for a spiritual or religious experience in Judaism.

A few years back, I lost a friend and teacher to cancer. An extraordinary woman whose faith was something that emanated a light from her withering body. During our last conversation I asked her where she found such a profound faith. “Faith is found by actively seeking it and surrounding yourself with people who have it.”

I have taken her answer very seriously. Faith, prayer and God are deeply Jewish. They surround and are infused within our tradition. The rabbis of the Talmud, who laid the foundation of our tradition, presupposed God. The Jewish tradition requires no leap of faith. It is more of a step of faith. And I am not suggesting that we should abandon reason, but equally we should not sacrifice faith at its alter. They both have their place and at times that means allowing the two to be held in resonant tension, contradiction and utter discord. We need to create adult theologies.

Occasionally, I teach a class called “Unlearning God.” As an exercise I ask students to take a small journal and jot down all the places over the course of the week where they experience the possibility that there is something greater, a higher power acting in the world. I used to say write down all the places where they see the fingerprints of God. But I learned they often became too caught up in the God language, so I changed it to the possibility of “something greater.”

The answers they bring back are always as beautiful as they are profound — tears on skin, time slowing down as a leaf falls to the ground, evening sun on hardwood floors, steam rising from coffee; reflections, laughter, compassion.

Commenting on the phrase, im shemohah, tishmah, if you listen you will hear, the Me’or Einayim says, “If you hear what is old, you will hear what is new.” The struggle is to make the old conversations new, to make the old experiences new. And to not let words like God, prayer, religion or Torah cause such a shock to the system. Let them not be appropriated. Let them breathe, live and become new again. For me prayer, God, religion and Torah are not things I pick up when I walk into a sanctuary and deposit in the bag with my tallit or tefillin when I leave. I strive to make the entirety of my life prayer — a constant striving to see the Transcendent in the world and in the people around me. Our tradition has never said that prayer needs to be limited to the pages in a book.

What was new about shirat hayam, the song at the sea, was that it forever carries the power of renewal. That is why we say it during the shachrit, morning service, every day. Commenting on this, the Sefat Emet says, “Israel’s faith at the sea was the saving act that would last for all generations. God was and God will be. The song and the attachment to God have been implanted in the Jewish soul forever.” But we have to be willing step into uncertainty. We have to be willing as Nachshon did at the Red Sea to keep wading deeper and deeper until we risk drowning. And then maybe the sea will split.

“Something that is not hidden does not require faith,” says the Mei Hashiloach, “only something concealed requires faith.” The hidden and the revealed are woven together in the quest for the Transcendent. Yotzer Or U’vera hoshech, we say with the Shema. God forms light and creates darkness — in the present tense, not the past. The One of all Being is still creating. Ze Eli, This is my God, declares Moses at the sea. This is my God to which Sforno says, “the everlasting First Cause, from Whom flows all existence that is impermanent and transitory.” The Jewish God is everywhere and in everything. At once as imminent as a breath and as far away as the edge of the universe: The One who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. The One who counts the stars and gives each one a name. Ze Eli. This is my God.

How different would our lives be if we tried to live out what we declare with Nishmat kol chai — The breath of all that lives praises you our God. How would we pray differently if song filled our mouths as water fills the sea? Would joy flood our souls? Have we ever tried to live a life of praise as limitless as the sky? Perhaps we could never fully state our gratitude, but do we even try to live in a state of gratitude. And what would it look like if we did? This is the challenge we are commanded to say each morning when we open our eyes and our mouths for the first time — modeh ani lefanecha. I am grateful before you for putting my soul back in my body. Great is Your faith God. Great is God’s faith in us.


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