Faith the Key to Prayer

James 1:6

But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (NLT)

This message was preached October 27, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at  

Faith is at once the power of ministry, the power of testimony, and the power of worship. If we are not living "by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and gave Himself for us," we shall neither be effectual servants, faithful witnesses, nor true worshipers. We may be doing a great deal, but it will not be service. CM Mackintosh

Of all the things that I think test our faith prayer is at the top of my list. Those who do not pray do not pray because that lack faith. Prayer does not take great intelligence for a child can pray. It does not take great work for an invalids can pray. But it does take faith.

Heb 11:6 So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (NLT)

Fellowship with God, prayer, faith, etc all go hand in hand. You cannot have one without all the others. It is like a package deal. It is like life. What keeps us alive, our breathing, our heart beating, or our brain working. It is all three and just try to do without one of them.

If you desire a closer walk with God then prayer is indispensible. But without faith in God you will not pray. And without faith, you cannot please God. I do not want to make this complicated, I just want everyone to see how these things affect each other, and how important they are.

  1. Prayer springs from faith
    1. Think of the woman with the infirmity for 18 years who said what, if I can but touch the hem of his garment.
    2. Think of the four men who had the friend who was cripple, who they believed so that took him to Jesus, but could not get into the house so the tore up the roof. It says that when Jesus saw their faith.
    3. Very few people were healed that did not first believe and they seek out Jesus.
    4. So it is with us.
      1. If we do not believe we will not come to Him.
      2. If we do not see that He can satisfy our internal longings, then we will not come to Him.
      3. If we do not think we need His wisdom we will not ask for it.
      4. If we think we can do just very well without Him, we will not come to Him in prayer seeking His guidance and aid.
  2. Answer to prayer is often conditioned on faith.
    1. Mark 11:22-23 Then Jesus said to the disciples, "Have faith in God. I assure you that you can say to this mountain, 'May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,' and your command will be obeyed. All that's required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart. (NLT)
    2. Rom 4:18-25 When God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, Abraham believed him. God had also said, "Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars," even though such a promise seemed utterly impossible! And Abraham's faith did not weaken, even though he knew that he was too old to be a father at the age of one hundred and that Sarah, his wife, had never been able to have children. Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised. And because of Abraham's faith, God declared him to be righteous. Now this wonderful truth-- that God declared him to be righteous-- wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was for us, too, assuring us that God will also declare us to be righteous if we believe in God, who brought Jesus our Lord back from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God. (NLT)
    3. Heb 11:17-19 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God's promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, though God had promised him, "Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted." Abraham assumed that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. (NLT)
    4. Our text in James 1:6 says But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (NLT)
  3. Faith is basic to the Christian religion.
    1. Without it we cannot be God's children, but because of it He declares us righteous.
    2. Without it we cannot please God.
    3. Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone saves.
    4. But yet our faith can be increased.
      1. Luke 17:5 5 One day the apostles said to the Lord, "We need more faith; tell us how to get it." (NLT)
      2. Mark 9:24 The father instantly replied, "I do believe, but help me not to doubt!" (NLT)
    5. Our faith can be tested and tried.
      1. 1 Pet 1:7 These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-- and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (NLT)
    6. We can grow in faith.
      1. Col 2:7 Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done. (NLT)
  4. Faith come from our exposure to the Word of God.
    1. In the cases in the Old testament, most of the time it was through direct revelation.
    2. Yet in the New Testament, it was due to the written revelation.
      1. Rom 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (NKJ)
      2. Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes-- Jews first and also Gentiles. (NLT)
      3. Col 1:6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God's great kindness to sinners. (NLT)
      4. 1Thes 2:13 And we will never stop thanking God that when we preached his message to you, you didn't think of the words we spoke as being just our own. You accepted what we said as the very word of God-- which, of course, it was. And this word continues to work in you who believe. (NLT)
      5. 1 Pet 1:23-25 For you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the prophet says, "People are like grass that dies away; their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of wildflowers. The grass withers, and the flowers fall away. But the word of the Lord will last forever." And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. (NLT)
      6. So then if we would increase our faith, we will increase our time in the Word of God.
        1. I cannot explain how it works but I know that it works.
        2. You cannot spend time in God's holy word without it increasing your faith.
        3. The more Word of God you put in your heart, the closer your heart will be to him.
  5. But there are three levels or elements in faith
    1. Intellectual
      1. James 2:19-20 Do you still think it's enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless? (NLT)
      2. John 2:23-25 Because of the miraculous signs he did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many people were convinced that he was indeed the Messiah. But Jesus didn't trust them, because he knew what people were really like. No one needed to tell him about human nature. (NLT)
    2. Emotional
      1. Matt 13:21-22 But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word. The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced. (NLT)
      2. John 5:35 "He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. (NKJ)
      3. John 8:30-32 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (NKJ)
      4. Emotional faith, although a step better than mere intellectual faith, is not enough to save.
      5. That is because emotions are so fickle. They change with the circumstances.
    3. Volitional
      1. Acts 16:31 They replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with your entire household." (NLT)
      2. Acts 16:31 And they answered, Believe in and on the Lord Jesus Christ - that is, give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping, and you will be saved; Amplified Bible
      3. The faith that saves, is a act of the will whereby you surrender all to Jesus Christ, you entrust all to Him, His authority, His care.
      4. When you have that type of faith, prayer will be as natural as conversation with a close friend.

What type of faith do you have?

Does your faith make prayer as natural as breathing?

When the Lord wants to lead someone to great faith, he leaves his prayers unheard. Andrew Murray (1828-1917) -Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992)..

Faith in God is like believing a man can walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope while pushing a wheelbarrow. Trust in God is like getting into the wheelbarrow! To believe God can do something miraculous is one thing; to risk his willingness to do it in your life is another. James C. Dobson (1936- ) -Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992).

Pardington breaks faith into three parts. I will list these for your study. "Intellectual. This is belief in the existence of god and in the teaching of the Scriptures: John 2.22,23; James 2.19." "Emotional. This is personal faith that Christ is the only Saviour from sin: Matthew 13.21; John 5.35; 8.30,31." "Volitional (will). This is the actual surrender to Christ and present trust in Him as Saviour and Lord: Acts 16.31; Revelation 3.20."