Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 40 — Faith in Prayer
Faith is a growing process. In Mark 9:24 the father of a demon-possessed boy said to the Saviour, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine belief." God wants the unbelief to diminish and the belief to increase. That is the purpose of this chapter.
First, let us notice that faith is needed in prayer. Mark 11:24, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark 9:23, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." James 5:15, "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."
Then we have to recognize that it is a sin not to have faith. Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Mark 4:40, "And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" Mark 16:14, "Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen." There Lord Jesus asked in Luke 18:8b, "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" He asked the disciples in Luke 8:25, "Where is your faith?"
Now notice Hebrews 12:1, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Especially look at the words, "The sin that doth so easily beset us." Now what was this besetting sin? It should not be difficult for us to know. In the previous chapter there was but one subject at hand, and that was the subject of faith. Hebrews 11 is the great faith chapter. It lists the great hall of fame of those who have had faith. The word "wherefore" which begins chapter 12 means that it connects chapter 12 with what has gone before, that is, chapter 11. Immediately it mentions "the sin that doth so easily beset us." Could it be that our Lord is talking about the sin of not having faith? It is certainly true that not having faith is the besetting sin of most of us. Oh, to believe what God has done! Oh, to believe that God can do it again! Oh, to believe that God WILL do it again! Oh, to believe that God will use ME to do it again!
If it is a sin not to have faith, then we should examine the means of obtaining faith and of increasing our faith.
1. Hear the Word of God preached. Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Proverb 28:9, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." Notice that the faith cometh by HEARING the Word of God. There is something about hearing the Word of God that increases our faith. When I read the Bible, I often read aloud because when I hear it, my faith is increased.
Oh, the importance of preaching! I love to do it, and I love to hear it! I never hear a man of God proclaim the Word of God without my faith being increased.
2. Read the Word of God. By reading His Word, we learn of His nature and of His pattern of behavior. We find that He forgave others, such as He forgave the thief on the cross. That gives us faith to believe that He will forgive us. We read how He provided for Elijah and for the apostle Paul, and that gives us faith to believe that He will provide for us. We read of His omnipotence, and that gives us faith to believe that His power will care for us. We read of His promises. That gives us faith to believe that He will keep those promises even as He kept them to those in the Bible. Oh, the tragic neglect on the part of God's people of the Word of God! I think sometimes we read too many other books. I think sometimes we listen to too many religious radio broadcasts. I think sometimes we trade our shields of gold for shields of brass. We read too many newspapers and too many magazines and listen to too many radio broadcasts and watch too much television. We are so busy buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage, and eating and drinking that we do not have time or take time for the Word of God. No wonder our faith is so weak! No wonder our lack of faith is often our besetting sin!
3. Read all of the Bible. Matthew 4:4, "But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Notice the statement, "EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." This is why it is so vital to read the Bible through. We need to read all the Bible, the Chronicles as well as the Psalms, the genealogy of Christ as well as the life of Christ, the minor prophets as well as the major prophets.
Occasionally someone will ask me, "Preacher, what is your form of Bible study?"
I hastily reply, "Reading the Bible."
Another will ask, "What kind of helps do you use?"
I reply, "I use the Bible."
Read it all! Man lives by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
4. Act on the faith that you have. Mark 9:22-24, "And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if Thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."
Faith is an investment. Whatever faith you have, invest it. God will reward it, and you will reap dividends of more faith. Hebrews 11:8, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." The saints of Hebrews 11, the faith of God's servants, led to answers that led to more faith that led to greater acts that led to more faith that led to greater answers that led to more faith that led to greater answers! So whatever the degree of faith one has, he should invest that faith, and act upon it, and his faith will increase!
John 20:27, "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing." Luke 24:39, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have."
"But," you say, "my faith is too weak." All right, then use that weak faith. Go ahead and start. Notice Matthew 17:20, "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Start with claiming Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." You could claim Malachi 3:10. Notice Malachi 3:8-10, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Let God reward your little faith with little results. The you take the increased faith that those results give you and invest those, and He will reward your more faith with more results which will increase your faith to great faith; then He can reward your great faith with great results!
As we hear the Word of God preached, hear it read, read it, read all of it and act upon the faith that we have, it increases our love for our Saviour. It is easier to trust someone more as you love him more. Trust is faith, and as we learn to love the Saviour more, we learn to trust Him more; and since without faith it is impossible to please Him, as we love Him more and trust Him more, we please Him more!
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