All real prayer is the prayer of faith. It is offered in faith in God’s word-His promise-and in what He is Himself as God,-able and willing to answer prayer. The prayer of faith is but taking God at His word:-”If ye who are evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things (even the Holy Spirit) to them that ask Him ?”
Now, the prayer of faith is the pleading of this promise with God, thus taking Him at His word. The Lord Jesus here places a blank card in the hands of His saints, and bids them inscribe upon it just what they want. It is a note of hand which He bids them ﬁll up to any amount or character of blessing they require, and He will grant it.
“Ask what you will.” Beloved reader, the Lord gives you this promise, and bids you send it up to Him for fulﬁllment with the prayer of faith, trusting Him to make it good. There is much wisdom and love of our heavenly Father displayed in giving us this general promise that we might give it a particular application. Faith in God’s promise is not so much a belief that a particular request will be granted-for that request is not named in the promise. But the stipulation is to grant any good asked, anything supplicated, any petition preferred, if only asked in faith-faith in God’s faithfulness and power to make good His word, and to obtain the blessing asked. It is a general promise connected with a particular application. The Lord Jesus says, “If ye shall seek anything in my name, it shall be granted you.” Therefore do not hang back and say, “ My particular need is not mentioned in the promise; my especial case is not provided for in the Word.” It is, beloved, if you will but take hold of the general promise of God, and plead it with the prayer of faith. No particular temporal good may be mentioned,-no especial spiritual blessing may be promised,- no single case may be speciﬁed; but if the censer of a believing heart waft the incense of the prayer of faith to God, God will grant that particular temporal good, or bestow that especial spiritual blessing, or meet that peculiar and urgent case.
It was thus that Jacob prayed. “Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.” What good? Any good, all good! There was the pleading by faith of God’s general promise in a particular case of urgency. And when he met the Angel of the Covenant at Peniel, he exclaimed, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me. … And He blessed him there.”
The prayer of the Syrophenician woman was the prayer of faith. “Call me a dog, tread me down beneath Thy feet-only grant me my request, and come and heal my child.” Her faith had a general apprehension of Christ’s power to eject the demon from her daughter, and then she ﬂung her particular sorrow upon that heart that never was known to reject a plea, or cast a sorrow back again.
Such is the power which the prayer of faith has with God! It is irresistible. No unworthiness, no sinfulness, no backsliding, no unfaithfulness, no depth of want, or peculiarity of case shall prevail with God to turn a deaf ear to the cry of faith. Faith in His word of promise, in His illimitable power, in His boundless resources, in His beloved Son, is so honoring to His nature and glorifying to His name, that the faintest incense which the censer of a lowly, believing heart ever sent up to heaven, reaches the Majesty on high, and brings back the blessing in a gracious and loving response-more than we either asked or thought of. We have to do not only with a prayer-answering, but also with a prayer-exceeding God-a God who always bestows more than we supplicated, because He delights to give, not according to our stinted desires, and measured requests, but according to the inﬁnite merits of His beloved Son and His own wondrous love and power.
Ask this faith of prayer at the hands of Jesus. He is not only its Object and its Medium, but He is also its Author and its Giver. Beseech Him to infuse this precious faith into your feeble, stammering petitions. Implore Him to intensify and energize your faint and faltering supplications with this divine heaven-descending and heaven-ascending principle. “Lord, increase my faith! Let me ask in faith, nothing doubting. Nerve my poor, faltering arm, so ready to hang down; stay my ﬂuttering heart upon Thee, so prone to swerve; and help my soul to cast itself upon Thy precious promise to save to the uttermost, and I shall be saved. Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”
Or, is your faith faltering faith-tempted faith-tried faith-sinking faith? Listen to the words of Jesus, once addressed to a doubting believer, and now addressed to you. “ Oh thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” “Gracious Savior! dost Thou acknowledge my ‘little faith?’ Then my ‘little faith’ shall acknowledge Thee! I will come to Thee,-I will conﬁde in Thee,-I will look to Thee; come what will, sink or swim, live or die, saved or perish, I will cleave and cling, dear Lord, to Thee! Thou art and Thou shalt be my All in all.” Wave this censer before the altar of sacriﬁce, and your prayer of faith shall be accepted. “This is the conﬁdence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (1 John v. 14, 15.) The prayer of faith will pardon sin,-the prayer of faith will heal the sick,-the prayer of faith will open heaven,-the prayer of faith will move the Arm that upholds the universe! Ask in faith, nothing doubting, and you shall have the petitions you desire of Him.—Octavius Winslow, The Precious Things of God