September 9, 2012 – Pastor Tim – “The Prayer of Faith – Part 1” – Click to download
James 5:15, “The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he shall be forgiven.”
When the promise is prayed, or the Word of God is spoken, and the name of Jesus Christ is invoked, the Lord shall raise up the sick and forgive him if he has sinned. This promise is not just for the preacher or the church elders, but also to all believers who know how to pray the prayer of faith or release the Word of God into a situation.
James 5:16b-17, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.”
Elijah was a man like us. He had moments of great faith (called down fire from heaven) and moments when his faith wasn’t so great (ran in fear from the queen crying like a baby.) But…when he prayed the prayer of faith God answered his prayers. Deuteronomy 11:16-18, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, 17 lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
18 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” This was the Word of the Lord. And when the children of Israel were disobedient to this Word, Elijah prayed 1 Kings 17:1b, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” And the heavens closed up. When they repented and turned back to God, Elijah prayed again.
1 Kings 18:41-45, “ Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.”
So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.”
44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’”
45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.
The prayer of faith can be prayed anywhere, any place at any time. Sometimes the answer to prayer is immediate, but sometimes there is a waiting period (the meantime while the clouds built up) until the prayer of faith becomes a prayer of fact!
Even before Elijah saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand he knew the rain was on its way. He told the king to go eat and drink—rain is coming then he went and prayed. It took his servant seven times before he spotted a cloud. Waiting until the prayer actually materialized took time—it may take a week, a month, a year, or as it was with:
- Abraham—waited 25 years for a promised son.
- Noah—waited 120 years before the predicted rains arrived.
- Joseph—waited 14 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit before God’s vision for his life came to pass.
- The children of Israel were in captivity for 400 years. Before Moses got there and he was probably close to 80 when he got there. I heard John Bevere say if we’re complaining to God, we’re saying we’re dissatisfied with what God is doing in our lives.
It is during this waiting period the Bible states we are to walk by faith, fight the good fight of faith, and live by faith. In other words, we believe God has heard our prayer and the answer is on its way. It is during this waiting period that Satan attacks us trying to destroy our prayer of faith.
Let’s look at an example of the prayer of faith from the life of Jesus in Mark 11:12-14 & 20-24, “Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 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. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” [side note: Revelation 8:8, I will talk about this later.]
When Jesus was nearing Jerusalem he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree, he stopped to eat, but there were no figs. There should have been figs on the tree. Figs come first then the leaves. (This tree was out of order. Even if it was not the season of the fig the tree was showing itself as though it was, and therefore out of order.) At this point Jesus spoke the word of faith and commanded the tree to die.
To the human eye there seemed to be no change. But the words that Christ spoke were not just meaningless words—they were in the “mean time.” John 6:63b-64a, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” When spoken in faith, death set in immediately to the roots of the tree. When we pray we should be praying for the root of the problem, not the effect or symptoms of the problem. So don’t look at the symptoms to determine whether or not God has heard your prayer, but believe you have destroyed the root of the need.
After you have prayed the prayer of faith for the root of a situation in your life, it may appear as if nothing is happening. Instead of your spouse getting closer to the Lord, they may become worse. Instead of getting an unexpected check in the mail to help pay our bills, our roof caves in, the car breaks down or the refrigerator stops working.
This means Satan is fighting us during the waiting period (in the meantime) and is trying to make us think God is not answering our prayers. The devil is a liar!!
What we don’t know is God may be sending a Christian to work with your spouse who can influence him or her for Christ. This person may live in another town, but God speaks to them and tells them to move to your city just so your prayers will be answered.
Please understand, it may take time to develop, but God began to act in accordance with your faith the instant you prayed it.
God may be preparing you for a new job that will pay a higher salary or begin to send new business in your direction to bless you. BUT THE ANSWER IS ON THE WAY THE MOMENT YOU RELEASE IT IN FAITH TO GOD. The clouds are forming and the rain is coming.
Scripture verses are quoted in New King James Version unless other wise noted