In preparing for the September 16th Prayer Day, I thought I would post a few things pertaining to prayer and faith. First, on faith.
Usually people view faith as one simple subject. Either you believe or you don’t, or you are trying to have faith, or you are asking God for faith. Yet there are three general areas that are encompassed by the word, faith, in the Bible, and they are arrived at in different ways.
The first is ‘the measure of faith’.
“Romans 3: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
This is the faith that is sowed like seeds in the soul. It is the same as described in Romans 10:17,
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Word of God being the initiating lifegiving force. This is why preaching is so important. It actually delivers the possiblity of faith. This faith is the one that is described as coming by grace, as a gift from God.
The next type of faith is what we usually mean when praying “increase our faith”, it is the building and multiplying of faith in using what is initially given to us. The way this is described is “faith working by love”, and found in the verse,2 Thessalonians 1:11,
“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power”
This is working faith, faith as a force that accomplishes God’s Will in the earth. we seek this faith when we pray, encourage one another to build it in each other, when we spend time in God’s Word through Bible study, or hearing teaching. We ‘trade’ with it by using our faith in actions. This is the living out of our faith, which we received as a gift. It is the currancy of our good works, coming from trust in God’s direction, provision, and enabling. And investing in a future outcome of God’s making and assured by His promises. Spiritual gold or treasure, if you will. It is God working through us.
The third type of faith is not much spoken of, I think this is because not all the Church has been receptive to the idea the the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available today. So it is often folded into the definition of the second named type of faith. But this third type os the ‘gift of faith’ as found in
“1 Corinthians 12:8-10: (New King James Version)
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
As seen here this is one of the spiritual gifts given for the building up of the Church, to use in a ministry way. It is God’s own faith that manifests for His purpose. When you operate in the gift of faith, you do not have any lack of belief, it is an assured knowledge of God having heard and that He will accomplish. There is no doubt as there is in our working faith, where we have areas of uncertainty. This is the working of the Holy Spirit, and is outside of us in source, we are only the vessel or conduit.
I believe this sort of gift, like all the gifts, is available to every beleiver, but it is not something we control, we are open to be servants of its distribution, usually in prayer and intercession- in my experience, but it can also be at other times. The thing that sets it apart is the fact that it is the ministry of the Spirit and we don’t add any of our own efforts. Just the same as knowledge that is of our own is from study, but the gift of knowledge is supernaturally given, and outside the ken of man. As in all the gifts, the purpose is for the building up of the Church, edifying the members, not for self.
I find that the gift of faith is especially useful in Spiritual warfare situations.