“The Prayer of Faith.” The New Testament book of James uses this term to describe the type of faith that can heal the sick or bring rain. But what is the prayer of faith?
Please remember that the biblical word for “faith.” Does not mean intellectual belief. It means “trust.” It has to do with dependability (either God’s or ours, depending on the context). It’s a verby word. It’s something intense that you feel, and that causes you to act.
I’ve come to realize that my most effective prayers (in terms of creating results in the external world) are those during which I experienced a powerful sense of knowing God would answer. The prayer of faith is one in which you subjectively emotionally trust that you, by God’s power, are speaking something into existence. It’s not a prayer of asking for something. Instead, again, the sensation is one of praying something into existence. Rather than saying, “Please, Lord, do X,” or “I pray for X to happen,” you say things like, “Let there be X,” or “I thank you God that you are doing X.”
Here is perhaps the most striking example from the New Testament. Let’s read it and then analyze the elements that characterize this highly effective prayer of faith. From Mark 5:
And a large crowd followed Jesus and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.”
Focus here on the woman. She had a severe medical condition that also rendered her permanently unclean under the Jewish law. She was desperate, but also hopeful. Notice what she tells herself: “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” First, she is visualizing her healing. She can see it happening in her mind. Second, she has complete confidence in the outcome. She trusts that the power inherent in Jesus will heal her, whether or not he’s even aware of it. Third, she acts on that expectation. She travels to Jesus and makes a leap of faith. And her expectation becomes true:
Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
What makes this healing remarkable and unique is that Jesus himself did not say or do anything to make it happen. The woman, through visualization, complete trust, and acting on her firm expectation, healed herself through the power of Jesus by her own chutzpah.
This is an example we can follow. Remember these lessons from Mark 5:24-34.
- The woman visualized becoming well.
- She was certain of the result (trust).
- She acted on that certainty (leap of faith).
- A touching occurred.
- She harnessed the power of Jesus (i.e., the Spirit of power that indwelled him).
- Jesus told her that her trust had made her well.
- In other words, her inner emotional experience was key to her healing.
I invite you to practice these elements in prayer. And ask God to help you develop them. Visualize what you want to see. Nurture a feeling of trust and confidence in the result. Speak the result into existence. If possible, do something to act on your expectation. Use your body. Touch is often an important element of healing prayer. And certainly, invoke the power of Jesus. He is our peace, our deliverer, our healer, the good shepherd, and great physician.
God bless your prayers. In the next post, we’ll examine the healing through the prayer of faith described in James chapter 5.
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Bren Hughes (M.A., M.Div., J.D.) is a lawyer and former minister who lives in the hills of Kentucky.