I decided to write this article to help Christians everywhere to have an active faith in their lives. This article is for those who simply want to learn what the Bible says about faith and it is also for those who desire to conduct a Bible study on faith with the groups that they are a part of.
Hope you enjoy this article and that it assists you in your walk with Him!
What is faith according to the Bible?
The Bible defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In other words, faith is an active force that brings substance to our hope and provides current evidence to what we cannot see.
Let me say it another way in case that was too wordy.
Faith takes what you see in the unseen and then forces it into natural reality.
A perfect example of this is when we heard the whole story about Jesus. We heard about His birth, life, death, and resurrection. And we heard about what He is calling us to do now that He came and died for us. And as we heard this wonderful story, faith rose in our hearts and we decided to respond to God through obedience.
We decided to repent, get baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.
And the moment we did was the moment we received salvation from our sin and we became born again. Now we can spend eternity with Him and fulfill His will upon this earth and in the one to come. Praise God!
And none of this would have happened if we didn’t have faith.
Remember, faith takes what is in the spiritual and brings it into the natural through simple trust in God’s word.
How to receive faith
The only way to get the ability to have faith in something is by receiving words about that thing, whether through hearing or reading it does not matter. Faith only comes by words.
This is why the Bible says “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
If we want faith in God, we must indulge in the words of God. If we want faith in worldly things, like investment advice, philosophy, science, etc., then we must listen and give heed to those words.
When we have faith in worldly advice all that really is in God’s eyes is unbelief.
All unbelief is faith in something other than God.
So the more we listen to and heed the world’s words, the more our unbelief will grow towards God and the more our faith will grow towards the world.
On the other hand, if we listen to and heed the word of God then our faith in God will flourish, and our unbelief in the world will increase.
Then suddenly, the knowledge of God will outweigh the knowledge of this world and our faith in God will be strong.
So the biggest hindrance to someone who is wondering “how do I get faith in God?” or “how do I receive faith from God?” is indulging themselves in this world’s views, opinions, advice, beliefs, entertainment, etc.
You cannot receive faith from God if you are more concerned with this world and what it has to say than the very words of God.
If you want to get faith in God then you must first choose to exalt God’s views, opinions, advice, beliefs, and joy above all the things of this world. And the only way to do this is to read, hear, and consume the word of God.
You cannot expect to grow your faith in God if you only read the bible for 2 minutes a day but then continue to consume junk for the rest of the day. You have to choose to be someone who consumes the Bible and then chooses to act on it.
How to grow in faith
We have already looked at Romans 10:17, which says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So we know how faith comes.
This process that Jesus described in these passages is called “the parable of the sower”.
Essentially, the parable goes like this; a man went out to his field to sow his seed, and as he did, the seed fell on 4 different types of ground.
The first ground is the wayside or the road. When the seed landed on this ground, immediately the birds of the air came and ate it.
The second ground is the stony ground that did not have much earth. When the seed was sown, it grew quickly but when the sun rose the plant died.
The third ground is the one that had thorns in it. When this seed was sown, it grew next to the thorns and the thorns choked it out.
Finally, the fourth ground was the one with good soil. When the seed was sown here it grew and brought forth much fruit.
This process can either be simultaneous or step-by-step, but either way, it must happen.
Before I cover these steps, I must first establish some principles that Jesus established when He taught this teaching. If I don’t mention these principles these steps won’t make much sense.
Principle #1: The word of God is a seed (Mark 4:14). In fact, it is an incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23). What the scripture means by “incorruptible” is that if the word of God does not grow faith in our lives, it is not the fault of the seed.
Principle #2: Once the seed is planted and watered, it grows automatically. The only hindrance to the seed not growing is the quality of the soil (Mark 4:5-8).
Principle #3: The soil is our hearts. This is where the word of God gets planted (Mark 4:15).
Now that I’ve established these truths, let’s get started.
Step 1: Hear the Word of God
The first and most obvious step is that we must hear or read the word of God.
I know that it’s obvious but it is the first step that must be taken. If we neglect this we will never bear fruit and we will never have faith operating in our lives.
Become a sower to your own heart by daily reading the word of God. [Related article: Spending Time Reading the Bible (Common Questions Answered)].
Step 2: Understand the Word of God
The second step to getting/receiving faith is to understand what the word of God is saying.
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.” (Matthew 13:19)
So the first soil, or condition of our hearts, is the seed that was sown by the wayside. This soil represents the heart condition that does not understand what the word of God is saying.
This is why Jesus said, “if anyone hears the word and does not understand it” then the wicked one snatches it away.
This is the only soil that did not allow the word of God to grow. Every other soil causes the word of God, or the seed of faith, to grow in our lives.
So if we want faith to grow in us then we have to first hear the word of God, and second, understand the word of God so that it gets planted in our hearts.
Step 3: Be rooted and grounded
The third step is to have a heart that has much earth so the seed can take root.
“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” (Matthew 13:20-21)
Luke’s Gospel even adds the word temptation to persecution and tribulation. So this is referring to every type of trial that can come into our lives.
This is the soil that confused me for quite some time. It took me a while to understand what Jesus meant by someone who has no root in themselves.
Obviously, having root in ourselves is a key to enduring trials, and Jesus says in this passage that if we can’t endure trials then the word of God will be hindered and we will be unable to grow faith in our lives.
Because remember; faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So if the word of God is how faith comes to us then that means that the word of God is the seed of faith that we are to sow into our hearts.
So what does it mean to have root in yourself and how do we get it?
Well, Jesus revealed how we are to endure temptation, trials, and persecution when He was about to be taken to be killed.
Jesus said to His disciples when He found them asleep and not praying, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41)
In this passage, Jesus is hours away from being taken to be crucified and He spent the whole time in prayer, while His disciples spent the time sleeping.
Long story short, the disciples ended up forsaking the Lord and Peter even ended up denying that even knew Him three times.
Prayer is the secret to increasing depth of soil to our hearts so that the Word of God can take root and we can we can endure trials no matter the difficulty.
Devote yourself not only to the word of God, but also to prayer if you desire to have great faith. (Related article: 7 Tips to Develop and Maintain a Consistent Prayer Life)
Step 4: Avoid the cares of this World
The fourth step is to have a heart that is not concerned with, nor worried about the things of this world.
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)
If we desire to have faith that flourishes then it is incredibly important to learn the principle of God’s provision.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
If we desire to have great faith in our lives then we need to get to a place where we seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness first and learn not to worry about all of the natural things that we need and not to covet the things of this world.
This passage was mentioned right after Jesus got done teaching on prayer, fasting, and giving. This shows me that to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first and not to worry about everything else we need to be practicing these things so that we can grow in our relationship with God.
Also, remember that as we seek His Kingdom first there is a promise that He gives us, “all of these things will be added unto you.”
And in another place, Jesus says that those who forsook all for Him and for the Gospel will “receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:30)
So let’s seek Him first with a heart that desires nothing but Him and the blessing of the Lord will come upon us and provide for us, and faith will sprout in our hearts to bear much fruit.
Step 5: Be the good soil
The key to being the good soil is having less within your heart.
All the good soil is is a heart that (1) hears the word, (2) understands the word, (3) grounded in love and prayer, and (4) isn’t worried or concerned with the cares of this world.
Simply being someone who devotes themselves to hearing the word and spending time in prayer will automatically produce in us faith that is as strong and powerful as a mustard seed. [Related articles: What a Mustard Seed of Faith Means (And How to Have it) and Little Faith vs. Maustard Seed of Faith: What’s the Difference?].
In the beginning, our faith may look small, but after giving ourselves to these things day in and day out our faith grows to become the biggest tree in the garden where all the birds of the air come and nest in it’s branches.
The Prayer of Faith (How to Release Faith)
What is the prayer of faith?
The prayer of faith is simply a prayer that is spoken in faith over any situation or problem, especially over physical sickness that results in healing of the body.
There are many ministries out there that say that the prayer of faith found in James chapter 5 is not referring to physical healing, but this simply is not the case!
It is true that the prayer of faith is simply a prayer spoken in faith and, therefore, can be prayed over any situation and should be.
However, the context of James 5 is just too clear. The apostle James was talking about those who are sick should be prayed for by the elders of the Church so that they can be healed.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the passage.
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” (James 5:13-15).
James says, that the prayer offered in faith will save (a.k.a heal) the sick. This is a promise from the word of God.
God through His word is saying in this passage that when there is a prayer spoken in faith over the sick person, the Lord will heal them and the Lord will raise them! It is a 100% success rate, which means it is God’s will to happen every time.
Another thing to notice is that this is not a suggestion, this is a command.
God’s word is commanding that those who are sick should call for the elders of the church and that the elders should anoint the sick with oil and pray the prayer of faith over them so that they can be healed.
Now think about this for a moment; if God is commanding it then that proves that it is His will.
To say that it isn’t His will to heal the sick, after reading this passage simply means that you didn’t read it well enough or that you did not read it with a pure perspective.
I have heard ministries quote 1 John 5:14-15 which says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
They’ll use these amazing verses and say something like, “well, it’s true that we can pray the prayer of faith over people and that they can be healed, but only if it’s God’s will. And if we pray for someone who is sick and they don’t get healed then we know it wasn’t God’s will in that particular instance.”
I find this thought process to be extremely disturbing because it completely voids the fact that God just revealed in James 5:13-15 that it is God’s will to heal!
James reveals this by commanding the sick to call for the elders, then commanding the elders to pray in faith over the sick for healing, and then promising that God will heal them every time if they pray in faith.
Sounds to me like it’s God’s will!
You cannot possibly be reading James 5:13-15 guided by Holy Spirit and come to the conclusion of the thought process I just referred to.
It is impossible! To say that God heals some and doesn’t heal all does not line up with what James was talking about in James 5. It does not line up with what Jesus said in Mark 16:15-18 and Luke 10:1-9 and Matthew 17:14-21. And it does not line up with the examples we find throughout the book of acts.
The one thing that thought process does line up with is our own experiences and failures and our lack of seeing the sick healed every time, but since when did we get commanded to live by our experiences?
I thought the just was supposed to live by faith. I thought we were commanded to walk by faith and not by sight.
Come on Church! Let’s not get discouraged in well doing!
Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus through every circumstance and let’s continue to grow in Him “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) so that when it comes time to pray the prayer of faith over the sick we will see the Lord raise them as He promised He would.
How to pray the prayer of faith (step-by-step)
If there was anyone who walked on this earth who offered up the prayer of faith perfectly it would be Jesus. I think we can all agree on that.
So we should probably look at what Jesus taught His disciples about prayer, and more specifically, how He taught His disciples to pray the prayer of faith.
“Have faith in God. 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. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:22-24)
This passage is the best explanation of the prayer of faith found anywhere in the Bible. Jesus lays it out step by step how to pray the prayer of faith, and He does it with such encouragement always calling us up higher.
Step 1: Have faith in God
I know that it may seem kind of odd that I’m starting here but the truth is we can put our faith in many things when we pray.
We can put our faith in our prayer, faith in our own holiness, faith in how long we prayed, faith in how many people we have praying, the list can go on and on.
But none of those things carry God’s power. Only when we release faith in God will we finally see God’s power begin to manifest. [Related articles: How to Activate Your Faith (Step-by-Step) and How to Grow in Faith].
Step 2: Speak to the mountain
The second thing Jesus tells us to do is that when we pray the prayer of faith we are to speak to the mountain.
Another way of saying this is we are to speak to the problem, to the sickness, or even to the body.
A lot of people get hemmed up on this part of praying the prayer of faith. They think it’s weird to speak to the body or to speak to the problem and tell it to leave in Jesus’ name.
And I’m going to be honest with you, it absolutely is weird…for those that are in the world.
But Jesus made it clear, “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.”
This is why over and over again when Jesus would heal people or do miracles He would say things like, “Be healed”, “Be cleansed”, “Come out of Him”, “Peace be still”, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again”, “take up your mat and walk”, “stretch forth your hand”.
The apostles followed His example and did the same thing. Peter said to the paralyzed man, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk”. Paul said to the evil spirit in Acts 6:16 “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.”
It is not only a command from Jesus but it is also the example of His ministry and the ministry of the early church believers.
Step 3: Don’t doubt, but believe
“‘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.” (Mark 11:23)
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24)
From these two verses we see what it looks like to not doubt but to believe.
In verse 24, Jesus says that when we pray we are to believe that we received the moment that we spoke in faith.
Many Christians want to believe after they received. Now, we may not say this outright but that is essentially what we’re doing when we pray and then immediately check our physical senses to see if it came to pass.
Too often we need our physical senses to tell us that whatever we’re praying for happened, rather than letting our faith tell us that what we prayed for took place.
I hope you’re understanding what I’m attempting to communicate!
Jesus said that we are to believe that we received the moment that we prayed, and not the moment that we physically “received.” (Related article: The Faith of the Centurion & How to Have it)
This is exactly what Hebrews 11:1 says faith is.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith brings substance to our hope and it is the evidence of what our physical senses aren’t telling us. [Related article: Faith and Hope (Biblical Study)]
The reason why this is is because faith brings what we see in the unseen (hope) and then forces it into natural reality (bringing substance).
In other words, true faith sees the mountain moving before it actually physically moves.
Faith cannot be faith if it is moved by what it sees because it is by definition “the evidence of things not seen.”
This is why Jesus said you have to believe that you received the moment that you prayed, because if not, then it was never true faith.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it assisted you in your walk with God. Below are some more Bible Studies that I have written. Enjoy!