What is Faith?
The dictionary’s definition of faith is to have belief in and to trust in something or someone with no physical evidence that you can see it. Faith is to hold a conviction too, to have reliance in, to have assurance of, to feel confidence about, and to have trust in something or someone. Faith is based upon something that might not be visible to the naked eye but still having a realization that it is substantial and real. I drive over a large bridge that is elevated on my way to work. I do not see the underlying steel girders and concrete supports, yet I have confidence that the bridge will hold me up. I have assurance in something that I can not see but trust that it will support me because it has held up my car hundreds of times. I do not have to see the underneath of the bridge to know that there is evidence that it will support me. This is what faith is all about.
When a father brought his demon possessed boy to Jesus he believed that Jesus could heal him by saying “I do believe” (Mark 9:24). So why did the father say in this same verse, “Help my unbelief?“ He asked Jesus for help in his unbelief. He believed Jesus could heal him yet he still had some doubt and asked Jesus to help in his lack of belief. This has been my own experience as well. I believe and have faith in Jesus, but I also experience times of doubt that seem to overwhelm me.
Jesus tells us to “Have faith in God” because “Truly if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it w
ill be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours“(Mark 11:22-24). Jesus associates believing in God and trusting in His ability as having faith. The man who brought his demon possessed boy to Jesus had faith in Christ but he lacked complete assurance and trust. This lack was due to his own disbelief, not to a lack of believing in Jesus. So even though it seems paradoxical to say “Lord I do believe” and then “Help my unbelief” it appears that he was praying for Jesus to strengthen his faith.
I am not going to be too hard on this man because he had his doubts- in fact I would say, “Welcome to the human race!” When we pray for something that is God’s will, He will surely answer that prayer, but as James 1:6 says, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” It is so hard to pray for something and believe with 100% certainty that God will answer that prayer because we rely on our five senses. We only believe what we see and so it is hard to believe in something that has not yet been seen. Nevertheless, God will hear and answer our prayer but the answer might not be what we had hoped for. God rarely gives us what we want as much as He gives us what we need. Praying to God for Him to increase your faith is one that I truly believe that He will answer. If we pray with doubt in our prayers, it is like doubting God’s ability. Here is the Biblical definition of faith from Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is defined in the Bible much like the dictionary describes it. It is a confident, assurance in believing God. It is not a hope-so but a know-so.
Can You Pray For Faith?
Yes you can pray for faith. Matthew 7:7-11 points the way to receiving from God what we desperately need: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?” Faith is most certainly a good thing to ask the Father for so why not pray to Him to receive it?