The story is told of a village that was in the midst of a drought and the local minister called upon his parishioners to come out for a day of prayer; they would pray from rain. On the day designated, quite a number of people including the church’s officers turned out. Standing out like a sore thumb among them was a little boy. Not because of his physical appearance, or what he was wearing, but because he was the only one who came with an umbrella.
What is the point of praying if one isn’t going to believe that the thing being prayed for is going to be received? In Christian circles it is called praying in faith. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us, “Faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]” (Hebrews 11:1, AMP). While most of us are familiar with that portion of text, how many of us have actually walked it out? I recall sometime ago asking someone, “If you have no food to cook and prayed for God to provide some, what do you do next?” The reply was, “I believe God so I would wait for the answer.” Now while that sounds fairly reasonable, the fact is that because faith moves a person to action, the person standing in faith would not just wait for an answer, but actually put the pot on the stove while thanking God for the food that hadn’t yet arrived. Remember, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (NIV). In our example, to wait until we see the food to put on the pot doesn’t require faith. That is an action based on what is in front of us; it takes faith to put on the pot when the food hasn’t yet arrived.
Without doubt that goes against our natural way of being and thinking. Jesus reminds His disciples, “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:22-24, KJV). Notice that it is faith coupled with the act of speaking to the “mountain” that produces the desired result.
Genuine faith in God demands action. We have to do something that demonstrates our conviction that we have those things which we said will come to pass and which are consistent with God’s will for us. Just like the little boy with his umbrella. If you were standing in the crowd that day, would you have had yours?