Faith is the condition on which Christ’s power is based. For He could do no mighty works in Nazareth because of their lack of faith, just as the disciples also could not cast the demon out of the lunatic boy because of their lack of faith. Faith and prayer work together. If we fail in our faith, our prayers also fail. So then, the possibilities of receiving big things in prayer hinge on our ability to believe God for big things.
But that ability to believe does not just happen over night. There is a process of growth in faith, a process of development. Here are six steps to help you develop your faith. If you will devote yourself to these six things you will see your faith grow and you will see God do great and mighty things through your prayers. The more diligent you are at these six points the sooner faith will come. The development of faith is not instantaneous, but it does not have to take years to develop.
1. Get to know God; abide in His Word and in prayer. Get in the habit of having a quiet time every morning—read a passage of the Bible, meditate on it, and pray over it. Then, periodically during your day, take time to meditate on a verse that God has put on your heart. Pray over that verse and commit it to memory. Keep in constant communication with God. Praise Him with thanksgiving all during the day.
2. Obey God moment by moment; be surrendered to His will. If you sin, know that you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 Jn. 2:1). Confess your sin regularly to Him and He will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). Then, being cleansed, determine to obey Him again. Try to develop a pattern of obedience so that you obey Him more than you disobey Him. Soon you will begin to experience the blessings of obedience and will want to obey Him more and more.
3. Discern what God’s will is and what He wants you to ask for and receive through prayer. Discernment of God’s will will come only to those who are surrendered to God and committed to holiness. They are those who have a growing disdain for sin and all the trappings of the world. They regularly deny themselves (Luke 9:23), and even fast on occasion—not because they love to fast or want to lose weight or want to impress anyone, but only because it helps them not to sin; and it gives them a clearer view of God. With this clearer view of God comes a greater discernment of His will and what He wants you to pray for.
4. Through prayer, take hold of the things God wants you to have. Take confidence that He will give these things to you. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” These are powerful verses! Claim them, memorize them, and quote them back to yourself as often as you need them, to remind yourself that God is going to give you the things He has given you a desire to pray for.
5. Stay focused on God. Sometimes in our praying we tend to focus more on the things we are praying for instead of the God who will give them. I have heard of people who have come out of a prayer session more tired and worried then when they came in. Evidently, all they did in their prayer time is think and worry and complain about all their problems, etc. They were not focused on God; they were focused on themselves. (Now that I think about it, I do it myself. I think we all do from time to time.) But if we focus on God in our prayers, He will lift our burdens and rid us of our doubts and fears.
E. M. Bounds states, “Think about God. Make much of Him, till He broadens and fills the horizons of faith. Then prayer will come into its marvelous inheritance of wonders.”
As Bill Hybels has stated, “Faith comes from looking at God not the mountain.” If we desire to move mountains through prayer we must focus on God, not the mountain. He is the creator of the world who made the mountains; He can move them if necessary.
6. Pray until the answer comes. Do not entertain any doubts in your heart, but believe that what you are praying for is going to happen (Mk. 11:23). In fact, believe that God is already at work bringing your prayers to the answer. Pray expecting the answer and believe that by your more fervent praying the answer will come sooner.