What is the Prayer of Faith?

Mar 18, 2023


“Is any sick among you? 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 shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.”
James 5:14-15

What is this prayer of faith that James is talking about? Can anyone pray it? Is it a string of “magic words” that ensures a miracle? Is the prayer of faith recorded anywhere?

I believe that the prayer of faith is very simple. You don’t have to be especially gifted to pray it. Anyone can. At any time. No, it’s not “magic.” There’s only one prerequisite: FAITH.

Here’s what I believe it is: It is a petition to God that declares one’s total CONFIDENCE in GOD ALONE because of His proven power—and—one’s COMMITMENT to HIS Will. PRAISE + TRUST.

The prayer of faith is NOT necessarily just a prayer for healing, as referenced in James. It can be applied to any need and invoked in any crisis. Or non-crisis. It doesn’t have to be long. It can be very short. It is NOT a prayer based in emotion, imagination, frustration, desperation, or even hope. Rather, it is a prayer that arises out of the grateful MEMORY – a prayer of remembering God’s faithfulness, His power, and His promises. Nothing fancy – God’s goodness needs no embellishment. With that TRUTH as a basis, it is a prayer of CONFIDENCE and COMMITMENT.

The NT word “faith” is translated from the Greek “pistis” meaning “persuasion that is credence” or “persuasion of TRUTH.” The prayer of faith, more than a question, is a statement: “I am PERSUADED! GOD is faithful, and He knows what’s best!” The prayer may, indeed, contain a request, but the prayer’s premise is always a DECLARATION of God’s eternal power, evidenced by His faithfulness (PRAISE) —AND the pray-er’s full AGREEMENT with His Ways, His Word, and His Will (TRUST).

The psalms of David are full of examples of prayers of faith — a beautiful one is Psalm 25:

“Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old … according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord. … O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.” V: 6, 7, 20

Other notable faith prayers were prayed by Elijah (1 Kings 18:36-37) Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:6-12), and, of course, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36). The Bible is full of them. Praying the Word of God, as a part of a prayer of faith, is a particularly good way to recall, remember, and recite His faithfulness. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

As long as I can remember the goodness of the LORD, I am then equipped to pray a prayer of faith. However, a prayer of true faith never demands a particular outcome. It doesn’t say, “LORD, not Thy will, but MINE be done.” It declares: CONFIDENCE in GOD alone because of His proven power (past)—and—COMMITMENT to HIS Will (present/future), whether you “agree” with it or not. It is: PRAISE + TRUST. Period. Here’s some examples of what I believe the prayer of faith may look like:

1. “LORD Jesus, I know that You are POWERFUL enough to do anything, because I have seen You do mighty miracles before. Based on THAT faith, I know that You are well able to fulfill THIS present need for which I am praying! But, I pray not MY will, but Thine be done. In Jesus’ name – AMEN!”

2. “LORD Jesus, I know that You are aware of THIS need – You ARE able – I believe You desire to deliver and You WILL. But, IF NOT … for whatever reason, I will still trust You, still believe in Your power, and still praise You until my last breath. YOU ALONE are in control – YOU know what is BEST. Either way, if You do deliver or if you don’t, LORD, I will worship You FOREVER – ANYWAY! In JESUS’ name – AMEN!”

3. “LORD Jesus, I know that nothing is too hard for You, but I also believe that every pain has a purpose in Your BIGGER Plan. You didn’t come to bring us relief; You came to bring us LIFE. If my pain causes YOUR Name to be lifted higher; if it causes more people to turn and trust in YOU – or if Your Word and Your Holy Spirit are exalted on the earth through my suffering, so be it! I say: Amen!! Above ALL, LORD, … above relief for my pain, I pray that Your NAME BE GLORIFIED!! Here, in THIS situation, NOW, and forever and ever!! In JESUS’ name – AMEN! and AMEN!!”