“Where is your faith?" He asked His disciples (Luke 8:25).
Imagine a person in crisis who kept on praying the whole night, worried and troubled about what may happen. The other person, stuck in the same situation, didn’t even say a word but just kept silent, trusting the Sovereign One and knowing that his Redeemer lives.
We who are often carried away by the outward appearances may appreciate the one who prayed the whole night and despise the seemingly prayerless person who didn’t even utter a word. But whom do you think God really commends? The one who prayed with fear, worry and unbelief or the one who sat quietly trusting in the Lord? What did Jesus reply when the disciples fervently prayed to Him amidst furious storm? He asked, “Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25)
Now I am going to make a thoughtful statement. I haven’t found anywhere in the Holy Bible where God appreciated just prayer. But I do know surplus evidences where God commended faith in Him. To share a few, about the centurion, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matt. 8:10). To the Canaanite woman, Jesus responded, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted" (Matt. 15:28). Finally, the whole chapter of Hebrews 11 marvelously describes the importance of faith. God takes great delight in those who have great faith in Him!
Of course, there were men and women of prayer in the Holy Bible who persisted in prayer and no doubt were responded by God. However, please make a note—their prayers were effective not because of the words they offered; it is because of their great faith in God (Heb. 11). Moreover, Jesus rebuked people who pray and yet put no faith in Him (Matt. 8:26). The parable of Jesus on persistent prayer recorded in Luke 18:1-8 actually speaks about faith in God. At the conclusion of the parable, did not Jesus regret, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (v. 8)
It is our faith in God which is of utmost importance than mere prayer. God is far more concerned about our wordless faith than worded prayers. Jesus Himself said, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk. 11:24). Agreed, there are times God does answer our prayer out of His grace in spite of our weak faith but that is not the way He usually works. He wants us to grow in faith for He does not take delight in faithless prayers.
Many times, I suppose, prayer is far easier than trusting God. I know what it is to pray and later follow my own inclinations. I know what it is to pray and then keep on worrying. I know what it is to pray and yet remain in disappointment and depression. I know what it is to pray and still live in great fear. I know what it is to pray and renounce to trust in God alone.
I may appear a little blunt in saying—I would rather be a man of faith than a man of prayer. The Holy Bible doesn’t say that it is impossible to please God without prayer; it is written, “It is impossible to please God without faith” (Heb. 11:6). The Holy Bible doesn’t say that through prayer we can do great things; it is written, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (Jn. 4:12).
Furthermore, the Holy Bible doesn’t say that by prayer you are healed; it is written, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well" (Lu. 17:19). The Holy Bible doesn’t say that through prayer we are saved; it is written, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Eph. 2:8). The Holy Bible doesn’t say that it is just by prayer we move the mountain; it is written that we move the mountain by faith (Mk. 11:22-23). The Holy Bible doesn’t say that by prayer everything is possible; it is written, "Everything is possible for him who believes" (Mk. 9:23). Finally, the Holy Bible doesn’t say that the righteous will live by prayer; it is written, “The righteous will live by faith” (Rom. 1:17).
Kindly don’t misunderstand me. I am not at all nullifying the significance of prayer. My concern is that we are encircled by so much emphasis on prayer (though not with its practice) that we have missed the greater importance of a life of faith. Yes, we need more prayer, but more needful than that—we need more faith, not to get every personal whim, but amidst storms and thorns to live a mighty life for Him who taught us, “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done.”
“ “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Lu. 18:8)."