Pray Until You Believe


“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. – John 4:50

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe. – Mark 11:24

When you are confronted with a matter that requires immediate prayer, pray until you believe God—until with wholehearted sincerity you can thank Him for the answer. If you do not see the external answer immediately, do not pray for it in such a way that it is evident you are not definitely believing God for it. This type of prayer will be a hindrance instead of a help to you. And when you are finished praying, you will find that your faith has been weakened or has entirely gone. The urgency you felt to offer this kind of prayer is clearly from self and Satan. It may not be wrong to mention the matter to the Lord again, if He is keeping you waiting for His answer, but be sure to do so in a way that shows your faith.

Never pray in a way that diminishes your faith. You may tell Him you are waiting, still believing and therefore praising Him for the answer. There is nothing that so fully solidifies faith as being so sure of the answer that you can thank God for it. Prayers that empty us of faith deny both God’s promises from His Word and the “Yes” that He whispered to our hearts. Such prayers are only the expression of the unrest of our hearts, and unrest implies unbelief that our prayers will be answered. “Now we who have believed enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:3).

The type of prayer that empties us of faith frequently arises from focusing our thoughts on the difficulty rather than on God’s promise. Abraham, “without weakening in his faith . . . faced the fact that his body was as good as dead. . . . Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God” (Romans 4:19–20). May we “watch and pray so that [we] will not fall into [the] temptation” (Matthew 26:41) of praying faith-diminishing prayers. C. H. P.

Faith is not a sense, nor sight, nor reason, but simply taking God at His word. – Christmas Evans

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. – George Mueller

You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings. God gives us His promises in a quiet hour, seals our covenants with great and gracious words, and then steps back, waiting to see how much we believe. He then allows the Tempter to come, and the ensuing test seems to contradict all that He has spoken. This is when faith wins its crown.

This is the time to look up through the storm, and among the trembling, frightened sailors declare,

I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. — Acts 27:25

Believe and trust; through stars and suns,
Through life and death, through soul and sense,
His wise, paternal purpose runs;
The darkness of His Providence
Is starlit with Divine intents

Excerpted with permission from Streams in the Desert Morning and Evening Edition by L.B. Cowman, copyright L.B. Cowman. Published by Thomas Nelson.

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Your Turn

We serve a God whose words and promises are always good and true. He doesn’t tease us! If He said it, He will do it in His perfect timing. Join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you about praying with faith-filled prayers.

L.B. Cowman

L. B. Cowman worked as a pioneer missionary with her husband in Japan and China from 1901 to 1917, during which time they helped found the Oriental Missionary Society. When Mr. Cowman's poor health forced the couple to return to the United States, Mrs. Cowman turned her attention to caring for her husband until his death six years later. Out of Mrs. Cowman's experiences and heartbreak came her first book, Streams in the Desert, followed by its companion Springs in the Valley. During the next twenty-five years, Mrs. Cowman inspired several nationwide Scripture distribution campaigns and wrote seven more books. Finally, on Easter Sunday in 1960, at the age of ninety, Mrs. Cowman met face-to-face the God she had served so faithfully for nearly a century.

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