Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
- Matthew 13:58
No doubt there have been times when we may have hindered the work of God in our lives because of unbelief. Scripture tells us that Jesus could do no mighty work in His hometown because of unbelief (see Matthew 13:58).
Clearly there is a place for faith in prayer. However, I disagree with those who say it is all about faith and that if your prayer isn't answered, it is because you lack faith.
Sometimes I only have so much faith. I think of the man whose child needed Jesus' healing touch. This desperate father said, "Lord, I believe." Then he added, "Help my unbelief!" (see Mark 9:24). We read that Jesus delivered the boy from demon powers. Do you know why? It was an honest prayer: Lord I believe. Help my unbelief! Lord, I believe, but sometimes I have lapses. Sometimes I have doubts.
Sometimes there is a lack of faith in our prayers. We all have had doubts. But that is when we take the Word of God and apply it to that doubt. As Romans 10:17 tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
The early church had their doubts when Herod had Peter arrested and thrown into prison. But they prayed. And even though their prayers were weak, they were still mightier than Herod. Why didn't God answer their prayers earlier? Did He want to teach the church perseverance? Or, was it to teach Peter faith? Their story reminds us that prayer is warfare, and the battle is not won through human strength but on our knees.
It has been said that prayer is striking the winning blow; service is gathering up the results.
So let's go. Let's start barraging God's throne with requests that will bring glory to His name.