Prayer: Faith for Answered Prayer

This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.

What is the Assemblies of God belief in faith for answered prayer?

The Assemblies of God has, from its beginning, been on the cutting edge of aggressive faith–a biblical conviction that God does the miraculous through simple faith in Him. While not mentioned specifically, the issue of faith is so central it underscores and touches many of the church’s doctrines. The most obvious application of faith is seen in the doctrine of divine healing, considered one of the cardinal truths of our Fellowship. This doctrine listed in Article 12, Statement of Fundamental Truths, states "Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided in the Atonement and is the privilege of all believers (Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:16,17; James 5:4-16)."

In our day, however, some have extended this truth from "believing in faith" to "claiming in faith." In such cases human desire is imposed upon the sovereign will and purposes of God. In the Assemblies of God we believe to make such demands on God is contrary to the spirit of Scripture.

This imbalance in applying faith grows out of an effort to see and experience the supernatural. As an example, people who are ill or in need require healing or some form of provision in their life. In an act of faith, they petition God through prayer to answer their needs. Time passes. With no immediate answer in sight they grow weary of waiting and demand answers. In response, isolated Bible verses are used to support their insistence that God must perform according to their demands. Sadly, what begins as a sincere longing to see God work degenerates into a spirit of insistence. Ultimately, this attitude prevents a trusting rest in God's care and His provision.

Sometimes when prayers aren't answered as one requests, other zealous believers comment, "You didn’t have enough faith," or "You need to increase your faith." But to make such statements is as futile as to say "Stop being sick." This gives emphasis on faith in faith itself rather than faith in God. He and He alone is to be the object and focus of our faith

How do we stay on the cutting edge of faith while still avoiding the extreme? The answer is paradoxical–the willingness to trust and believe while also experiencing a spirit of acceptance to God’s sovereign purposes. In other words, we pray in faith but are content to leave the results with God.

The danger of missing the essential faith balance in one’s prayer petitions, therefore, is twofold: 1) That we shrink back from believing God for the supernatural–that full expectation that He is going to act; and 2) that we cross over the line and become god-players–the imposing of our agenda on God. All Christians must find a balance between aggressive faith and obedient compliance to His will. To this balance the Scriptures give strong testimony.

The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching.

All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.