David Lipscomb on “Pray in Faith”

How we pray, how often we pray and why we pray reveals much about our spiritual walk with God.

David Lipscomb printed a statement by a friend who encountered people among the Stone-Campbell Movement who did not seem to pray fervently.  The inquirer wrote, “I heard one of your leading ministers say a short time ago that he did not pray believing that his prayers would be answered, but that he prayed because he believed it was his duty to pray. He said it always makes a man better to do his duty….”

Lipscomb responded, in part, by writing (Salvation from Sin, pp. 321-22):

A man must not only believe that God hears and answers prayer, but he must pray continually and in faith, to be a Christian. No mortal can live a Christian life without constant, earnest, faithful prayer. We cannot live the Christian life without the help God gives in answer to prayer. The trouble is that an element of rationalistic infidelity has entered all the churches that seeks to eliminate the divine in religion, to conform everything to the conceptions of human reason, and to explain everything by natural laws, ignoring the God of nature and the Author of all laws. It is in all the churches.

A man cannot live the Christian life one day without the help and strength that comes through humble and earnest prayer to God through Christ Jesus our Lord. No man can believe on Jesus and realize his lost and helpless condition–his dependence upon God–without at every step he takes praying for mercy and for help.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

5 Responses to “David Lipscomb on “Pray in Faith””

  1.   Keith Brenton Says:

    “Rationalistic infidelity.” What an incredibly revealing term!

    (It’s certainly rampant today.)

    The whole idea, though, of praying because it’s your duty rather than to pray believing, pray without ceasing … well, it’s certainly not scriptural!

    •   rich constant Says:

      The whole idea, though, of praying because it’s your “duty” rather than to pray believing, pray without ceasing …

      keith 🙂 I see a little abstract irony here… but then ya no me 🙂

      well, it’s certainly not “scriptural”!


  2.   Homer Says:

    I’m unsure of the nature of the problem. Is it not praying fervently, not believing God will grant our request, praying from a sense of duty, or “all of the above”?

    Years ago our 14 year old grandaughter became very ill from a ruptured appendix that was not diagnosed for a few days. Surgery revealed an abdomen full of gangrene, and she endured several surgeries, weeks on life support, and 12 weeks in the hospital. Thank God she recovered with only an abnormal stomach from scarring.

    We certainly prayed fervently for her. I wept and begged for her survival. Prayed she would survive, that her kidneys would work again, that her stomach would be saved. Yet I can not say I was certain God would grant my request. I had hope but I did not know what His will was for our grandaughter. Does this mean I lacked faith? I do not think so; I was fully confident that He could heal her and would heal her if that was His will.

    Our son and daughter-in-law, I thought, showed great faith in that they were praying for the best but also thanking God that they had their daughter for 14 years.

    Regarding praying out of duty I admit to praying that way much of the time. I prayed almost daily for my brother, a wayward sheep, for about 20 years and I can not say it was with with the ferver I prayed for our grandaughter. But God answered my prayer, the sheep finally came home.

    It is also difficult for me to pray fervently for the many requests received through our prayer chain and list from church. They are often requested by people we do not know, asking for payer for someone else we do not know who is hundreds or thousands of miles away. But I dutifully pray for them.

    If I do not pray as I ought I echo John Mark; God, forgive me the sinner.

    •   John Mark Hicks Says:

      Praying in faith does not mean we are certain that God will do exactly what we ask. I understand it as praying in a way that trusts God but yet expresses our perceived needs to God. Prayer is ultimately a mystery. It cannot be psychologically or scientifically measured. It is entrustment to God and we pray in ways that live with the mystery. God is at work–through our prayers but also for his own purposes.

  3.   eirenetheou Says:

    We can depend on God to do God’s will. In Scripture we can see human prayer changing God’s mind or precipitating acts that God had perhaps not planned. Yet every faithful prayer is conditioned on human submission to the will of God: “Let your will be done.”

    “In everything God works for good with those who love him.” Therefore we may, in everything, give thanks to God — not because every thing is good, but because God is at work in it.

    God’s Peace to you.


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