Prayer: Faith Over Fear

2 Corinthians 5:7 ‘for we walk by faith, not by sight’.

When I recently shared on my Instagram Story (follow me! @imanishola) how God has been teaching me lately to consciously pray from a place of faith rather than fear, it was a leap of faith even to share that truth on my Story because I don’t consider myself a ‘preacher’ of any sort. But so many people messaged me afterwards about how needed it was that I wanted to write about it here and record it in today’s post, so you have the revelation and advice here as a reference in future. For those who missed the Story, God spoke to me recently (around late January) about faith, fear, and their impacts on the effectiveness of prayer. The revelation has changed the way I pray. Honestly, if you’ve been praying for something for ages and haven’t been seeing results, today’s post may be a revelation to you. The truth I learnt was this: if you’re praying, or have been praying, from a place of fear rather than faith, you’re wasting energy: faith must be your foundation. 

The Background

I’ll never forget hearing Pastor Steven Furtick say, in one of his sermons, that nothing moves God to action except faith. No amount of whining, complaining, groaning or crying will move Him if there’s no FAITH. I watched that sermon a while back (a couple years ago now), but that truth has stuck with me. And when we take into account the fact that, according to Hebrews 11:6, it is impossible to please (move the heart of) God without faith, it all makes sense:

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

It’s quite simple. The prerequisite to prayer is faith—in God and in His heart to provide. It is NOT fear or doubt in God and His heart to provide: that’s the opposite.

That means that any time in your prayers you’re complaining, whining, crying, and throwing ultimatums at God (‘God I don’t know how much longer I can wait’, or ‘God if You love me please come through with this’, or ‘God if You don’t come through I fear I’ll lose my faith’ — sound familiar? 😊)  from a place of doubt and panic, ALL that energy and emotionalism is useless because you must have faith when you pray. If you’ve been praying and asking God for something from a place of fear and doubt in His goodness and providence, it’s time to shift.

My Experience and Current Season

Since around mid-November last year, I’ve had a particular prayer request that I’ve been taking to God consistently. Initially, I had asked God to come through with the solution before Christmas. But it didn’t happen—at least not as I expected it to. Instead of wallowing, I reflected on the principles of prayer. It was only during this reflection, over Christmas and into January, that I realised I’d been praying since November from a place of fear — two months of doubting God would come through and forgetting the fact He is so good He cannot NOT provide (Philippians 4:19). 

I realised that all through that November to December period, I had often prayed to God with passion and tears, but with such a large dose of doubt that it was all empty. So after the revelation in late-January, I decided to try praying a new way. I committed February 2019 to faith-based prayer (literally named this month my Faith February😂), and every single day of this month I’ve been fasting and praying consistently and—here’s the key—consciously from a place of faith, for what I’m asking God for. I refute fear or doubt at the speed of the thoughts as they try to creep in. And glory to God, my prayers are being answered before my very eyes, and it is SURREAL to witness; especially when stagnancy was the only fruit of my fear-filled prayers for months before!  Before, all I saw was stagnancy; now, I see movement, shift, change—this transformation comes from FAITH. You must change the foundation of prayer if you desire to change the fruit: stagnancy into movement means fear into faith.

Faith moves mountains, and moves God to action. So, here’s my encouragement and advice for you if you’re ready to let doubt go and stand on FAITH when you’re praying.

How to Pray from FAITH, Rather than FEAR!

Here are 4 ways I’ve learnt to increase faith and quash fear while praying. I encourage you to do these actively as you pray.

  1. Set your eyes on the things above, not your circumstances. Colossians 3:2-3 reads: ‘Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.’ When you’re praying and waiting on God—and in your wider lifestyle as a Christian— your focus should be on God and His ability to do the impossible, not your circumstances. Focus on your circumstances, and fear will have a field day. Focus on the God of Heaven, the fact every blessing is available to you in the Spiritual realm, and the truth that God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17), and faith will arise. It’s beautiful.
  2. Remember what He’s done for you in the past. Your testimony is a powerhouse. You being alive today is a testimony. Revelation 12:11 tells us that part of our overcoming lies in the power of testimony. Focus on all the ways God’s come through for you in the past; let that stir your faith. As a human, I don’t know the future, but I do know the God who controls it, and His character and faithfulness have been proven and revealed to me every time He’s come through for me in the past. Every testimony is a building block of faith. As I said in my post on surviving singleness, ‘Faith looks like looking at all the previous sentences in the paragraph of your testimony—all the ways and places and areas in your life where God has already proven Himself faithful—and copy-pasting that same faithful God and His nature into the blanks of whatever it is you’re hoping for.’
  3. Remind Him of His Word and His promises. Isaiah 55:11. God says here that His word will not return to Him void: ‘It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.’ Remind God of His words to you during your prayers. Remind Him of the visions, prophecies and promises He’s given you. Watch your faith grow.
  4. Refuse to doubt. 2 Corinthians 5:7. Doubt is the enemy of faith: it is the carnal mind trying to ‘logic’ reason out of faith. When I’m praying, I often sense doubt, disguised as the weight of my hope for the thing I’m praying for, trying to creep in. I have to refute those doubts actively, at the same speed at which they come. At first, it takes conscious effort, but soon it becomes reflex-like: you spot doubt a mile off and shut it down instantly! That is what walking by faith looks like. Remember that faith is the fuel by which we, as Christians, do all things. 2 Corinthians 5:7: ‘for we walk by faith, not by sight’.

I hope this encourages you! During this month of fasting and faith-filled prayer, I am hoping that more and more Christians will have this revelation of the importance of ACTIVE faith. One of God’s love languages is faith; that’s what moves Him. Let’s walk in faith this month and beyond.

See you in March,

Imani x

Photo credit: Edwin Andrade.

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