In the previous blog, we looked at 4 types of faith and saw that what we call “faith” is not necessarily true faith. The 4 types of faith were (1) unfounded opinions and beliefs, (2) a general suspicion or hope, (3) saving faith, and (4) mustard seed faith. In this blog, we want to look at how mustard seed faith will change our prayer life.

In Mt. 6, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray: v5, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they pray so that people can see them. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and pray to your Father who is unseen. And your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” The first characteristic of true prayer is that it takes place in secret – it is between the one praying and the Father. There is no desire for public recognition when a prayer is answered.

In 6:7, Jesus reveals the second characteristic: “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” We have all endured the long-winded speakers who just can’t get to “amen”; the performers who want to take us on a spiritual power tour with their clever images and analogies, impressive vocabulary, mini sermons, invitations to surrender, deafening volumes, waving arms and statements of great faith and power. According to Jesus, it is simply a waste of breath, time, and energy.

The third characteristic in v8 is the reason for this, “… for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” What an anti-climax – to think we expend all this energy to spur God into action! What is the purpose of prayer? Well, unity with God, spiritual community, harmonizing my desires and thoughts with God’s, as well as spiritual growth, to name a few. You see, people who have mustard seed faith, or faith without doubt, do not pray to convince God, they pray to synchronize their own will with God’s; to discern God’s will in matters and then to think, feel, and act in unity with Him. That’s how Jesus prayed in Joh. 11:41, 42 “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing here I said this, so that they may believe that You sent Me.

And this brings us to the fourth characteristic that I want to mention; mustard seed faith prayers are dominated by the words, “thank you.” Faith without doubt is convinced that God already knows, has already heard, and has been working powerfully for a long time; hence Jesus’ “Father, I thank You…” That’s also what Jesus meant in Mk, 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Paul encourages us to do the same in Phil. 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Mustard seed faith prayer doesn’t whine, strive or grind; instead it says, “Father, I thank you for working already.”  


May God bless you richly.

Dr. Jurie Vermeulen

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