Should we have faith to believe or faith to receive?

Question: “Some of God’s promises are past tense, already completed, and some are future tense.  Should we then pray with faith to believe or faith to receive?”

Bible Answers

The Bible contains over 3,000 promises.  Some are past tense such as:


But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5).

He took our illnesses and bore our diseases (Matthew 8:17).

These verses clearly have been completed, while the following are examples of verses that can occur in the future when we apply action.

… they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:18).

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up (James 5:15).

So when we pray, should we be thanking God for what He has already done and claiming we already have our answer or do we keep praying that we will receive what God has promised us?

Lets look at the prayer of salvation for an answer.  No one doubts that Christ has already paid for our salvation 2,000 years ago on the cross.  Well, if He already paid for all mankind's salvation, then why isn’t everyone saved? No matter how strongly a person’s faith and belief that Jesus died for their sins, it will not save them until they actually take the action of receiving what Jesus did for them.

Notice what Luke and Mark tell us.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you” (Luke 18:42).  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).

James tells us that faith without action is useless.  You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless (James 2:20)?

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did (James 2:22).

Believing to receive is putting faith into action.

Maybe answered prayer is not so much faith to believe we will receive sometime, but faith to receive now in a similar way to when we received salvation.

The question then is, how do we get the level of faith needed to receive our healing or what we have prayed about?  Apparently it takes a higher level of faith and action to receive than it does to just sit back and believe that someday God will answer our prayer.

Like salvation, we need both, faith to believe in God and His Word and faith with action to receive.

Next Section - How do prayer and fasting work together?

Praying Hands with A Bible, praying

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