Front Page

Theme:  Faith Church


















Faith Church

These notes explain the basis for encouraging the whole church to enter into personal prayer ministry as an expression of faith. Put in its simplest form it is how to encourage and prepare as many of the people of God as possible to become those who would pray for others, and listen to God as they do so.
•  PART ONE: The Basics about Faith
•  PART TWO: Problems to be Faced
•  PART THREE: The Learning Process
PART ONE: The Basics about Faith

1.1 Summary 

1.2 Key Verses

1.3 Introduction: Types of Faith

1.1 Summary
Starting Point ------------------- Process -------------------------- End Point
A church that talks    A people who minister to       Signs, wonders & lives

but never does the    one another & do the works     transformed as the

the works of Jesus              of Jesus.                        kingdom of God is

                                                                             expressed & expanded
Note: the end product is the kingdom expressed and expanded and God glorified.
Works of Jesus - see Lk 4:18,19 and Mt 11:5 i.e. physical, mental, spiritual heaing/deliverance.
1.2 Key Verses
John 14:12 “ whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing.”
Matt 28:19,20 “ go and make disciples of (or from) all nations…… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
1.3 Introduction: Types of Faith
In its simplest form, faith is responding to what we hear God saying
“Faith comes from hearing the word” (Rom 10:17)
Initially we ‘hear' God's word, (by reading, hearing preaching etc.) are convicted and converted.
Our believing and accepting the basic facts of our salvation, let's call ‘Basic Faith'
As we grow in Christ, we learn to let God's word guide and direct our lives and bring change to them.
We might call this ‘Character Faith' - our character changes as we conform to God's will.
e.g. we do not steal, kill, commit adultery (negatives); we do have compassion, learn patience (positives) etc.
i.e. whole areas of life are changed – attitudes towards society, relationships, money, work etc.
But then we learn that God speaks and we can hear on a daily basis, as the Holy Spirit nudges us with that quiet, still inner voice. As we respond to this we might call this ‘Response Faith'
Examples of ‘response faith' might be,
- “Go and encourage that person” or
- “Ask them how they are and offer to pray for them” or
- “Offer to pay that debt they have referred to”, etc.
Almost inevitably ‘response faith' means being God's instrument to bless others.

Return to Top




PART TWO: Problems to be Faced
There are two problems to be faced and overcome:
•  The problem of the Culture of Unbelief
•  The problem of the ‘Hard Man Mentality'
2.1 Facing Unbelief
A Culture of Unbelief
The truth is that many good Evangelical churches have been good at proclaiming the word but not so good at things they may consider more subjectively, and therefore they have accepted a culture of unbelief (yes, it is that!)
They are good with Basic and Character Faith but very weak when it comes to Response Faith, i.e. they don't like the thought of ‘hearing God' and even less like doing the same works of Jesus as seen in say Lk 4:18,19 and Matt 11:4,5 which they often tend to spiritualise, despite the fact that Jesus clearly ministered into the physical realm with all these things.
In such a culture of unbelief, in which many of us have grown up, it is almost impossible to expect to see Jesus do these things, as we see in Mk 6:5 where Jesus could hardly do anything because of the unbelief of the people. We should also note that such signs and wonders are no guarantee of belief (see Jn 12:37).
Two Classic Examples
The Man with the Shrivelled Hand
In Mk 3:1- we find Jesus going into a local synagogue where he encounters a man with a shrivelled hand. It is unlikely that the man had come with Jesus because Jesus would already have healed him and it is more likely that he was a local who regularly attended synagogue.
The main activities of the synagogue were scripture reading/teaching and prayers, and clearly not to minister to the physical needs of the people. Now see this: here we have a religious institution that weekly declares the word of God but fails to do the works of Jesus.
Jesus comes in and heals the man despite the environment of prevailing unbelief.
How many people do we have in our congregation who come with problems, difficulties, aches, pains, illnesses and infirmities, who we fail to touch as Jesus touched this man?
The demon-possessed man
In Mk 1:21 Jesus goes into the local synagogue and is confronted by a demon-possessed man. Again it is likely that he was able to be in the synagogue without upset until the Son of God appeared. When Jesus delivered him, the people were surprised by his authority. Spiritual authority was clearly absent from this place where the word of God was declared impotently week by week. In how many churches is this true today?
Steps to be taken
To overcome this culture or environment of unbelief we need to do the following:
•  Face and confess our unbelief – we have not done the works of Jesus (see Jn 14:12) and have rationalised it and remained ineffective. In some quarters where it is done, it is usually limited to the leaders and the body of Christ largely remain spectators.
•  Declare our belief – we need to positively speak out our belief and determination to go along the path that follows in these notes.
•  Start a Process of Learning – we need to recognise that we are learners and there will be a process we laid out above to bring about 'a people who minister to one another and do the works of Jesus involving signs, wonders and lives transformed as the kingdom of God is expressed and subsequently enlarged.'
In case we missed them, we should take careful note of three key words:
•  ‘start' – there has to be a beginning. Some leader has to step out in faith with these things if we are to proceed with them as a church.
•  ‘process' – it will take time, effort and perseverance; it is an ongoing thing.
•  ‘learning' – we start with little knowledge and possibly no experience but are open to the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, correct, give us wisdom, and train us as we go along.
This takes us back to the fact that in its simplest form, faith is responding to what we hear God saying.
“Faith comes from hearing the word” (Rom 10:17) and the first part of the learning process is ‘learning to listen'.
However, before we move on to the learning phase, we also need to face the second problem, that of the ‘hard man mentality' in many Christians.
2.2 The Hard Man mentality
We observe this in Jesus' parable of the talents, in the response of the third servant who said to his master, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' (Mt 25:24,25)
This is particularly prevalent in churches where there is an authoritarian or legalistic leadership where there are very high standards dictated from the front and required of any who serve in any form in the church.
It is also prevalent in individuals whose fathers were similarly authoritarian or even abusive. In both cases it is seen in a fear of imperfect achievement i.e. perfectionism. The fear of failure, or of ‘getting it wrong', kills faith.
The individual from these situations:
•  cannot believe that Almighty God might speak to them – and they might actually hear Him and get it right;
•  fears that if they get it wrong, God will at the best scold them and, at the worst, painfully discipline them.
The person who has grown up in a loving and secure home, and who has experienced good parenting, knows that:
•  the parent knows a child only develops and learns in slow stages and
•  is still loved while they are clearly still ‘early-learners' and
•  are not rebuked when they are learning imperfectly and
•  will grow as their repeat their attempts and improve on them, and
•  their parents are completely for them, rooting for their success,
   delighting in them when they take their first tentative steps.
If this is good parenting (and it is!) then our loving, heavenly Father is so much more accepting of our faltering steps and pleased when we make them.
For many, the thought of stepping out in faith is a fearful prospect instead of a delightful adventure that can bless the Father's heart. Constant encouragement may need to be given.
None of this should be taken to imply that God will turn a blind eye to blatant sin and therefore the believer who desires to learn to be used of God in these ways, will constantly allow the Spirit to check them out and highlight needs for change. The Lord is always there, waiting to forgive when there is repentance and empower changes of behaviour when that is needed.


  Return to Top




PART THREE: The Learning Process

3.1 Proactive Response Faith
3.2 Learning to Listen
3.3 Types of Need
3.4 Does Jesus want to heal TODAY?
3.5 The Benefits of Listening Prayer
3.6 Characteristics of the Learning Process
3.7 The Fruits of the Faith-Ministry Process

3.1 Proactive Response Faith


Now sometimes in church life there are opportunities to put ourselves in a position where we need ‘response faith' i.e. we put ourselves in a position where we need to hear God before we respond and act.


For example, we KNOW the following:

•  God loves to bless his children, especially when they are in need.

•  He delights in bringing blessing through us when we pray


THUS we can create a situation where this can come about, in that

•  The leader invites people with needs to come forward for prayer

•  Others then pray over those people.


Note: There are a number of ways we can administer corporate prayer

  • a general invitation for anyone to come to the front to receive prayer
  • an invitation to a specific age group etc. to come forward for prayer
  • the invitation to be general - just to receive the blessing of God
  • the invitation to be specific for healing
  • the invitation for anyone with problems at home / school / college/ work
  • etc.


3.2 Learning to Listen


Clearly, to be people of faith, we need to be those who ‘hear' God.

This reveals a need – to learn to listen.


Whereas Basic & Character Faith come from hearing which may involve reading the Word, hearing preaching, listening to prophecy, listening within prayer, and catching that small inner voice, Response Faith arises almost invariably from the latter method – catching the small inner voice.


Can we make ourselves more sensitive to His voice? Yes, by learning to wait upon him and by learning to tune our spirit more to His.


Waiting on God

This may occur:

•  when we are on our own, or

•  when we are in the process of ministering to another.


It involves:

•  us stilling our mind and our spirit and focusing on Him and

•  putting aside our desires and our agenda.  


Learning to tune our spirit to His

We can do this as we wait on Him by:

•  Giving over all worries and anxieties to Him from the outset and leaving them with Him, i.e. clearing our minds so we are available to Him without distraction. 

•  Declaring to him our availability and submission 

•  Worshipping Him

•  Reading and declaring the truths of His word

•  Being still in mid and spirit

•  Allowing the Lord us use our imagination

•  To stir pictures of His greatness

•  To bring pictures of what Jesus is feeling about those we pray for


His will not mine 

So often in prayer we have a problem before us and so we tell God what we want Him to do

A better approach is to wait upon Him and sense His presence and His heart before we ask anything.


‘God-focused' not ‘needs focused'

When we are praying over people it is better to:

•  Put aside the obvious need,

•  Sense and then share what you feel the Lord feels about them, i.e. minister to their identity before ministering to their need, so they are first of all built up,

•  Ask the Lord silently for a picture for them – pictures so often convey so much more and tend to touch the spirit as well as the mind.


God's characteristics expressed

When we are praying for people remember the Lord's characteristics which He will never act against:

•  He IS love (1 Jn 4:8,16) so everything He expresses and says will be an expression of love (If you are to truly represent Him to the best of your ability, make sure you are filled with His love for them).

•  He is gentle and compassionate and desires the redemption of this person in every way possible. He will never write them off but always seek their restoration and maybe reconciliation if they are away from Him.

•  He is always forgiving when a person comes in humility and repentance, but do not assume this person's problems are a result of their sin – they may be but maybe not.

•  Because He is compassionate and understanding, He knows that often people need to come back into a place where they receive His love and goodness before they can feel secure enough to confess and acknowledge their failures. Bless first and allow them to respond, and you may hear the words of repentance, which you can then affirm with 1 John 1:9 understanding.


3.3 Types of Need


The needs to be addressed in prayer may be:

•  About the individual's self-worth, may even be a crisis of faith where they need reassuring

•  About a relational problem, e.g. trouble at home that needs wisdom and reassurance

•  A health issue, a need for healing

•  A deliverance issue to set free from oppression (influence) or possession (control)


3.4 Does Jesus want to heal TODAY?


The question has to be asked in the light of the assertions we have made in 2.1 above about unbelief.


Much of the time Jesus spent healing people and indeed, people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” (Mt 4:24)


If that wasn't clear enough, “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” (Mt 8:16)


If we have given away to that ‘culture of unbelief' in 2.1 above we have ignored or rejected the key verses in 1.2 above and we need to repent for doing that and look again at the things in these pages.


3.5 The Benefits of Listening Prayer


The benefit of listening prayer is that:

•  God may want to bless the individual in respect of their identity

e.g. remind them how much He loves them and accepts them

•  He may then want us to pray in specific ways – so often He prefers us to be specific so we see specific answers

•  Within both of these He may use ‘pictures' that come to mind to either show what He feels about them or what is the root problem to be addressed.

•  We may receive direction as to how we pray, e.g. we may ask for something, i.e. a petition, or the Holy Spirit may instruct us to ‘command' a healing or a release.

•  Listening Prayer slows down the process and allows you to calmly minister, being able to be more observant / more considerate

•  The character of God – love and goodness especially – is more likely to be expressed than if we simply dash in and utter words.

•  Where two or more are listening in prayer, when one is actually praying out loud, it gives the other(s) the opportunity to catch further direction, for in so doing, the will of God can be revealed 


It IS important that the person being prayed for feel loved and respected and cared for in the process.


3.6 Characteristics of the Learning Process


In 2.2 above we considered the way a good parent thinks of their child in their early learning years, and we apply some of those things here to help understand how we may go about developing and maturing in ministry:

•  the child only develops and learns in slow stages and

•  is not rebuked when they are learning imperfectly

•  the child learns by repeating their efforts and improving on them as they grow

Thus when we start off encouraging people to step out in personal ministry, praying for one another, we may:

•  seek to encourage them to step out

•  guide them how to listen

•  encourage them to bring what they think they are hearing

•  encourage them to check what the person they have prayed for feels and if necessary wait and pray again.


If we are mentoring such a group we need to recognise that:

•  some will find it difficult initially to ‘hear' anything from the Lord

•  some will hear only a little

•  some may receive pictures that will need interpreting


and they may thus need our input to:

•  keep listening with possible further helps from us

•  rejoice in the little and perhaps listen for more

•  ask what such a picture suggests and listen again to build on it.


Our loving heavenly Father will always be there encouraging us. He wants us to learn, He wants us to develop, He wants us to improve in the way we minister to one another.


3.7 The Fruits of the Faith-Ministry Process


From Inactivity into Action

•  We are providing an opportunity for the body of Christ to wake up and become the active body that Jesus had, doing his Father's will, while on earth.

•  It enables every person to respond in faith and grow in spiritual maturity.


Learning means gradual change
•  Gradual change means lessening the chance of failure (and fear)
•  Change produces a sense of achievement and fulfilment in the believer
•  Learning takes away the pressure of having to achieve ‘now!'
•  Learning means if we get it wrong. It's not the end.

Availability means the Body is Blessed

•  As the believer learns to step out in faith in prayer ministry, that means an additional resource to bless other believers.

•  As other believers are blessed, healed, restored etc. it means they are more likely to also become available and part of the active Body rather than the passive Body.
Availability means the World Blessed
•  So much of Jesus' ministry was to those who were not yet believers
•  As he blessed them with healing, deliverance etc. so often they became believers
•  Much of his ministry was simply accepting and loving the unbeliever until they became a believer – e.g. Samaritan woman and Zacchaeus – as they came to realise who he was.
•  As we love, accept and minister to others so they too will come to a a similar realisation.
•  This is not a guarantee, but it does provide an open door that reveals love and security which can encourage the unbeliever to pass through to receive salvation.
Availability means fulfilment of God's word
•  It is clear from the verses we have used in these pages, that an alive and active body of Christ (the Church) is God's will.
•  As we start to learn how to listen and respond to the Spirit, we will thus show our obedience and will glorify the Lord.


Concluding Summary

Unfocused prayer results in unfocused answers

i.e. we don't know if God has answered.

Focused Prayer (i.e. with the will of God) comes

a) as we wait on God (focusing on Him)

b) as we listen to the moving & directing of the Holy Spirit as we prayer.

FOCUS releases FAITH which in turn releases the WILL OF GOD.

When God's will is declared, He then acts.

May it be so.