Pray with Expectancy
The first-century Christians were people just like us. They were flawed. Yes, they prayed fervently. Yes, they prayed together. But they also prayed with an element of doubt.
This comes out clearly in Acts 12 as they prayed for Peter, who had been thrown into prison by King Herod. Herod had just executed James. No doubt they feared that Peter would be next. So while Peter was in prison, "constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church" (verse 5).
Then something amazing happened. God sent an angel to Peter in his cell. His chains fell off, the door opened, and the angel led him out of the prison. Then Peter went to the house where the believers were praying and knocked on the door. The stunned servant who answered it left Peter standing there as she ran to tell everyone. But they refused to believe her.
God could get Peter out of a prison, but Peter couldn’t get himself into a prayer meeting. The very answer to their prayer was standing at the door, and they did not believe.
But even though their prayer was weakened, it still was mightier than Herod and mightier than Hell. Clearly there is a place for faith in our prayers. And no doubt, on many occasions, our prayers have been hindered because we didn’t pray with any faith whatsoever.
Having said that, I certainly don’t agree with the so-called Word-Faith teachers who would tell us faith is a force that must be harnessed and that we speak things into existence. Rather, Jesus taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
There is a place for faith. And even if your faith is weak, come with as much faith as you have.