The sixth suggestion is a familiar one, and yet one much misunderstood. Prayer must be in faith. But please note that faith here is not believing that God can, but that He will. It is kneeling and making the prayer, and then saying, "Father, I thank Thee for this; that it will be so, I thank Thee." Then rising and going about your duties, saying, "that thing is settled." Going again and again, and repeating the prayer with the thanks, and then saying as you go off, "that matter is assured." Not going repeatedly to persuade God. But because prayer is the deciding factor in a spirit conflict and each prayer is like a fresh blow between the eyes of the enemy, a fresh broadside from your fleet upon the fort.
"Well," some one will say, "now you are getting that keyed up rather high. Can we all have faith like that? Can a man make himself believe?" There should be no unnatural mechanical insisting that you do believe. Some earnest people make a mistake there. And we will not all have faith like that. That is quite true, and I can easily tell you why. The faith that believes that God will do what you ask is not born in a hurry; it is not born in the dust of the street, and the noise of the crowd. But I can tell where that faith will have a birthplace and keep growing stronger: in every heart that takes quiet time off habitually with God, and listens to His voice in His word. Into that heart will come a simple strong faith that the thing it is led to ask shall be accomplished.
That faith has four simple characteristics. It is intelligent. It finds out what God's will is. Faith is never contrary to reason. Sometimes it is a bit higher up; the reasoning process has not yet reached up to it. Second, it is obedient. It fits its life into God's will. There is apt to be a stiff rub here all the time. Then it is expectant. It looks out for the result. It bows down upon the earth, but sends a man to keep an eye on the sea. And then it is persistent. It hangs on. It says, "Go again seven times; seventy times seven." It reasons that having learned God's will, and knowing that He does not change, the delay must be caused by the third person, the enemy, and that stubborn persistence in the Victor's name routs him, and leaves a clear field.