What Activates Faith in the Power of the Gospel? :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

What Activates Faith in the Power of the Gospel?

Forrest McPhail
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People who are confident in the power of the Gospel will proclaim it. They will be burdened for the Gospel to spread to the world. But experience teaches us that our confidence in the power of the Gospel wanes at times. Fear of man, timidity, and apathy may hinder us. These attitudes are rooted in a lack of faith in the power of the Gospel to save sinners—not in creed, but in conviction. Weak faith cannot sustain a passion to make disciples.

How can it be that born-again Christians, having experienced the saving power of redemption, lack faith in that same power to save others? Lack of faith in the Gospel’s power comes to take root in our hearts for various reasons:

1) We fail to see visible fruit from evangelism that meets our expectations.

2) We experience apathy, aggressive resistance, or even persecution from those we seek to reach.

3) We see some who profess Christ fall away.

These and other disappointments affect our motivation to keep witnessing for Christ in hope. We need a simple starting point for recovery of lost active faith in the power of the Gospel—prayer!

Prayer for the harvest reminds us of the truths of the Gospel, of God’s saving purposes, of His love and power, of His grace and mercy, and of His sovereignty. It recalibrates our hearts to match God’s heart. Jesus commanded His disciples to pray for the spiritual harvest and for laborers to enter that harvest (Matthew 9:36-38).

Prayer for unbelieving friends and loved ones reminds us of God’s purpose to use us to bring some around us to Himself (see the Great Commission passages). Intercession keeps the flame of the burden for eternal souls lit in our hearts (Jude 22-23).

Prayer for the lost reminds us about the spiritual war all around us, what is at stake when we proclaim Christ. It reminds us we are soldiers and that our Commander intends to enable us to bring Him glory (Ephesians 6:10-20).

In John 15, Jesus gives us the permission to pray in faith, asking for fruit in the gospel advance. Jesus reminds us of the expectation of fruitfulness if we pray in His name. We must lay such Scriptures before God, reinforcing our faith and hope in the power of the Gospel.

Prayer for souls evidences our longing for God’s glory to be seen through new worshipers transformed by the power of His grace (2 Corinthians 4:15). Prayer is used by God to sustain the flame of faith in the power of the Gospel.

Following his profound explanation of our riches in Christ, God’s lavish grace towards us, and our oneness in Christ, Paul wrote of our stewardship of the message of God’s revealed mystery, the Gospel, in Ephesians 3. He says this of our access to God in prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord:

“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (v. 12).

And after showing us our need to pray for spiritual strengthening in Christ, Paul says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (vv. 20-21). [All Scripture references in this article are taken from the ESV.]

Praying Christians will maintain faith in the power of the Gospel, for prayer will embolden them. They will be expectant as they are reminded that gospel proclamation is all about God and His purposes. Their confidence will be in God, not their own efforts. They will see God at work in and through them for His glory.

This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2022 issue of Sowing & Reaping. Contact GFA to subscribe to this biannual publication.