I've been reading lately about great men of faith throughout history, and I've come to the realization of just how important these men were in leading others to Christ and shaping the Church, because after 85 AD there were no Disciples left who had walked closely with Jesus throughout His ministry.
Great men of faith who took the gospel that was shared to them and spread this love throughout a world where there was literally no one left who had walked close enough to Jesus to touch His garment. Important men like: Martin Luther, John Newton author of Amazing Grace, Horatio Sprafford author of It Is Well,
William Seymour of the Azusa Street Revival, Karl Barth, and Billy Graham.
One of my favorite men of faith in history was evangelist Smith Wigglesworth, a strong man of faith who taught in the early 1900's. And one of my favorite stories of him:
"I'll only pray for you once, to pray twice is unbelief," Smith Wigglesworth, when praying for the sick.
The second night, a man approached the altar for prayer, Wigglesworth recognized him,
"Didn't I pray for you last night? You are full of unbelief, please leave the altar."
I think if Wigglesworth were around today and said that to someone, they would probably get offended.
Sometimes we have a tendency to place the word if in an improper place when making our requests known to God; we call that unbelief.
Charles Spurgeon, in reference to Mark 9:23, and our struggle with unbelief:
"A certain man had a demoniac son, who was afflicted with a dumb spirit. The father, having seen the futility of the endeavours of the disciples to heal his child, had little or no faith in Christ, and therefore, when he was bidden to bring his son to him, he said to Jesus, "If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." Now there was an "if" in the question, but the poor trembling father had put the "if" in the wrong place: Jesus Christ, therefore, without commanding him to retract the "if," kindly puts it in its legitimate position. "Nay, verily," he seemed to say, "there should be no if' about my power, nor concerning my willingness, the if' lies somewhere else." "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." The man's trust was strengthened, he offered a humble prayer for an increase of faith, and instantly Jesus spoke the word, and the devil was cast out, with an injunction never to return. There is a lesson here which we need to learn. We, like this man, often see that there is an "if" somewhere, but we are perpetually blundering by putting it in the wrong place. "If" Jesus can help me--"if" he can give me grace to overcome temptation--"if" he can give me pardon--"if" he can make me successful? Nay, "if" you can believe, he both can and will. You have misplaced your "if." If you can confidently trust, even as all things are possible to Christ, so shall all things be possible to you. Faith standeth in God's power, and is robed in God's majesty; it weareth the royal apparel, and rideth on the King's horse, for it is the grace which the King delighteth to honour. Girding itself with the glorious might of the all-working Spirit, it becomes, in the omnipotence of God, mighty to do, to dare, and to suffer. All things, without limit, are possible to him that believeth. My soul, canst thou believe thy Lord tonight?"
A wise preacher once told me, "Pray the answer, not the problem." For within that prayer of boldness you won't find the word if.
If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on www.biblegateway.com for more of God's encouraging Word. They also give you access to daily devotionals like the one I just shared with you from Charles Spurgeon.