The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5
When our faith is insufficient, we must ask for what we lack. We must, like the father of the boy who was possessed, cry out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). And yet, the request for more faith is not enough. Whoever wishes to pray for more faith must let his soul be made ready for it. He must turn aside from anything that interferes with the power of faith. He must compose himself, gather his thoughts, his spirit, and all his faculties. He must also be united in spirit with his own people and must not be inwardly ravaged and torn. Then the prayer that faith may come will be effective. Faith will be given from above and will find a doorway by which it can enter the heart.
In this passage the disciples had been given power to drive out unclean spirits, heal the sick, and perform many deeds in the name of the Lord. They needed gifts in order to do this, and although they had accomplished many things, there were times and moments when they lacked these gifts – that is, they were not sure that something would really happen when they called on the name of Jesus. For this reason they asked the Lord, “Increase our faith so that we will have the power we need when we speak in your name.”
How do we apply this to ourselves? May we also pray for more faith? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The main thing is that when we pray for more faith, we should never do so simply for ourselves. When we pray for more faith, we are asking for something greater to be given to the church. That is our obligation and duty: “Increase the faith of the church, of the people of God, and especially of your servants, so they may again experience genuine apostolic faith!” This should be our prayer.
It is tragic that so few people in the church dare anything in faith, and when they do, they ask for so little. That is why so little happens that brings glory to the name of Jesus. Unless we have faith, everything is useless. We desperately need our hearts to be struck again because we need faith more than ever. Though we must leave it to the Lord to whom he gives this faith, our concern must be that miracles again take place in the church. For herein lies hidden the glory and power of Christ. So let us pray for more faith, but let us not pray only for ourselves.
Johann Christoph Blumhardt