A comedian recently issued this tongue in cheek summary of prayer. He recalled his experiences as he prayed to a well-known actor, one whom he admired because of the tough-guy roles he played. After a few months, he noticed that the percentage of prayers that were answered by this actor were about the same as the percentage when he used to pray to God-about 50% of the time. The same outcome occurred when he prayed to an inanimate object, like the moon or sun. His conclusion, pray to anyone or anything that makes you happy because, in the end, it doesn’t matter what is the object of your faith.
If one’s definition of faith is based upon how prayers are answered, then all one has done is create a straw man, easily knocked over and debunked. God is not a cosmic bellhop, only existing to grant our wishes, and faith is not measured by the percentage of how many times prayers are answered, but if not, then what is faith?
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV)
God very clearly gives us the definition of faith. It is far more complex and beautiful than keeping a tally of how many times prayers are answered.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
Hebrews 11:13 (ESV)
If even the great saints of the Bible died without receiving the things they prayed for and were promised by God, it should give us all pause to consider what faith really means. Faith is not limited to what we experience only in this lifetime, it is for eternity. It was from this different perspective that the great saints were able to persevere in their faith in God. It was this greater vision that they were able to endure suffering, torture, and even martyrdom to receive the promises of God. They were assured that this life was simply a preparation for an eternity of everlasting fellowship with a loving and merciful God.
This is true faith and this is why it matters that we place it in a living God, Jesus Christ, who grants salvation and eternal life to all who confess and repent of their sins and confess Him as their Lord and Savior.
The only true faith is to believe in Jesus Christ, 100% of the time.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.