Prayer in Absence of Faith
By Dr. D. Wayne Beeks | January 18, 2018
I read an article today in the Christian Headlines saying that a recent survey conducted in the UK determined that 1 in 5 non-believers pray in times of crisis. The reason given by some non-believers for why, if they didn’t believe, they would pray at all, was mostly a position of “just in case.” While this survey result makes for interesting news, it’s not a new discovery at all. We all have heard of the saying “there are no atheists in a fox hole.” Over the years there have been many studies and surveys completed to determine if atheists and non-believers turn to prayer and Jesus Christ during times of crisis, with similar findings. Does such a non-believer have any true faith at all, and for what then is the value of such a prayer in absence of faith?
“But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)
A better study would be to find the number of those that had turned to prayer during crisis, and had remained in their following and acceptance of Jesus Christ after the crisis had passed.
In Proverbs it is written:
“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
In this verse, the dog, has vomited and removed something of a foul nature from within, separating from itself that which is foul or vile, but then only to later return to the vomit and eat it. In 2 Peter 2:22, Peter wrote of how the false prophets and teachers of the time, would after some time had passed, like the dog, return to the sinful nature and foulness they had tried to separate themselves from.
“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22)
The sow had been washed clean of its dirtiness and filth, but will return to wallowing in the mud, and would again be unclean. So it is with the unbelieving and unrepentant man. In times of crisis he may try to rid himself of the sinful content of his soul, and of his unclean nature as the dog and the swine had done. But if the man is not truly repentant, and has not had undergone the change of heart, he will return to his former self; sinful and unclean.
“I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
You may come to pray in times of crisis, saying to others you are repentant, a believer, filled with faith and a follower of Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ knows your heart and He shall not be deceived. It is written a man shall reap what he sows; a sinner shall reap according to his deeds. This is also the case when man accepts, and sows his faith and spirituality in Jesus Christ. While a man may deceive others of his new planted spirituality, change, and acceptance of Jesus Christ, the Lord cannot be deceived.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
So, truly it’s not so much the measure of how many men will pray and turn to Jesus Christ in times of crisis that is important or newsworthy, but instead, it’s how many men will come in faith and continue to humble themselves, repenting of their sin, and going through the resulting internal change of heart and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior after the crisis has passed. Sadly, I expect these numbers will likely be far less than those seeking Jesus Christ’s mercy and healing only in times of crisis.
Let all of us welcome, and accept Jesus Christ into our lives as our Lord and savior, praying to Him during all times, day and night, good times and bad, proclaiming His glory and giving thanks for all He has done, and will continue to do for us; forever and ever.