LIVING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Meaning of faith
(Colossians 3:23, James 2:14 - 18)
- Faith is strong belief. It is complete trust or confidence in something or somebody. It is believing/trusting in things that cannot be seen.
- Christians believe that there is a God although we have never seen Him. Through great things that He does like providing us with rain and life, and in His wonderful creation we trust that there is a God.
- In James 2:14-18, we are told that faith alone without action is useless.
- We should help those in need by doing things for them such as feeding them, washing their houses, giving them money to buy medicine and other such deeds.
- By doing this we are pleasing God. This is faith in action: while believing God can help the needy, we also do what we can to help them.
Faith in daily action
(Romans 12:1- 2, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8 - 12)
In the Old Testament we read of many people who lived by faith, for example, Abraham was told to leave his land and go to a new, unknown place. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was told that she would have a child though she was past the childbearing age. They both believed God.
- As Christians we should also have strong faith and belief in things that others may think are impossible.
- We should live each day believing that God will provide for our every need.
- Faith and prayer go hand in hand. We should ask God for what we need, and believe that if it is in accordance with His will, we shall receive whatever we ask for
- God says that what is impossible to man is possible to Him.
What does faith entail?
- Accepting that Jesus is the holy Son of God (Mark 1:24).
- Having knowledge of salvation and believing in the good news about Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17).
- Receiving and believing in Jesus as one’s Saviour (John 1:12).
- Believing that what God has promised to do, He is willing and able do
(Matthew 6:16 - 18)
This is eating little or no food for a period of time for religious reasons. Christians fast in order to seek after God’s will and favour in an issue we feel is important to us.
- Christians fast in different ways. Some may miss a meal, fast for a day or fast for a number of days depending on their need. Muslims fast for one month to dedicate themselves to Allah.
- In (Matthew 6:16-18,) Jesus tells us that when we are fasting we should be clean and tidy so that other people may not know that we are fasting.
- When fasting only God should know that we are dedicating ourselves to Him through prayer, and He will reward us for doing so in private.
When can a Christian fast?
We can fast whenever we have any need in our lives such as:
1. When praying for a sick person.
2. When asking for peace with our friends, neighbours and other relatives.
3. When asking for protection.
4. When looking for a school.
5. When we feel we need to be closer to God.
(John 17:21, Acts 3:1, Luke 18:9 - 14, Matthew 6:9 - 13)
Prayer is talking to God. It could be a solemn request or expression of thanks to God or simply sharing one’s problems with Him. The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, offers a model of how we can pray. It praises God, seeks forgiveness for wrongs done, expresses thanks and carries our requests.
- God tells us to state specifically what we need when we pray.
- (In Matthew 6:9-13, )Jesus tells us to pray secretly to God.
- God is our Father; He knows our needs so we need not shout just so that others can hear us.
- We should not be like the Pharisee who went to the church and shouted about what he had done for God. This is showing off.
- We should instead be like the tax collector who went and said prayers secretly, asking God to forgive him of his sins.
- Jesus tells us to humble ourselves before God and we will be exalted.
- As we pray, we should believe and trust that God will provide for us.
Why do we pray?
We pray to tell of our misdeeds. We admit our mistakes and humbly ask for forgiveness from God. This is confession.
We pray to our God to give thanks for answering our requests and even those of others. This is thanksgiving.
1 Samuel 1 and 2:1-21, 26 tell of the birth of Samuel. Hannah prayed for a son and the priest Eli blessed her request. When Samuel was born, She remembered to give thanks to the Lord and honour her Promise: Samuel was dedicated to the Lord’s service.
We should always pray for ourselves through Jesus Christ. This is referred to as petition. We should pray to God to help us in our personal needs. • We are told that whatever we ask for in the name of Jesus, it will be granted if we ask for the right reasons.
As Christians we have people living in our midst who have different needs, for example, we could have people who have been displaced because of ethnic clashes. We should pray to God on their behalf. This is intercession. • Most times, pastors or priests pray on our behalf.
To praise God is to express honour, respect and gratitude to Him. • We should treat His name with respect and glorify Him.
Private and public prayer
(Luke 5:15, Acts 2:40 - 42)
- Private prayers are individual prayers.
- They can be said at any time and any place.
- In such prayers, a person can pray quietly without speaking out loud.
- People seek for God to help them in their personal issues.
- These are offered when people congregate in groups.
- Such prayers can be offered in church or at school during assembly.
- Christians also pray with their friends, neighbours and other faithful.
- Public prayers can be offered during Sunday worship, wedding ceremonies or during funeral services.
- The prayers are said out loud.
- In Acts 2:40-42, we are told to take part in fellowship and share in the fellowship meals and prayers.
Answers to prayer
- God is always aware of our needs and situations before we ask Him for anything. We should always ask that it might be given to us according to His will.
- When we pray, God can answer our prayers with a ‘yes’ immediately. In other cases, God delays in answering our prayers. So we are told to pray and wait for answers.
- God can also say no to our prayers.
- Whatever His answer, it will always be for our good.
- God always keeps His promises. For example, He promised the Israelites during prophet Isaiah’s time that He would send a Saviour, and He did send one: Jesus Christ.
- A magician uses evil powers to manipulate certain situations in people’s lives.
- Magicians use magic for selfish gains.
- Sometimes these magical acts bring suffering and punishment to the magician’s enemies.
- In Acts 8:9-24, we read about Simon of Samaria who was a magician and used to perform magical acts in exchange for money.
- When Peter prayed to God for Christians to receive the Holy Spirit, Simon offered money to Peter and John to buy that power so that he could also lay hands on people and make them receive the Holy Spirit.
- Peter rebuked him because receiving the Holy Spirit is a gift from God and cannot be bought.
Difference between prayer and Magic
One appeals to God’s power.
Uses human power and is influenced by evil spirits.
Prayers are free of charge
Some fee/money is charged.
Brings peace, happiness, forgiveness, unity and joy.
Brings disunity, enmity and instils fear.
Brings us closer to God and causes us to be humble.
Makes people turn away from God.