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Gramps,

In James 1:5-6 it reads,

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally , and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Can you pray for faith? Or at least help in that department? How would you go about it if you are supposed to have faith in the first place? How, exactly, do you know if you really have true faith? Aren’t you supposed to be able to talk with God?

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Wavering

 

Answer

 

Dear Wavering,

Faith, being an abstract subject but a practical principle, may be a little difficult to define, particularly as it has several levels of meaning and different applications, but it is not difficult to understand. First perhaps we should differentiate between faith and belief. Belief is merely an intellectual assent to something and implies no action on the part of the believer. Faith, going beyond belief, however, is a principle of action, where the belief is so strong that it impels commitment to principle and the obligation to act upon it. Faith, therefore, is a principle of action. As an example, it is a rather universal belief that if you plant a seed it will grow. That belief does convert the believer into a farmer. No one with that belief is obligated to go out and plant a field of wheat. The farmer, however, plants the wheat BECAUSE he has faith that it will grow. If he did not have that faith-that perfect confidence of belief–he would never put a seed in the ground.

Our interest, however, is in a particular direction or object of faith-faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. This faith is the perfect confidence that He is the Savior of the world and the Redeemer of mankind; that His great atoning sacrifice, with its incomprehensible power, brings about the resurrection of every soul born into mortality; that He literally suffered the pains of all men, sufficient to satisfy the demands of justice for retribution of every evil act that has ever been committed by all of our Father’s children, such that if all mankind were to thoroughly and completely repent and accept the fact that He had really suffered to that extent in their behalf the Father would freely forgive them of all their sins, as though they had not been committed. This is the faith which we aspire to achieve.

It is interesting to note that this great faith is actually a gift from God. It is given, however, only to those who qualify to receive it. The Father is anxious to bless us with every good gift, but all gifts are given to those worthy to receive them, and most are withheld until we at least ask for them.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(Ephesians 2:8-9)

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good gifts, through the Holy Spirit, to them who ask him. (Luke 11:14–Joseph Smith Translation)

So, it is proper to pray for the gift of faith. But faith is normally granted a little at a time. Actually, it is increased by the practice of it, just as muscles are strengthened by exercising. I would suggest that you may want to study Alma Chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon for the great lessons Alma teaches on how faith is acquired.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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