3 Steps to a Stronger Faith
Praying, Studying, and Serving Your Way to a Stronger Faith in Christ
Faith in God is key to overcoming challenging times in our lives as Christians. We all face the struggles of being negatively influenced by those in the world, trying to stay positive during difficulties at work, or even avoiding being discouraged by other Christians who have poor attitudes. How can we overcome these various obstacles in our walk with Christ? The answer is faith.
What is faith? Faith, according to the Hebrews writer, is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Even though we cannot see Jesus with our eyes, touch Him, or hear Him speak, we can know that He is there.
John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
It is this confidence in the presence of God and of His Christ that will assist us in overcoming the trials that we face in this life; however, not everyone has the same level of faith because not everyone has taken and continue to take the proper steps needed to help their faith to grow. What are those steps and how can you begin your journey to a stronger faith? It is my conviction that if you try to devote daily time to prayer, studying the Bible, and serving others then you will see your faith grow almost instantly. Prayer and study allow us to communicate with God while putting into place what we learn in serving others. Below are some steps to take that will help you put into practice these three necessary things to help your faith grow.
It is my opinion that prayer is the most important of these three steps. This isn’t because studying the Bible is not equally necessary or that we should avoid serving others. Instead, I believe prayer is the most important step because it is the most neglected. A lot of Christians that I know will try to pray before meals and maybe before bed, but it seems that, at least in my life, Christians spend less time praying than they should. Prayer can help with anxiety, depression, and it can help give you the faith that you need to live the best life that you can. Read the following verses, and then you can read some tips to enhancing your prayer life.
1 Samuel 30:6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
2 Chronicles 33:12-13 Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, (13) and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
TIPS TO ENHANCING YOUR PRAYER LIFE
- Schedule. The prophet Daniel always made it a point to pray three times a day (Daniel 6:10). It would be wise to follow his example by setting apart certain times each day to pray. It doesn’t have to be three; it can be more or less, but setting times to pray is definitely helpful in developing a lifestyle of prayer.
- Find a friend to pray with. This can be a spouse, friend, or family member, but if you have someone to encourage you to pray and keep you accountable, then the motivation will be helpful in developing the habit of praying daily.
- Use your phone. If you have a tough time remembering when to pray, set alerts on your phone throughout the day to remind you to pray.
- Quality over time. Don’t pray for time, pray for quality. Your prayer may seem short to you, but it is not the time that counts; if your prayer is sincere, you will be able to see your faith being strengthened in your life.
- Make a list. It’s not wrong to write down what you would like to say in your prayer. If you want to write down a list of names to pray for or maybe something happens during the day and you want to pray about it, write it down!
Prayer is how we communicate our thoughts to God, but God communicates to us through His word. When we read the Bible, we read the mind of God. The answers to problems in this life can be found within scripture. If you want to have a stronger love for the word of God, I would encourage you to take the time to read Psalm 119. Yes, it is the longest chapter in the Bible, but is also a chapter dedicated to expressing appreciation for the word of God. How does studying the Bible strengthen our faith? Read what Paul said below.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
If faith comes through the word of God, then it must be the case that the more we study the more faith we will have. Some dedicate their time to prayer without studying the word. Some study all day without ever praying. It takes both study and prayer to be balanced and to have our faith grow. Read the verses below and then feel free to read some tips to enhance your study habits.
Psalms 119:25-28 My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. (26) I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes. (27) Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. (28) My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
TIPS TO ENHANCING YOUR STUDY HABITS
- Schedule. Set a specific time of the day to study. It can be in the morning or at night, but try to study some every day.
- Diversify your subject matter. It can be very easy to study only one subject every day (Believe me! I know!), but a strong faith that produces good servitude will not come through focusing on one specific subject. Try to diversify your subject matter by dedicating different days to different subjects.
- Follow a reading plan. There are many plans that allow you to read the Bible through in a year, the New Testament in one month, and other combinations. While these plans are good, do not be satisfied only reading the Bible each day. Try to take some time to study the meaning of the passage as well.
- Audio Bibles. You probably have a smart phone or mp3 player of some kind. Take the time to install an audio Bible on your device or you can even listen to a free one on Spotify or YouTube. Audio Bibles are convenient because you can listen while you drive, workout, or while you’re sitting at home. This is similar to number three, however, in that you shouldn’t be satisfied with just reading through the scripture! Be sure to study and mediate on the message as well.
- Podcasts. There are many religious podcasts on the Internet. Many churches even publish their sermon audio online. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to listen to these as well. They may not always say things that you agree with in light of the scripture, but listening to someone who has a different opinion can be healthy and will teach you how to handle controversy with grace.
Through prayer and study, you can strengthen your faith, but another necessary part of having your faith strengthened is the application of your faith in your life. This means treating others with kindness, helping those in need, encouraging other Christians, and letting your light shine. Our actions begin in our mind, so we must work to mediate on things that are good.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.
Good thoughts will produce positive actions, but toxic thoughts will produce negative actions. Even when we face adversity, if we can set our mind on what God has done for us, then we should see positive results. Jesus was able to face the Cross because He did not look towards the Cross, He looked towards the end result: salvation. We may not be able to see the direct results of our servitude, but we can be sure that it will produce good in the world, and it will help to strengthen our faith in God.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (4) Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; (5) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; (6) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; (7) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (8) Love never fails.
God is love. Each of the above qualities are appropriate descriptions of God. Can you exchange love for your own name? Do these things describe you? Focus on your weaknesses and try to improve them each day.
TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE OF SERVITUDE
- Be someone that others can look to. Everyone faces problems in their life, but not everyone has someone to share those problems with. Live in such a way that people will be willing to approach you with their problems. Yes, it isn’t always the most convenient or fun thing for you to do, but remember the words of Paul: “Regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
- Look for opportunities to help. There are many who try to take advantage of others, but this is not always the case. Some churches use this as an excuse to refuse to help most everyone, but not everyone is a conman. There is most likely someone in your life who is struggling. Look for opportunities to help them.
- Tell someone that you care. It is very encouraging to hear that someone cares about you. Don’t be afraid to tell others that you care. Not only will this let them know that you are there to help, but it will also show them that someone is rooting for them in their life.
- Carry Bible tracts. One of the best ways to help someone is to share with them the truth that Jesus is the Son of God. Having a few Bible tracts on hand is an effective way to spread that information. It is also a convenient way to invite someone to worship with you so that they can have the same joy that you do. This isn’t a substitute for physical needs, but it will not hurt.
- Band together with others. There are many organizations that offer opportunities to serve your community, but you can also find several friends to serve with as well. This can mean helping a shut-in with yard work, volunteering together, door knocking with each other, or even getting together to pray. Having someone to work can be beneficial in motivating you to serve.
Life can be difficult, but faith can help. Strengthening your faith through prayer, study, and servitude will help you to have a better life. Make a conscience effort to grow and you will see immediate effects in your life. I hope this has been helpful to you in some way. I know it has for myself! May the Lord bless you in your life every day!