This is tricky, and certainly I am in the thick of having questions without perfect answers, just like most people. I don’t think there is a tidy answer to all of the complexities of the human mind and spirit in relationship to faith. It is important that the Bible seems to call into question often our notions of faith in Jesus. Faith is neither believing without reason, nor is it complete and absolute fist-in-the-air certainty at all times. Faith has its reasons, but can never be given primarily through reason, God must give it to us. What are we then to do? I think one solution is to understand what faith is more deeply.
When we are told that we are on unstable ground when we pray without faith, it is teaching us what to prioritize–understanding God’s nature and power before doing anything. Without faith it is impossible to please God. If we are praying without faith, faith should be our number one request. Praying without faith is like going to the airport and getting on the wrong plane, you are heading somewhere, but not to what is desirable. Prayer, ultimately comes from faith, and is intended to bring us closer to God, who strengthens our faith.
This does not mean we never doubt God, never ask questions of God, or that even that God responding to prayer is contingent upon the intensity of our faith. Our faith is increased in relationship to seeing the faithfulness of Jesus increase, and the faithfulness of God is often shown powerfully when we have nowhere else to turn. The strange thing is, when we need God most, that is often where our faith is weakest, in our pits in life. It is precisely when we are in our pits of doubt that God strengthens our faith the most!
So, if you feel like your faith is weak, I would encourage you not to despair, for there is never a time where God’s love for you depends on your faithfulness. If it were, no one could ever hope to have their prayers answered! For we all have weak faith from time to time (often?). Jesus does not make conditional his response to the strength of your faith, but responds based on the strength of his faithfulness. This, the faithfulness of God, I assure you does not ebb and flow. This week, come to Him, and if you haven’t prayed for years, beg for faith in Him. I trust He will be faithful, He knows nothing else.