Let us suppose that those with little faith are believers who are struggling and those with no faith are unbelievers. Concerning those with little faith, I am reminded of the Lord’s instruction to His apostles in Luke 17:3-6. This passage states, “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you” (NASB).

The disciples thought that they did not have enough faith to show unending grace to an offending brother. The Lord’s response shows that the disciples were not to worry about the amount of faith that they had but to simply have faith, even if it was small. Therefore, even if someone has very little faith, if their faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ, then their prayer will be highly effective.

Yes, some Christians have greater faith than others. However, I take it from the Lord’s response in verse 6 that we are not to concern ourselves with how small or great our faith is or how small or great the faith is of the people around us.  Our instruction is to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” We know that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). If we notice a believer in our lives who appears to have little faith, then share something from the Word with them that has touched your heart. This will strengthen the faith of both of you since you will be spending time together in God’s precious Word.

Concerning those with no faith or unbelievers, we read in Luke 18:10-14, “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

This passage shows us that the prayers of unbelievers who are praying for anything other than mercy will not be answered. The prayer of an unbeliever is highly ineffective. However, if an unbeliever is praying with humility like the publican and asking God to be merciful to him as a sinner, then God gladly answers that prayer and saves him. As the Lord Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

What a God we have! He delights to answer our prayers. However, He loves us too much to give us whatever we want when it is not according to His will. He knows what is best for us, and our selfish motives often cause us to pray for things that are not good for us. We read in 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”  (379.5)  (DJ)