I have heard that expression but have not looked too deeply into what it means or how it is used.  From what I have seen, it seems that some believe they can pray for faith to come into someone, and (according to its proponents) it does.  This is akin to praying someone into salvation, as if our prayers can save someone else.

It is true that we should pray for the lost to be saved. 

  • We read of the Apostle Paul’s prayer for Israel in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”  He prayed for the Israelites to be saved. 
  • We read in 1 Timothy 2:1, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.”  This is a general exhortation where the Lord is teaching us to pray for all men.  This would certainly include praying for the salvation of lost men and women. 
  • 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”  In this instance, Paul planted the seed of the Gospel by sharing the Good News of salvation to others.  Apollos watered the seed with his prayer and tears.  The Lord honored the planting and watering of the seed and “gave the increase.”  He gave salvation to all those who heeded to word of the Gospel and accepted the Lord Jesus as Savior.  “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47 – NKJV). 

Can we impart faith to someone?  Let’s consider Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Faith is produced in the heart by hearing the Word of God properly expounded.  It is not imparted by someone else but is the result of hearing and accepting God’s holy Word.  For example, we know how Timothy came to put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  In 2 Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul says to Timothy, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  It was the holy scriptures (the Bible) that caused Timothy to “wise up” and receive salvation through faith in Christ. 

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to take the Word of God and make it real to the hearers of it.  The Lord Jesus said of the Holy Spirit in John 16:7-8, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”  The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, takes the Word of God, convinces us of its truth, and brings us into a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

No man can impart faith to another man.  It is produced in the heart by the hearing of God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  It does not come from another man’s prayers.  John 1:12-13 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  Salvation comes when one receives the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as their savior.  John 1:13 shows us what cannot save us:

NOT OF BLOOD  – This means we do not inherit salvation from our parents.  Just because a person’s parents are believers, that does not mean that their children are also believer.

NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH – No matter what one does, he cannot save himself.  It’s simply an impossibility.  We learn this by reading Ephesians 2:8-9, “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.” 

NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN – This makes it clear that no one else can save us.  No one can give us faith to believe.  No one can pray us into salvation. 

We thank the Lord for the gift of salvation, but this comes from hearing God’s Word and being led of His Spirit to believe and accept this wonderful gift of eternal life from God.  We read in 1 Peter 1:8-9, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”  I hope this has been clear.  Man CANNOT pray faith into someone else.  That faith must be produced in the heart by hearing and accepting God’s Word.  (CC)  (577.4)