Dwight from Alabama asks, “Is there anywhere in the Bible that says we should pray for faith and for our faith to increase?”
Before I answer this question, I want to differentiate between two different types of faith found in the Bible.
The first type of faith is the one-time, saving faith that leads to salvation. This is a moment of genuine conviction in which a person places their faith in the gift of Jesus Christ on the cross, receives that gift, and becomes a child of God.
The second type of faith is the ever-growing, ever-strengthening reliance and trust in God that is part of every believer’s sanctification process. This faith is never perfected on this earth, but it leads to deeper communion with and trust in God.
It is good to pray for both types of faith, both for ourselves and for others around us. If you have heard the gospel, and want to believe it to be true, but do not know how to make it yours, you can pray to God for the faith to believe. For believers, if you know an unsaved person and God lays them on your heart, you can pray that He will give them the faith they need to accept Him.
The Gospel of Luke gives two examples of people asking for faith, once for themselves and once for others. In Luke 17, after Jesus gives the disciples the especially difficult command to forgive others, no matter how many times they are wronged, the disciples come to Jesus and ask him, “‘Increase our faith!’” (Luke 17:5).
Later in the book, when Jesus foretells Peter’s denial of Him, He says to Peter, “‘I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail’” (Luke 22:32).
So, Dwight, there certainly is a biblical precedent for praying for faith, both for ourselves and for those around us.
The author of Hebrews writes that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and we cannot create faithfulness on our own. We need God. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit, not a fruit of our own making.