“I WISH I HAD FAITH to pray for a house with the space we need, in the right location.” “I wish I had faith to pray for an apartment at a rent we could afford.” “I wish I had the faith to pray literally for food—it’s becoming a real problem these days.” “I wish I had the faith to pray that our garden crop would grow.” “I wish I had faith to believe God could intervene in history in answer to prayer.” “I wish I had faith to take God’s promises about prayer literally in just some area of my life.” “I wish God’s existence and presence were real to me. I guess I just don’t have the right kind of faith, because when I pray it seems like a recitation of words.” “I wish I had faith to pray for the needs of my children with expectancy.” “I wish I had faith to pray for our church, or other people I know, with certainty that there would be some results.” “I wish I had faith to pray for the Lord’s return with the excitement of real hope.”

Is there some magic formula to be discovered for manufacturing “faith”? Is there a key to unlock a supply cupboard containing the “faith” some people seem to have discovered? Is there a mysterious level that only the properly initiated can reach, where “faith” is then freely given?

By whose definition has the word “faith” come to have a mystical twist, suggesting a hushed atmosphere with sights, sounds, and feelings enveloping the fortunate ones and driving out ordinary thought forms and logical understanding? Who has spread the idea that faith is separated from reason and mind, that it is to be “experienced” even as people “experience” a light show with rock music, or is to be like a state of “spiritual” floating, achieved perhaps by swallowing or smoking some chemical or plant substance? What definition ...

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