Proof of Faith

Psalms 14:1
Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” . . . and wouldn’t
think of praying to the Lord (vv.1,4).

The renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens was
dying. By his own admission, decades of heavy
drinking and smoking had given him cancer of the
esophagus, and now he was facing a brutal regimen of
chemotherapy and a bleak prognosis. His thinning hair,
weary eyes, and parched, halting voice were signs of a
beaten man—yet he softly reaffirmed his unbelief in God.
Hitchens said that others could pray for his recovery
if they wished, but he did not believe that such
“incantations” made any difference. The only way he
would ever pray for healing is if the cancer spread to his
brain and turned him into a “raving, terrified person.” As
long as he remained in his right mind, he would “not be
taking part in that.”

Despite his tragic response, Hitchens has hit on
something important: Prayer is the proof of faith. Psalm
14 declares that “Only fools say in their hearts, ‘There
is no God’ ” (v.1), and they show their commitment to
atheism by refusing to pray to Him.

If someone proves his lack of faith by not praying, how
do we who believe in Jesus demonstrate our faith? You
guessed it. John Calvin observed, “The principal exercise
which the children of God have is to pray; for in this
way they give a true proof of their faith.” He added that
anyone who does not run to God dishonors Him “as if
they made new gods and idols, since in this way they
deny God is the author of every good thing.”

We may say that we believe in God, but if we can make it through our day
without prayer how different are we than Hitchens? Carve out some time to talk
with God today. Ask Him for whatever you need, pray for what’s on your heart,
and give thanks as you praise Him.

—Mike Wittmer

Read Matthew 6:5 and Matthew 7:7, and write down three things you
should do as you pray.

What do your prayers reveal about your faith in God? How should you
respond if you don’t get what you ask for?