Have you ever felt weak in your personal faith and began to rely on someone else’s faith to make a difference in what you’re going through? An example might be if you’re away from God and life tosses you a curve ball, so you ask for someone who you think is more righteous than you to pray for you. Or when praying over someone in a group, you inwardly rely on the faith of the others praying to reach God because your faith is too weak? Well Acts 19:13-16 says this:
"Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, 'In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.' Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day, the evil spirit answered them, 'Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?' Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding."
Could it be that these seven sons of Sceva and this Jewish chief priest didn’t feel strong enough in their faith, so they tried to borrow some of Paul’s faith by saying “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out”? I believe that it is dangerous to rely only on someone else’s faith in spiritual matters. When Jesus healed, often times he would say “your faith has made you well”. We need to build up our own faith in God. How do we do this you ask? Well the bible tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. We need to get into the bible, believe what it says and build a relationship with God. Just think about it this way, let’s say you need some help with something. Is it better to drop a name of someone you know to get what you need, or is it better to go to a close friend and ask them directly. I think that this example in Acts was as if the priests were relying on Paul’s faith to cast out demons. If they had enough faith on their own, they could’ve gone directly to the source, Jesus himself, and inquired of him as if inquiring of a close friend. Anyway, I hope that makes sense. Bottom line is that we really have to build up our own faith, through cultivating a relationship with God directly so that when we talk to him, it is our own faith at work.
It’s okay to ask others to pray for you, or to join their faith with yours, but we really need to have faith of our own. There were those in the bible, when they found their faith faltering, asked Jesus to help them with their unbelief, or their lack of faith. If we know God personally, we can petition him through Christ directly. He tells us that he likes it when we bring all types of prayers and petitions to him. And that all we need is the faith of a mustard seed to see him move mightily on our behalf. I hope that encourages you to get familiar with the scriptures. Find out how God works, who He is, and who you are in him. And yes, there is definitely something to be said about our obedience to Him. The bible tells us that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much.