For the first time since its inception in 1952, the National Prayer Breakfast was chaired in 2006 by a Christian senator and co-chaired by a Jewish senator. Often, invitations to public prayer require generic definitions of faith and God that exclude references to Jesus Christ.
Faith cannot be extracted from the person and saving work of Jesus Christ. Faith, as we see in Hebrews 11, is not a warm fuzzy feeling about God. It is a reasoned response to God’s character and His promises, revealed fully in Christ. Faith is more than an effort to make this life redemptive and good. Faith is a vision for a future life in heaven, which makes sense of our suffering and pain today. Faith isn’t generic devotion to the one-size-fits-all God of American pluralism. Faith is obedience to the God of the Bible, the same God who intervenes in history to save His people and make Himself known.
Living and praying for God’s kingdom to come, God’s will to be done, requires faith. Faith enables us to see beyond the palpable realities of our lives today. Faith enabled all the men and women named in Hebrews 11 to hold on to hope for something better in the midst of suffering and persecutions. Their circumstances would not have made sense unless they sustained belief in the God who was ultimately accomplishing eternal purposes.
By faith, we choose what we value most. When God called Abraham and Moses, they believed His promise, and they valued what was promised. It was the firm conviction that faith would lead them to a better place that motivated them to give up what already seemed like the good life.
By faith, we say that the new heavens and earth are better than this earth. By faith, we’re looking forward, rather than behind us. By faith, we’re fixing our eyes on God rather than on our circumstances. Even when we seem to have cause for only sadness and despair, faith gives joy and hope.