How Do I Get My Faith Back?

Recently someone told me that some rough trials had rocked their faith and they were unsure of how to get it back. First of all I feel sadness and compassion for all who battle this kind of despair.  Here are a few thoughts I hope will encourage anyone struggling like this:

If you desire to have faith, there’s hope.

If you weren’t born again you wouldn’t care. Isaiah 42:3 says about Jesus: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.”  Jesus can fan smoldering faith into a flame.  All he needs is faith the size of a mustard seed. It’s Jesus’ will that we have faith in him, and he loves to help us when we seek him.

Cry out to Jesus

When a man said, “I believe, help my unbelief,” Jesus responded and healed his child.  Ask for faith.  We have not because we ask not.  Like the disciples, pray, “Increase my faith.”

Read the Word

Romans 10.17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  We dwindle in faith when we neglect God’s Word.  Hebrews says that “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (2:1).   Start reading the Bible again if you’ve drifted from it.  Listen to solid Biblical preaching.

Rehearse God’s promises

Get a book of Bible promises like The Jesus Person Pocket Promise Book, which contains 800 Bible promises.  Read them and thank God for them.  Tell God you believe his word is true.

Recall God’s past faithfulness to you

Rehearse God’s past goodness to you.  Think of answered prayers.  Remember all his benefits and ways he has blessed you, then bless him for these things.  Especially thank him for bringing you to the cross and giving you faith in Christ.

Repent of unbelief

Unbelief is a sin.  Confess your unbelief to Jesus and ask his forgiveness.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 JN 1.9).

Get back into fellowship

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”  We need others to encourage us in our faith, lest we be hardened by unbelief.

It’s a fight to keep our faith in Jesus strong. But it’s not by our own strength – Hebrews tells us that since we have a great high priest in heaven, Jesus, the Son of God, who is interceding for us day and night before the throne, that we should hold fast our confession.  And because he is a sympathetic priest who was tempted like us in every way (yet without sin), we should regularly draw near to him in prayer for mercy and grace in time of need (Hebrews 4.14-16).

Remember, Jesus wants you to have strong faith even more than you do.

photo by clogozm

  • http://beggartobeggar.blogspot.com/ Eliza Huie

    Excellent! So encouraging.
    I know for me I also have to "talk to myself". The Martin Lloyd-Jones way of attacking doubt and unbelief. I am good at telling myself all kinds of bad news so I need to instead tell myself the truth. Of course I must have the truth in me in order "talk" to myself instead of "listening" to myself so your point about reading the word is so important to me.
    Again thank you. Your blog has been a great help to me lately. For His glory!

    • Mark Altrogge

      Hi Eliza,

      Excellent addition! I too have greatly benefited by Jones' teaching of speaking truth to myself. Thanks for adding this in!

  • Caroline

    Thank you for the post. This past week has been really difficult. But something that has been coming back to me, from the pulpit and the church retreat we had last week, is to keep meditating on the truth and to be in the fellowship of the body of Christ. Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement that Jesus wants me to have strong faith.

  • http://singleinthemeantime.com/ singlesouthernlady

    you often write about expectant prayer? I was wondering how this fits into the plan to grow your faith? I have recently found myself struggling in faith because when praying for trying circumstances to cease or improve, other Christians have encouraged me to be practical and just accept what is, rather than having faith God can heal and seeking Him and His provision in prayer.

    While spending time in the Word and remembering past faithfulness, should I also continue seeking answers? Will that strengthen my faith or hurt it (by being unpractical)?

    • Mark Altrogge

      Hey singlesouthernlady,

      I believe that we should ask for whatever we desire that is according to God's will, and if we don't know for sure then I keep asking until God makes it clear that it's not. So I continue to pray for healing for people and other needs, no matter how impossible they look. God can do miracles at any moment he chooses. If God were to speak to me to accept what is, then I would but in the meantime I will keep seeking him for every situation that concerns me. He encourages us to cast our cares on him and to bring all our requests to him with thanksgiving (PHP 4:6-7). So I will keep on praying. We need to be careful about being "practical" – God wants us to ask the impossible. Of course, I always leave room for his sovereignty, because he is loving and knows what's best. So keep remembering God's past faithfulness and thanking him for it and use his promises to build your faith and in prayer.

      Great questions! Thanks!

  • Petra Hefner

    A most encouraging post and points, especially, "It’s a fight to keep our faith in Jesus strong. But it’s not by our own strength." Isn't this why God brings us through those low vales (and according to His word, He will always bring us through), to remind us that our strength to do or believe is in Him? He is our sympathetic high priest!

    • Mark Altrogge

      You're right, Petra – that's one of the reasons God takes us through "low vales" – so we will depend on him and see his strength come through – as Paul discovered with his thorn.

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  • teja

    Thankyou for ur wonderful message it is very encouraging….. please prey for me

  • Lori

    Great post! Of course, if we are truly in the faith we will never lose it. It just FEELS like it sometimes!

    Thankfully, our faith is not dependent on our feelings. I agree with the idea of speaking/preaching truth to ourselves. There have been times in my life when I could not believe in my heart, but I knew in my head. Just keep speaking the truth you know about God, pray without ceasing, and stay in the Word. Eventually, your feelings will catch up with your head.

  • Chris

    Excellent post, Mark!
    You are a wise and compassionate pastor.

  • Melody

    The only thing that works for me is giving thanks in all circumstances. We deserve death. How can we complain about anything else. Grumbling is a sin. It feeds on itself and leaves us vulnerable to satan’s attacks.

    • Melody

      Speaking as someone that walked away and God brought me back. This is how I keep myself from going that direction again. I didn't mean it flippantly. It took thirty years for me to learn the lesson and I have to practice it every day to not forget it.