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Faith as the key to God's treasures

Faith draws a person into a living communication with God in heartfelt, concentrated prayer. When a person comes into close contact with the Almighty, then, according to the words of the Savior, everything becomes possible to him: "Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive If you have faith as (small as) a mustard seed, and you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you" (Matt. 21:22, 17:20). Thus even the smallest faith can work wonders provided it is wholesome and healthy like a mustard seed. The great miracle worker Saint John of Kronstadt, speaking from his own experience, called faith "the key to God's treasures."

True faith has nothing to do with self-confidence. Greatly mistaken are those who confuse faith with ordinary auto-suggestion. Some sectarian preachers teach that one must convince oneself of whatever one desires, for example: in health, success, or well-being and that is enough to obtain it. These auto-suggestions resemble a game in which a child imagines that he is sailing accross the sea or riding a horse while he sits on the floor in his room. Faith built on self-suggestion leads to self-delusion and a spiritual catastrophe.

True faith acts not by the power of imagination or self-hypnosis but in that it joins a person to the ultimate Source of all life and strength to Almighty God. Faith is like a vessel with which one scoops up from the Divine fountain, and prayer acts as an arm with which one reaches into it. It is important to take recourse prudently to the power of faith. Because only God knows what is best for us, in praying one should be less concerned about pressing one's own desires and more about understanding what is the will of God. After all, prayer should not become a monologue but a two-way conversation. And in every conversation one must learn to listen as well. When we sincerely pray to God, He replies to us in our heart and in subsequent external circumstances.

Turning to the Gospel accounts, we see that those people who possessed an exceptionally strong faith as, for example, the Roman centurion, the Canaanite woman, the friends of the paralytic, and others, were all very far from any elation or pathos. Actually, they all were extremely humble people (Matt. 8:10, 15:22, 9:2). The combination of strong faith and humility is not accidental. A deeply believing person feels, more than anyone else, the greatness and the almightiness of God. And the more he realizes it, the more keenly he becomes aware of his own limitations and deficiency. The great miracle workers such as, for example, the prophets Moses and Elisha, the apostles Peter and Paul and those like them were always distinguished by profound humility.

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