Faith is complete dependence upon the word of God only, for the accomplishment of what that word says.
This being so, it must never for a moment be forgotten that where there is no word of God, there cannot be any faith.
This is shown also in the truth that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) Since faith thus comes indeed by the very word of God itself, it is perfectly plain that where there is no word of God, there can be no faith.
This is beautifully illustrated by an instance in the life of David, because David had it in his heart to build a house unto the Lord, the Lord spoke to him by the prophet Nathan, saying, “The Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.… And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.”
Then David prayed and said, “Now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified forever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel, and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
“For thou, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
“And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant; therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue forever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed forever.” (2 Samuel 7:11-29)
His prayer was altogether of faith, because it was altogether of the word of God: the word of God was the cause of it; the word of God was the basis of it; and the word of God was all the hope of David that the prayer would ever be answered.
He asked according to the will of God, because the will of God was expressed in the word of God. Having asked according to the plainly stated will of God, David knew that his prayer was heard. And knowing that his prayer was heard, David knew that he had the petition which he desired of him. (1 John 5:14) Therefore he said, So let it be. And therefore also the answer to that prayer was, and is, and forevermore shall be, sure unto David.
And this was written for our learning: that we might know how to pray in faith and how in prayer to cultivate faith. Therefore, Go and do thou likewise. Because “the knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired.”
(This article was first printed in the February 21, 1899 issue of The Review and Herald. It is also found on pages 34-36 of the book Lessons on Faith by A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. Editor)