I have to confess that until it wasn't until my adult years that I started to hear people talking about someone having "the gift of faith" or being an "intercessor". You see, I grew up in a church which did not focus on individual gifts rather it focused of the gifts of the Spirit as being available to all Followers of Christ as need be.
While I will agree that some people manifest certain gifts of the Spirit more than others, is it really because they are specially endowed with those particular gifts or is it simply because they are exercising them? While I do not doubt God calls us to do specific tasks and equips us accordingly, I do not believe that things such as faith and prayer belong to an exclusive group of people. I believe God desires every one of us to become a person of faith and prayer. Everyone. I also believe this is something we must cultivate daily. It doesn't just happen.
If we are not careful, we will relegate these faith and prayer to certain individuals. In doing so, I believe we weaken ourselves because then we are less likely to pursue becoming a person of faith and prayer. I have heard people say things like "I can't pray because I'm not a prayer warrior." or "Faith is not my gift." What? I'm not kidding, I have heard such statements. This is like implying a father only allows some of his children to talk to him. This is only like saying a few of them can trust their father. I'm sorry, but I think that is ridiculous.
Yes, I do have a personal legacy of prayer and faith. My grandmother, who did not have a legacy of prayer and faith, began following Christ when she was 14. She was living in Washington State with her mother and four younger sisters. Her father had died nearly two years before. Far from family in Iowa, her mother apparently developed a blood clot in her brain which affected her behavior. They came for her with whips and ropes...and this 14 year old girl found herself alone with four girls between the ages of 4-13. Although she did not come from a "church background", my grandmother told me how she went out into the night and looked up at the stars. In desperation, she prayed. She didn't know "how" to pray but she didn't worry about that. She just poured herself out to God...and He answered. She would trust Him no matter what! She started following Christ that night and her mother was healed.
In the years that followed, she learned to take everything to God in prayer. During very hard and difficult years she trusted in God to put food on their table and to provide for their every need. I could say a lot more but suffice it to say, my grandmother prayed and she set an example of faith and prayer for her children.
When I was a girl, I would come home and often, the first sound I heard was my mother praying. How she would pray! I remember hearing her pray for me. Prayer was as natural as breathing. God is your heavenly Father. You talk to him. He hears you and responds. It was as simple as that.
Yes, I realize that I have been blessed to have such a legacy and I have tried to pass that on to my son. A legacy of prayer and faith. However, I want to tell you something. Even if you don't have that kind of legacy, it is possible for it to begin with you.
God does not desire for only an exclusive few to be people of prayer and faith. I do not believe that for a moment and neither should you! The problem lies in that we convince ourselves we are not and as a result we fail to develop and grow in this very critical area.
So how do we develop it?
Like anything else, we develop and grow in this area by exercising it. First and foremost, ask God to help you to become a person of prayer and faith. Next, get rid of the idea that you only pray about "big issues". God is your Heavenly Father. He is interested in everything about you. Everything. I don't believe prayer is just about asking. I don't believe is is just about praise. I believe it is about talking to God. Start taking a few minutes just to thank Him for being God. Take a moment and tell Him about your day. Understand what prayer really is...a conversation with God. He's not interested in flowery phrases or clever words. He is simply interested in you.
As you converse with God more and more you will find your prayer life developing and growing in ways you could never imagine. God wants us to be people of prayer!
In regards to faith, it has been my observation that many Christians avoid the Old Testament like the plague. That is a terrible mistake for within the Old Testament you find power stories of faith. You don't know where to look? Read Hebrews 11, the "faith chapter" and you will find these people. Take time to read their stories. Listen to the stories of others. Find those who are people of faith. Hang out with them because in doing so, you will see faith in action in their lives. This will increase your own faith. What God has done for them, He will do for you. After all, if you are a Christ-Follower, you're just as much a child of God as they are.
Finally, recognize this is a work-in-progress. We have our ups and downs. There will be times when our faith is very strong and there will be times during which we struggle. This is why it is important to find and surround yourself with people of faith. They can help lift up your arms in faith when you feel like you can't do it anymore.
Remember....God wants all of us to be people of prayer and faith.