How to Fan the Flame of Faith
by Rev. Jeffrey L. Cottingame, M.A, D.C.
Presented by Saint Luke Evangelical School Of Biblical Studies

...and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith...
Hebrews 12:1,2(RSV)

Most Christians have awakened on a Sunday morning feeling far from God. Church and worship being the last thing on their mind, they roll over and go back to sleep. Everyone prays at one time or another to avoid this situation. However disturbing this picture might seem, it is, none the less, an experience that many Christians go through. Some how they have let the flame of faith die out. There are, however, some practical steps that you and I can take as believers to fan a dying flame or to keep a blazing fire going through the toughest of trials.

...pray without ceasing...
I Thess. 5:17(KJV)

The first step to fanning the flame is to pray. Prayer is our communication with the Father and his communication with us. In order to maintain an active and growing relationship with someone, you must communicate with them. Many marriages are in trouble or have completely failed from a lack of communication. Our role as the bride of Christ and our relationship with the bridegroom is no different. If we want our union with the blessed Trinity to flourish we must communicate often and effectively.

Study to show thyself approved...
II Tim. 2:15(KJV)

Failing to study scripture is one of the main reasons that people leave the faith. The reason for this is that the sacred scriptures define for us who God is, who we are, who Jesus is, and what our relationship is to all three. In II Tim 3:16,17(RSV) Paul tells Timothy, "all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." If we desire to know who God is and what our relationship to him is, then we need to study the scriptures. Furthermore, the scriptures give us a detailed description of how to maintain our walk with Christ.

...and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Heb. 10:24-25(RSV)

The third key principle is to draw support from fellow believers. This can be accomplished in several ways, the first of which is corporate worship or church services. Considering the multitude of denominations, it should be relatively easy for any Christian to find a style of worship that fits their particular personality. The name of the denomination, or the lack thereof, is of little importance. The important thing is that Christ and him crucified be the center of the worship and that you worship him in spirit and in truth. The next way to draw support from you fellow believers is to join and accountability group. James urges the church to, "confess your sins to one another, and to pray for one another, that you may be healed...", James 5:16(RSV). Being part of a group of Christian men or women who are willing to share their shortcomings with one another aids us in receiving spiritual healing for our sin-stained nature. Furthermore, we are able to pray and intercede for one another's deliverance. The last way to draw support from other Christians is to pray and conduct devotionals with you spouse and children on a weekly basis. Christ Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them." Matt. 18:20(RSV). Simply gathering together, in his name, at a set time, once a week with your family to pray, read sacred scripture, and to discuss daily trials will immensely strengthen your walk with Christ, and maintain the fire of your life.

Other suggestions for maintaining the fire or fanning a flame that is dying are:

1. Begin daily devotionals. These should consist, at least, of scripture reading and prayer.

2. Purchase a one year bible or a Revised Common Lectionary to aid you in reading scripture. The lectionary is designed to allow you full reading of the bible in three years.

3. Purchase a devotional book such as My Utmost for His Highest. These type of devotional books usually contain short passages that can be read in a few minutes and are very thought provoking.

4. Set concrete times for all your quiet times, daily devotionals and prayer times. This will increase your likelihood of sticking to your schedule.

There are times in every Christian's life when they feel as though they have extinguished the flame of faith in their lives. Close introspection would reveal that they had forsaken the principles of prayer, scripture study and meeting with other believers. These three things are the key elements to maintaining the fire and "running the race set before us."

" And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. "
Phil. 1:6(RSV)

copyright 2000 Rev. Jeffrey L. Cottingame, M.A., D.C.
Used by permission.