As Christians, we either apply from the scripture a principle to our lives, or a promise. A principle is a general truth drawn from certain truth from scripture that may concern God, like truth about His essence or attribute, or a narrative about certain historical actions God took towards man – unbelievers or believers, or a narrative about certain experiences of men who walked with God, or certain warnings, etc.
Principles are different from promises. This is because promises are direct and specific in their nature. Unlike principle, a promise has a specific audience and may have a specific instruction because of certain unique need among that audience. A promise may also have certain time frame for the fulfilment of that promise.
A promise gives 100% surety of the thing promised, but a principle does not give such surety since the principle does not have in it that which binds God to do What He has not promised even though He has the power to do it.
Therefore, in prayer, especially, when we present our request or petition to God concerning a particular need, we should apply faith in biblical principle rather than faith in a promise unless the promise is specifically directed to us as the beneficiaries.
“Principle” teaches that your request may or may not be granted while a “promise” teaches that your request *will be granted.
The difference is that, with a principle, you know that God *can since you may have read from the bible about many great things He has done since creation. Also, the knowledge of His essence, specifically, His omnipotence can build your confidence that He can or is capable of granting your request.
Applying faith in a principle does not *assure us that God will do what we are asking. This is where we finally submit to His will and say, “let your will be done”.
We usually don’t have the full knowledge about the matter that we are making request of. So we ask God, pleading that he grants our wishes but at the same time ready to let His will be done if He doesn’t give us the outcome expected.
Applying faith in any biblical principle in time of prayer and taking the posture or attitude of uncertainty of whatever the result might be does not make you less spiritual, neither does it indicate that you do not have faith.
In fact, it rather shows that you have faith, but you are applying your faith with wisdom, not emotions since you know very well that God has never specifically promised you the outcome you are hoping to receive.
Concerning healing, the early apostles were specifically promised that whoever they would lay their hands on would be well or recover. But those they would preach to and be saved were not promised the same thing.
Like us today, our attitude of prayer for the sick should be an attitude of applying faith in a principle that God can, not God will. this is because we have not been promised that He will unless context says so regarding a specific issue, and also we do not know for certain if God desires to heal the person.
This attitude does not only save us from deception but it also saves us from being under any pressure of feeling that we do not have faith.
For example, when you apply for a job and present a petition that God should help you have it, your faith in a principle that God can help you get it is far better than the attitude that God will give me the job or I will have it because i have faith.
The latter will be more frustrated and disappointed if he doesn’t get the job than the former who believed that God could help him have it even though God didn’t get him the job. Shalom!