It is . . . critically important that the Christian take full advantage of every provision God has made to save him from delusion. These are prayer, faith, constant meditation on the Scriptures, obedience, humility, hard, serious thought and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. 1.
Prayer is not a sure fire protection against error for the reason that there are many kinds of prayer and some of them are worse than useless. The prophets of Baal leaped upon the altar in a frenzy of prayer, but their cries went unregarded because they prayed to a god that did not exist. The God the Pharisees prayed to did exist, but He refused to listen to them because of their self-righteousness and pride.
From them we may well learn a profitable lesson in reverse. In spite of the difficulties we encounter when we pray, prayer is a powerful and effective way to get right, stay right and stay free from error. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). All things else being equal, the praying man is less likely to think wrong than the man who neglects to pray. “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). 2.
The apostle Paul calls faith a shield. The man of faith can walk at ease, protected by his simple confidence in God. God loves to be trusted, and He puts all heaven at the disposal of the trusting soul. But when we talk of faith let us know what we mean. Faith is not optimism, though it may breed optimism; it is not cheerfulness, though the man of faith is likely to be reasonably cheerful; it is not a vague sense of well-being or a tender appreciation for the beauty of human togetherness.
Faith is confidence in God’s self-revelation as found in the Holy Scriptures.