Faith means you know the outcome.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.

Hebrews 11:1

Faith means that you know the outcome.  And it means that you will stand through opposing circumstances until the known end shall come.

To have faith means to believe.  To believe means to be fully persuaded of a certain thing.  It means you are fully convinced that a certain thing is true.

Now, natural human faith works differently than the God-kind of faith.   Natural human faith can fail, because it is based on the elements of this world; and the things of the world can fail.  For example you can fully believe that a person will keep his word and show up at a certain time, but even if the person would never be late, there are many variables that could keep him from arriving on time (i.e. traffic, accident, etc.) that he has no control over.   But God doesn’t fail, nor can anything keep Him from failing. 

Another difference that there seems to be is that the determining factor in bible faith is faith itself.  Human faith doesn’t work like that. For example, your parents may tell you they are buying you a new car.  You may not believe them, but, sure enough, despite your lack of faith, they return with the new car.  But the opposite is true with bible faith.  When the disciples couldn’t cast out the demon in the young boy in Matthew 17, Jesus sited unbelief as the failure point in the whole equation.   The boy didn’t believe his parents, but still got the car.  The disciples didn’t believe they could cast out the devil and it didn’t happen.  With the boy and the car, the parents where the determining factor.  With the disciples, faith was the determining factor.

Most people have the misconception that God is the determining factor on whether or not our prayers are answered.  This is not what the bible teaches us at all.  The bible teaches us that faith is the determining factor.  If we are fully persuaded that what we ask for is ours, then we shall have it.  That’s exactly what the bible says in Mark 11:22-24.

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.  Mark 11:24

And this goes along perfectly with what James says over in James 1 when he is instructing us how to pray for wisdom.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  James 1:6-8

The word ‘believe’ and ‘faith’ are so watered down in our current culture.  Those words, when used in common language, mean more of something like, ‘I think so,’ or at best, ‘I’m pretty sure.’  But that’s not how the bible uses that word.  Bible faith is more like, “I know this is true, not because I’ve necessarily experienced it, but because it comes from an extremely reliable source.”

So when we ask God for something that He has already promised us, and are fully persuaded beyond any shadow of a doubt that our prayer is heard and the answer is ours, then we will have what we pray for.