Last week I posted a blog about our need to pray entitled “How Should we Pray?” It emphasized our need to just pray and not worry so much about the how. The conclusion was that we should pray often, be persistent in our prayers.
Today during my devotion time the Lord again spoke to my heart on the matter of prayer. Mark 11:22-24 “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Jesus, at this point in His ministry, is days away from His crucifixion, and had just cursed a fig tree that had no fruit on it and it withered away. The disciples were amazed at how quickly the fig tree died. Jesus response to them was, “Have faith in God.” He goes on to talk to them about the fact that a person’s prayer life can move mountains if they can believe. He emphasized the point in verse 24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” What an awesome promise of God!!
Now I’m not a “name it and claim it” or “If you can believe it, you will receive it” kind of Christian. There are qualifications to having the right type of belief. What I mean is, if I desire something, in order to believe I will receive it, the request must meet certain criteria.
- Is it in the will of God? 1 John 5:14-15 “ And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” Many times we use this verse to give up on a request. We say, “It must not be the will of God.” Remember persistence is the key to prayer. There are requests that we can know from Scripture that are in the will of God. There are also some requests that we can know are NOT the will of God. Then there are the ones that we are not sure. Those are the ones we must pray about, and get peace about, so that we can believe that God will answer our request.
- Is this a request to consume upon my own lusts? James 4:2-3 “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” People will say, “I am going to believe God to give me a million dollars.” First of all, God is not a genie in a bottle to grant you three wishes. He is a God that desires to use us for His work. To love us and help others. We need to be sure we aren’t asking for something that we just want for our own pleasure, rather than glorifying God. How can we believe that God will answer a selfish request?
- Is it sinful? Psalm 66:18 “ If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” This may seem like a foolish question to ask, but many times we desire hurtful things. I have even heard of people saying, “God answered our prayers,” and worked it out so an unmarried couple could live together. If we desire for God to answer our prayers, we need to try to live our life according to the Word of God. None of us will be perfectly sinless, however God is. We can’t believe He will answer our prayers if we refused to obey His word.
If our requests are in the will of God, not just for our own pleasure and not sinful; then we can pray and expect God to answer!! We must stay persistent, but have an expectation of seeing it come to pass. We are calling on the One that can move mountains.
I have been blessed by seeing things happen that can only be attributed to God. I have never seen Him move a literal mountain, but He has certainly moved in monumental ways in my life, and in the lives of my family members. I know it wasn’t my faith that moved the mountains in my life, but it did move the hand of God, and for that I am eternally grateful.
To read about some of the ways God moved in our family, order the book entitled “IN SPITE OF” The Johnny Ashley Story” by going to Amazon.com or clicking on the link below.