Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to Receive What You Pray For

    Today’s Reading:
  • Mark 11:1 - 26
  • Psalm 46 1 - 11
Read Bible Passages Online

Mark 11:1 - 26
Jesus tells his disciples that they can move mountains if only they have the faith (11:23).  Jesus says that we will receive what we pray for, as long as three conditions are met:

Condition #1 - Belief Beyond a Doubt (11:23)
Jesus tells us that we must earnestly believe that we pray for will happen, and we can't have a single doubt in our hearts.  This one is a toughie, for sure.  I have absolute faith in the Lord, I have absolute faith the He can do anything.  I have absolute faith in his dominion over Satan.  I have absolute faith in Him.

When it comes to praying, however, I do tend to have doubts.  The biggest part of that is the knowledge that my will and His will do not always converge.  I think I know what I want but the Lord knows better, He knows what I need.  Or perhaps I'm setting my sights too short, and he has something even bigger in mind for me.  Or perhaps the Lord has a lesson He wants me to learn.

So how do I know when to ask for something with the utter belief that it will happen?  Meeting a basic need comes to mind.  An example of that would be feeding, clothing or shelter for me or my family, or money to pay a bill.  Necessities -- because the Lord will provide, plain and simple.

I'm also hard at work at believing in healing, and that it is not the Lord's will that the lives of those who follow them by shortened by sickness and diseases.  The Lord wants us to be healthy, He wants us to be doing His works everyday.  We can't do that if Satan gets in the way.

Another area for me to believe in is protection.  I have to learn to believe that it's the Lord's will to keep my family intact, to protect us from Satan's harm.  This belief, like healing, is fairly new to me also.  So long in my life I've been accustomed to attributing everything that happens as His Will.  And if His Will is harm to my family, then I have to deal with it.  But what I'm realizing now is just because He doesn't stop something, that doesn't mean it's His Will that it happens.  Look at our free will -- there are so many things that humans do that are not the Lord's Will, yet He doesn't stop us from doing those things.

So we have to have belief beyond a doubt that our prayer will be answered.  We certainly can't have that belief beyond a doubt if we are afraid that the Lord doesn't want to help us, doesn't want us to succeed in His works, doesn't want us to be healthy, or doesn't want us to be whole.  Belief beyond a doubt that our prayer will be answered is no easy thing to achieve in my opinion.

Condition #2 - Believe that You Have Received the Thing you Asked For (11:24)
This goes hand in hand with believing beyond a doubt, but it is different.  We have to both believe that the Lord WILL give us what we pray for and that He DID -- in advance of receiving it.

Here we are being told that our prayer will be answered, but that doesn't mean it will be answered right away.  I thought of David when I read this.  All throughout the book of Psalm he is praying for the Lord to deliver him.  He was often dismayed and impatient, but he always had no doubt that the Lord would save him.  But from what I've read, he hit rock bottom before being delivered.  He was at death's door, his enemies almost won.  But the didn't -- the Lord delivered in the end.

Can you imagine keeping absolute faith in deliverance throughout all that David went through?  He was a remarkable man, and an example that just because the Lord said He would give us what we pray for, that doesn't mean it will happen now.  It doesn't mean that things won't get worse before the prayer is answered.  It doesn't mean that you won't hit rock bottom.

It does mean you need to have faith that you have received the thing you have asked for; be it immediately, tomorrow, next month or ten years from now.

Condition #3 -- Forgive Anyone You are Holding a Grudge Against (11:25)
This one kind of comes out of the blue, eh?  The first two conditions have to do with having utter faith, but the third has to do with forgiving others.  And notice it says anyone you are holding a grudge against.  It doesn't say, "forgive those you are holding a grudge against except for those who have severely done you wrong."  No -- we are told to forgive anyone whom we are holding a grudge against.

I think this order is equally as hard as the other two.  I try really hard to forgive people, but I am still holding grudges against others in my heart.  I can't help but think, however, that if I let go of all the little grudges I've held against people, how different a person I would become.  I could be a completely nice and loving person, and the love of Christ would just shine through me.

I think of people that I meet that are impossible not to like, because you can just tell they radiate love and acceptance.  I want to be that person, and these verses give me even more reason to strive to become that person that I know is inside me, because Jesus is inside me.  I just have to channel him instead of suppress him. 

It's a lot of work to be able to receive anything we pray for.  But Jesus says it is there for us to achieve.  It gives me many things to strive for, with a powerful promise at the end.  I want to work on these things, I want to do it so I can keep me and my family protected and healthy so that we might long serve the Lord on this earth.  I want to do it because I know in the process it will change my core being and help to draw others to the Lord.  It's a LOT to work towards, but the reward is immeasurable. 

Psalm 46:1 - 11
This is a glorious Psalm that talks about the protection of the Lord. The descendants of Korah say that they are unafraid of the things of this world. Even though the Earth quakes and the mountains crumble into the sea, they have the Lord on their side, and He will keep them safe.  Ultimate belief that the Lord will protect the well being of His people.  It goes along quite nicely with the reading in Mark today, doesn't it?

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