This morning I had a great, breakfast date with God. I had oatmeal, a glass of V8 juice and my Bible by my side. Sitting down at the breakfast table, I began to read the second half Mark 11. After getting through verses 22-25, God stopped me and asked, “What does your faith look like? Do you trust Me enough to tell a mountain to move?”
“‘Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.’” – Mark 11:22-25
Many times in Jesus’ life, He used parables, or real world examples, to explain things He was trying to tell His disciples, people listening to His teachings and eventually tell us. He knew if He used heavenly terms, we would not be able to understand, so He used terms we would be able to wrap our minds around. In this instance, Jesus used something as seemingly impossible as moving a mountain into the sea so we can realize that God can truly do anything through anyone He chooses, specifically anyone who believes in Him, as long as we believe He can and will.
Through these verses, Jesus was also showing us some specific conditions that must be met when we enter into prayer with our Father. The first one is you must be a believer. You must believe Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for your sins and that your sins have been forgiven. You must also believe Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” and “no one can come to the Father except through” Him (John 14:6). God hears our prayers and wants to give us the desires of our hearts, but He can only do so if you truly believe in Him.
The next conditions coincide with one another. Jesus shows us our motives in prayer must be pure and our requests must be for the good of God’s kingdom. To begin with motives, we need to have faith in God and not in the object of our prayers. If your focus is not on God and on your request instead, then you are praying with selfish motives in mind. If we continually focus on our requests, then what happens when our request is refused? Will we be devastated? Will we be angry at God? If your requests are centered and focused on God’s will instead of an object, then you won’t be devastated or angry, instead your thoughts will be in line with God and furthering His kingdom.
Jesus gave an amazing example for us to model our prayer life after. In Mark 14:36, Jesus prayed to His Father, “Everything is possible for You… Yet not what I will, but what You will.” In this simple prayer, Jesus made such a complex statement. He knew nothing is impossible for God. He also desired God’s will and not His own. Often, our prayers are motivated by our own interests or for our own gain, and Jesus is trying to teach us this is wrong. God wants our requests and prayers to be made for the good of His kingdom and not for our own advances. Our Father wants us to pray and talk to Him. He wants us to tell Him about our lives, expressing our wants, desires, hurts, frustrations, joys. Overall though, God wants us to pray with His will in mind instead of our own. It was at this point God stopped me again and asked me to check my prayer life. When I pray, do I have His will in mind or my own? Am I praying for the good of His kingdom or for the good of my world? Am I asking God to align my desires with His?
Lastly, Jesus informed us about forgiveness. When we enter into prayer with our Father, we must not be holding a grudge against another person. Forgiveness is tough work and definitely takes some God-power sometimes. Many times in life, though, people would rather take more effort to do something shameless against someone who has wronged them instead of forgiving them to begin with. Of anyone who should know how hard it is to forgive, we should look towards Jesus. Jesus was sent onto this earth with the sole purpose of having ALL of the sins of the world draped on His shoulders. More so, He was to forgive all those who wronged Him, beat Him, called Him names and eventually killed Him. He was to forgive US of the sins we have committed against one another, against Him and against His Father. Jesus could have chosen not to show forgiveness, yet He chose to show forgiveness and compassion. What is stopping us then?
Mark 11:12-14 reads: “The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’”
Jesus’ example with this fig tree is in direct relation to our prayer life if we bear a grudge. The fig tree had many leaves on it and looked as if it should bear fruit, yet it did not. If we pray while holding a grudge against another, then we are showing as though we could bear fruit, but we cannot. If we claim to have faith in God, if we claim to be followers of Christ, yet we do not forgive those around us, then we are being fruitless for God’s kingdom. If we have faith in God, are followers of Christ and truly let Him guide our ways, He will show us the great plans He has for our lives to be fruitful for His kingdom. For our churches, for God’s people, to have prayer power, there must be harmony and forgiveness evident in the body of believers. We must learn to let go of hurts, abandon past grudges and forgive others who have wronged us.
True faith can change any heart. True faith can break down any wall. True faith seeks peace. True faith seeks love. True faith combined with God-centered prayer can dismantle pride and vengeance. True faith combined with God-centered prayer can fill the holes in a broken heart with love. True faith combined with God-centered prayers can move mountains. All of these are ONLY possible if we are walking with God instead of trying to walk on our own. With God’s help, He can teach us to have true faith, He can teach us to pray for His will and not our own. I want and desire to have mountain moving faith, what type of faith do you desire?