Monday, June 11, 2018
Why don't we get whatever we ask for in prayer?
Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Wow, what a promise! Look at what it says, WHATEVER, you ask for in prayer. Whatever? That's one incredible promise. Then why doesn't it work for most people? I've seen countless believers pray for things that they never get. They claim that Scripture, they beg, plead, fast, and get others to join them in prayer. But still nothing.
So, is God a liar? Did He mean something else? Are we misinterpreting Him? I don't think so. The real key here is the phrase "believe you have received it". NOT "believe you will receive it" NOT "hope you might get it" but you must believe you have already received it. Even though you don't see it with your natural eyes. The first part of the verse clarifies that by saying "does not doubt in their heart". This is not a head belief. This is a heart faith. Faith is present, hope is future. Hope is in the head. Faith is in the heart.
You may remember that I posted on this topic recently, but I felt I needed to expound a bit, not only on the type of faith, but on the "whatever" you pray for. You see what you pray for and the strength of your faith go hand in hand.
A baby Christian may look at this verse and pray "Lord, I want a new car or please get me this better job, or I want to marry this man" And when they don't get what they asked for, they get mad at God and begin to doubt Him.
The key is found in your walk with the Lord. The kind of faith that believes before it sees and acts on that belief is the kind of faith ONLY found when a person is walking very very close to the Lord. This is a person who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, body and strength, who hears from the Lord regularly, who thinks about the Lord all the time, prays continually, who is obedient, who sacrifices personal comforts and desires to follow Jesus. This is a person who is completely led by the Holy Spirit. When a person is like this, they not only have the faith to believe for something before they see it, but they also would never ask for anything outside of God's will. Since they hear from God, and they know the Bible inside and out, they would know what His will is. And because they are close to God and know Him, they would have no trouble believing that if they prayed for something within God's will, He would do it!
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15
But you must know the will of God and to do so, you must have a close walk with Him. Jesus wasn't kidding when He said to take up your cross, deny yourself and follow Him. He wasn't kidding when He said that you must seek FIRST the Kingdom of God... and then all these things would be yours.
The other key, of course, is believing in your heart without any doubt and then acting on that faith as I said in a previous post.
What prompted me to write this post was a few email exchanges I had with a young man who was asking the Lord for a certain girl's hand in marriage. He said that several "prophets" had also given him words that he would soon be dating this woman. When nothing happened, he took a nose dive into depression and began to doubt God. His emails became more and more depressed and angry, the last one saying something about getting drunk and going back to the world. I tried to help him as much as I could. I encouraged him to read the Bible and spend time with the Lord, to seek a Godly mentor to talk to, to rebuke the enemy, etc... but none of it seemed to work. Honestly, it broke my heart while at the same time made me angry.
We expect God to fulfill all of our dreams, to make our lives happy and comfortable, and to answer all our prayers. The fact is, God doesn't owe us anything, but we owe Him everything. If He never did another thing for us but sacrifice His only Son so we could be saved, that is absolutely enough! Yet... He does want to answer our prayers, He does want to help us get through this life, and He does want to supply all our needs.
Want to receive WHATEVER you ask for in prayer?
If we are to claim our inheritance as His children, we must behave as His children. We must walk with Him, know Him, love Him, obey Him, and follow Him. Then we will know what to ask for in prayer and we can then claim the Scriptures above and have the faith to believe we already have our answer. God is a Father. He wants a relationship with you. And take it from my personal experience, knowing God intimately is far better than anything this world has to offer.