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The other night, my husband and I spent some time in prayer. The next morning he left my Bible open to this verse for me to read.
Mark 11: 20 – 24
“Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
22So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
If you read some of the stories in the books of Acts you can see amazing things the apostles were able to do in the name of Jesus. Peter and John were going to the temple and told a begger to get up and walk in Jesus name. He walked. Paul prayed for a sick guy and he was healed. He even got bit by a snake and nothing happened to him. When Peter was taken captive one time, the other believers prayed and he was miraculously led out of the prison cell by an angel, even though he was chained and had two soldiers watching him.
When I read these stories in the Bible and all of the stories of Jesus healings, I sometimes think, why don’t we see these things more often, today. The Bible says, Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever, so, He hasn’t changed at all.
When reading the stories of Jesus I noticed He admires the faith people have, and He includes their faith in the healing. One guy however, when Jesus asked if he had faith, covered his bases well. The guy admitted he had faith, but asked Jesus to help his unbelief. And Jesus did.
This morning while reading this passage, I wondered about times my prayers didn’t seem to be answered.
Did I not have faith?
Did I doubt?
I prayed and asked God how can a person live in such a way that this verse would be a reality for their lives? And I asked Him about the times where it seemed my prayers weren’t answered. (God always answers prayer, yes, no, later, or in a different way than we plan for Him to answer.)
The first thing that came to my mind was the story of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemene just before he was taken to be crucified. In Luke 22:42, He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
So praying is more than just asking. Praying is putting our request before God and then aligning it to God’s will.
Jesus made the request to have the cup taken away from him, but it was the Father’s will for Him to die for the sins of the world. And Jesus walked in the Father’s will. After all the miracles and raising others from the dead. He died on the cross for us.
Another story in the book of Acts about Paul is, he was told he would be bound when he went to Jerusalem. Now this is a guy who previously praised God while bound in a jail cell and all the prisoners were set free. Then the jailer came to know God through that incident. This is a guy who was stoned, dragged out of the city and taken for dead. But Paul got up and walked back into the city. But yet, when told he would be bound in Jerusalem, there was no way out of it. He was in captivity for a while and wrote some of the letters in the New Testament.
Peter stood before a crowd and brought thousands to a relationship with Jesus. Peter was freed from a prison cell. Peter healed many. And yet was crucified upside down (it is said he didn’t feel worthy to be crucified the other way like Jesus) on a cross.
Each of these stories brings glory to God the Father. Each time it looked like it was a negative answer, it brought good to many, many lives.
Luke 18:1 – 5
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying; “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Do I give up to soon?
Do I need to keep praying about the issue?
Or is just time to let it go and accept the answer is no?
I’d say, the answer is, to keep on praying and believing for the answer, until the outcome of the prayer is clear.
A prayer for health, for financial crisis, a job, a salary increase, a home, a family, a career move, a relationship, a spouse, no matter what it is, until the Father makes His plan clear, keep on praying and believing. Because the Bible says in
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.