I’m one of more than 7 billion people on earth right now, and it seems almost presumptuous to believe that God hears me when I pray. The all-powerful universe-creating God bends his ear toward me when I direct my thoughts toward him.
It’s hard to believe.
In fact, it’s so hard to believe that I sometimes wonder how much we truly believe it.
We don’t struggle to believe he’ll grant our more mundane requests, stuff like food, clothing, and shelter, or safety and protection. We don’t struggle to believe he’ll respond to our abstract spiritual requests—for forgiveness, mercy, and hope.
But what about the spectacular stuff?
What about the extraordinary?
Does God still move mountains in response to our prayers?
Jesus speaks to these questions during his final week:
And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:22-24).
It’s clear that Jesus exaggerates to make his point. But this is another one of those passages where we sometimes talk too much about what it doesn’t mean and not enough on what it does mean.
It doesn’t mean that all we need to do is believe in order to receive. It doesn’t mean God will grant every request, no matter how ill-conceived.
But it means something. In fact, it probably means only one thing: We need to believe that God will do what we’re asking.
We need to pray trusting prayers, optimistic prayers, God-will-answer-me prayers.
Got an insurmountable problem at work?
A seemingly unfixable relationship?
A we’ve-done-all-we-can-do-for-you health problem?
Pray . . . trusting that God will remove the obstacle, fix your relationship, or cure your illness.
Pray . . . believing that God will throw that mountain into the sea.
He can, and often does, but his response may hinge on how confident you are that he’ll answer you. —Chuck