As we continue through the book of Mark, this week we find ourselves reading a verse that can sometimes be a stumbling block for those facing unanswered prayer.
Jesus said in Mark 11:24
“…whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Was Jesus teaching us that the key to answered prayer is having a storehouse overflowing with faith, making answered prayer more about us and less about Him? Of course not. This verse set in the context of the rest of the Bible reveals that our attitude in prayer should be confident in God’s Power while coupled with submission to God’s Will.
Now I would be remiss if I let anyone think it is their fault if their prayers aren’t effective. Remember, that faith is about God, and if we could pray our way to success or to answers the prayer would be about us. That said, the issue of unanswered prayer is far too complicated to be covered in a 400-word blog post. So if you are struggling with unanswered prayer, if you are wondering where God is, or why something is happening, or if you are doing something wrong, I urge you to talk to Pastor Derek or one of our ministry leaders at Chapel. I would also offer the suggestion to read Pete Greig’s book, God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer. It’s an excellent read.
In it he writes,
“I asked for strength that I might achieve; He made me weak that I might obey. I asked for health that I might do greater things; I was given grace that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy; I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I received nothing that I asked for, all that I hoped for. My prayer was answered, I was most blessed.”
It takes great maturity of faith to realize that even unanswered prayers can be and are blessings from above, from God who loves you dearly.
Read Mark 11:1-33. The focus on Mark 11:23-26. What did Jesus identify as some conditions for effective, answered prayer?
How do the following verses clarify Mark 11:24? John 15:7, James 4:3, 1 John 5:14