“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matt 21:21-22 (NIV)
These are amazing words from Jesus and, if we’re honest, they promise something which seems far beyond much of our experience with prayer. Unfortunately, in our headline dominated “bite sized” news era we are conned into reading the Bible the same way. If we’re really to understand what Jesus is teaching us about the power of prayer, we have to see the whole picture, not just the headlines.
Take these words of the apostle John, the beloved disciple. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 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 what we asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)
These words challenge us to think of our prayers in the context of our understanding and knowledge of God’s will. Knowing someone’s will or intentions suggests a relationship with that person, knowing how they think, how they feel, what their hopes and dreams are, what skills, resources and energy they can bring to bear to accomplish those things. Now we can begin to see that prayer is more than turning up with our intercessory shopping list, prayer is developing a deep intimate relationship with the all-knowing, all seeing, all powerful, totally creative living LORD Jesus. What an exciting prospect.
Colin & Chrissie Greaves