"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.'"
This promise from the Lord Jesus leaves us wondering. It seems to be made without limits, without any cautionary notes. In fact the next verse says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)
What is the secret to answered prayer?
First of all, the Lord assumes that as we ask, we are completely surrendered to His will, so that we are asking for what He wants, as He lived surrendered to His Father’s will. The Apostle James explained it this way: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3)
Second, we often fail to ask at all, for whatever reason; usually because of a lack of faith. James explains that as well: “You do not have, because you do not ask.” (James 4:2)
Third, even as we pray, we are often holding unforgiveness in our hearts against someone else, and that clouds our ability to hear and discern the will of God. The Lord explained that even as He made this promise: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
And finally, of course, we must simply ask in faith, believing that God hears us and will indeed give us what we ask, as we pray according to His will.
So: Keep short accounts with God; confess any sin and walk in His forgiveness. Keep your own heart free of unforgiveness, so that you can more clearly hear His Holy Spirit’s leading as you pray. Seek to discern His will in the situation and align your own desires with it. And then ask with full confidence, simply trusting that He will give you what you ask. You will see miracles that you once thought were impossible, in answer to prayer.
Lord, I confess that there is much about prayer that I have yet to learn. Open the eyes and ears of my heart so that I am led by Your Holy Spirit in the understanding of Your will. Keep my heart pure and close to You, and give me faith to trust in Your promises. I know that You hear me when I pray, and will give me what’s good. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles