(Jesus speaking) I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. – Mark 11:24 (NLT)
At some point during His ministry, Jesus visited Galilee, where He once lived, and a man approached Him and asked Jesus to heal his son. Jesus does, though the boy is not actually there in person. There are a lot of things I like about that story. I like that the people of Galilee welcomed Jesus. They invited Him into their lives. I like that the man approached Jesus confidently with his request, and that he didn’t doubt Jesus could grant it. I like that Jesus did grant the man’s request, even though it was in a completely different way than the man expected (he wanted Jesus to come to his son, but Jesus healed his son from miles away). And I especially like that the man believed Jesus did it as soon as He said it was done, before he could actually confirm it was true. (Read it all here.)
The last time I read that story, it made me think a lot about how I approach God in prayer, and the ways He’s answered that sometimes take me by surprise. It also made me think of what Jesus says in Mark 11:24 – that when we pray, if we believe we receive it, it will be ours. I feel like that’s a big one to wrap our heads around, especially because so many times it’s misquoted or used way out of context. But also because Jesus says it’s true.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot in the past few weeks. Not so much intentionally as it’s just been popping up in my mind as I read Jesus Is _____. by Judah Smith and go about life. It got me meditating again on grace.
The ultimate message that Jesus came to give, and still gives us daily as we live in Him, is that God loves us and nothing can separate us from that love. Jesus died on the cross to demonstrate that love and to seal the deal that we’re no longer held captive by our sin. All we have to do is believe it. To not second guess His love.
So perhaps the same goes for what He said about prayer. Maybe it all starts with believing in God’s love. Over and over God tells us that we can boldly approach Him and expect to find mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16), that when we look for Him with all of our hearts, He is there (Jeremiah 29:13-14), and that when we come close to Him, He comes close to us (James 4:8). I’ve been carrying those verses around in my purse all month and reminding myself of those truths almost every day.
It seems like when we believe God loves us, we might be better able to see those blessings He’s offering us or more willing to accept grace freely given. We’re more likely to believe that He’ll meet our needs when we ask Him to and that He’ll give us good gifts just because He loves us. And we can better distinguish between an answered prayer and a loving “not yet just wait” as well as tell the difference between what is good for us and those things we’re praying for that maybe aren’t the best solution to the problem (been there, done that more times than I can count).
I’m sure there’s a lot I’ll be taking from this verse for the rest of my life, but I love that it all starts with God’s love. With knowing how much He cares for us and believing that He wants to give us good things even when they come differently than we expected.
I’ve never met a person who exaggerated God’s love. Never. It’s impossible. He loved us first, he loves us best, and he will love us forever.” – Judah Smith, Jesus Is ______.
What about you guys? What do you think of when you read this?
P.S. More good stuff here:
Original photo of “Looking Toward Heaven” by Anita Peppers from morguefile.com. Text and overlay added by Stephanie Oh.