Today's verses are Mark 11:24-26: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in payer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 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." God loves to give good gifts to his children. He delights to answer our prayers (see Matthew 7:11). He is a loving Father who, like all loving fathers, delights to give to his children who ask of him.
The Father in heaven is able to do all things. He is able to answer every prayer we ask. And when we pray according to his will, in his way, with the right conditions, we can believe we have received that for which we've asked.
But there are conditions the Father outlines in his Word regarding answered prayer and our ability to believe we have received. What are they?
1. We must pray with right motives (James 4:19). Our hearts must be humble and pure. We must want God's glory, not our own. We must desire God's heart to be shown, not manipulating God for our own selfish desires. Above all else, we must want God's name to be honored with our request.
2. It must also be according to God's will (I John 5:14). God has a plan and purpose for all our lives. We must pray that his will be done above all else. What if we're not sure what God's will may be? We may ask God to give us some verification for our prayers, to see if we're praying rightly. Or we may ask for his perfect peace, which is sometimes a way God shows us we're praying rightly. Or, if still uncertain, we may have to simply leave it in his hands and trust him. We know he works all things together for good for those who love and serve him (Romans 8:28,32). We trust our loving heavenly Father with the answer, knowing he only wants our good and his glory. Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, we may need to pray, "Father, all things are possible for you. Yet not what I will but what you will (Mark 14:36).
3. We must get rid of all unforgivenes in our hearts. As we pray, Jesus said, we should stand (perhaps to show God how serious we are about his prayer?), and forgive "anything against anyone" we've held in our hearts. That's all encompassing, isn't it? "Anything against anyone!" We're to let it go and give it to the Father in heaven. The grudge and bitterness only hurts us. A person has hurt us, then they continue to hurt us by our bitterness, makes no sense! It's silly and stupid for us to hold bitterness within. Yet Jesus gives another reason we should forgive: so that God can forgive us. He said the same thing in the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). Our ability to forgive others, according to Jesus, is inextricably connected to the Father's ability to forgive us. Plus, apparently, our unforgiving heart blocks God's power for answered prayer. Who wants this?
The Father in heaven has the limitless power to accomplish all things. We should have great confidence in his power to answer prayers. But we should also have Jesus' attitude of confidence in God's power plus submission to his will. Similarly, we must pray with God's appointed conditions for answered prayer to occur.
When we do, we can "believe we've received". The answer is most assuredly ours.