Mark 11:24-25 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Verse 24 is one of the most famous in the whole Gospel of Mark, but it is important to note that verse 25 follows it immediately. Those who have faith in faith, rather than really trusting the only One who is worthy of being believed, seize on verse 24 as an unconditional statement, but verse 25 should give pause to that. We are to trust the One to whom we pray, but we also need to be in sync with Him for our words to have the power of His. That’s what Jesus was talking about in His many instructions to “pray in His name.” (John 14:13-14, etc.) In those days someone’s name was seen as being indicative of their essence, their very being. You could claim to do something in someone’s name (Mark 13:6, e.g.) without harmony with that person, but you couldn’t really act in their name without it. We very glibly tack “In Jesus’ name, amen,” onto our prayers without any real thought of whether we are in harmony with His character and being led by His Spirit. That’s why verse 25 here is so important. If we are harboring unforgiveness against anyone, we certainly aren’t in harmony with Christ! When we are in harmony with Him, then we do need to believe and trust that our words echo His, and will be accomplished.
This is an issue I have heard a great deal about over the years. “Word of Faith” teachers have indeed benefited the Body of Christ, but there have also been many abuses, leading to the pejorative term, “name it and claim it.” That kind of thinking ignores such passages as James 4:3. I have certainly experienced magnificent answers to prayer, but I have also prayed and gotten no results that I could see. Frankly, that’s where faith and trust come in. I must not discard the faith I have simply because some formula I was using didn’t seem to work. Faith is neither mathematics nor magic. We can’t just “plug in the numbers” and expect things to happen, nor can we use special incantations and move the universe. For myself and for those I lead, I’ve got to focus on whom I believe, rather than anything else. (2 Timothy 1:12) I need to ask, seek, and knock, (Matthew 7:7-8) while letting Him be Lord and trusting that He knows everything I need before, and better, than I do.
Father, thank You for this clear reminder. Thank You for Your amazing, gracious faithfulness toward me. Help me be faithfully obedient to You, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!