And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
To start the New Year, we are looking at a number of “what if’s” of faith. Last week I asked: What if the bible is really what it says it is (check out the post)? This week I want to ask, What if God is really listening when I pray? Lots of people pray. You pray for good weather, raises, arguments, projects, family, and many more. One of the biggest challenges to prayer that I have heard from people is that they wonder, is anyone listening? Or does it make a difference?
Most of you can tell a story of a time you prayed for something specific, a grade on a test, healing from an illness, reconciliation in a relationship, and the prayer was not answered as you had asked. I worded that carefully, it was not answered how you asked for it. Then once your prayer was not answered as you had asked, it squelched your excitement for praying in the future, and perhaps you even wondered, does this make a difference, is God really listening when I pray?
There is not shortage of verses in the bible about prayer. There is a whole book in the bible that is all prayers (Psalms), but what does it all mean for me? Is God listening, does my prayer matter? In these verses from Matthew the disciples see something seemingly impossible happen before their eyes, and Jesus seeing the shock on their faces shares this with them.
Jesus challenge is that it doesn’t take the prayer of a super Christian for God to respond, but you do need to pray with faith that God can answer it. My challenge to you in this new year is to pray as if God is listening, pray for God to answer your prayers, pray for the impossible, and believe that God will be faithful to your prayers. Jesus sums it up, whatever you ask in prayer you will receive if you have faith. God is always listening to the prayer of his people, and Jesus may not answer your prayer as you wanted, but God is listening and He will answer. So what will you pray for today?
- Do you have any prayers that feel impossible that you have held back? Pray them today, pray them each day for the next few months and be attentive to how God may answer them.
- What holds you back as you pray?