When You Pray – Believe!

by Peg Yarbrough

When you pray do you believe? Or do you just wish?

Most of the good things that you are missing in your life today are the direct result of your own belief system. You say that you believe God, but when you go to Him in prayer is your attitude, “I sure hope this works…”? If so, that is NOT believing. Can you imagine that kind of doubt in David’s heart when he ran toward Goliath? Or in Jesus’ heart when he carried out the work of God? No! They had to know that it was going to work, before it came to pass!

In the last week of Jesus’ life he taught his disciples a great object lesson to illustrate this truth, which is recorded in Mark 11:12-24. And this is the key to unleashing the power of God in your life on a regular basis.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

When Jesus taught his disciples this truth he had just cursed a fig tree the day before, and the tree had died over night – backwards, from the roots up! When Peter and the disciples saw it the next morning they marveled at the effectiveness of his words, spoken to a tree. His disciples had heard him speak to the tree, and the next morning Peter exclaimed that the fig tree had already withered away. That opened the door for Jesus to teach them about what had just happened.

I love the fact that Jesus did NOT say, “Oh yeah, that was cool. Did you see how that tree died? It was a miracle. I can do stuff like that, but YOU guys can’t.” Instead, he taught the disciples how to do the same thing. How disheartening that would be if Jesus had taught them that it was only he who could do miracles.

In this record, we see that we have been given both permission and authority to carry out supernatural works. But today the average Christian will say, “Well, Jesus could do that stuff, but you and I can’t.” That was not Christ’s attitude. When the disciples questioned what had happened Jesus immediately started teaching them how to do the same thing!

The first thing to notice in this lesson is that Jesus had spoken directly to the tree, “he said unto it.” (Mark 11:14) Too often today folks cry and moan to God about their problems, but Jesus spoke to his problem under God’s authority.

Speak the Word to your problem.

Don’t talk to God so much about your problems,

talk to your problems about God!

Next he said, “Have faith in God.” He did NOT say, have faith in your own faith. But he put the onus in the right place, have faith in God. It is God’s power that brings to pass the supernatural, not yours. God supplies the power, and you have the authority to use it. That is how Jesus did the wonderful works of God, he walked in God’s power and authority.

I am 100% confident that Jesus cursed the fig tree because God told him to. Jesus said of himself that he always did the Father’s will. And so when he spoke those words to the tree he did so in absolute faith, knowing that the Father’s power was behind the words he spoke. What Jesus spoke, he believed, because he had faith in God. (v22)

Then Jesus takes the lesson up a notch by pointing to a mountain, which is a whole lot bigger than a fig tree.

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23

Please notice that verse 23 is addressed to YOU, “For verily I say unto YOU,” that if God tells you to move that mountain over yonder, and you believe that it is God’s will, then when you speak to the mountain is has to move. It was one thing to speak to a little old fig tree, but move a mountain? That is what Jesus said is available to those who walk in God’s power and authority.

These are very powerful and yet humbling truths. It is impossible to walk like Christ filled with pride. That will never produce these results. You have to follow in his steps in meekness and humility. This sounds like a paradox, but that is how it works.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

I can’t think of a time when the Lord commanded a mountain to be moved, but I can think of a time when He had Moses part the Red Sea for a few hours. That must have been awesome. If you have ever seen that depicted in the movies, it is a very powerful scene. That same God that parted the Red Sea is the same God who has filled you with His power. He set up life so that if you have any need (not greed) that is according to His will, (I John 5:14) He has promised to bring it to pass. Big or small, there is nothing He will withhold from them who love Him.

What a loving Father. I truly believe that we are God’s passion. He knows the very number of hairs on our head. (Luke 12:7) That is why we can walk in faith, because He’s got our back.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

Whenever a sentence starts with “therefore” it is going to draw a conclusion to that which has preceded it. In Mark 11:24 Jesus told them to believe that they were going to receive what they prayed for. We need to ask ourselves what preceded that concluding statement.

So what is the “therefore” there for? Previously Jesus had instructed the disciples to (1) speak directly to the problem. Then he told them to (2) take their eyes off of themselves, and to have faith in God. He had also told them that if it was God’s will for them to move a big old mountain, and they did not (3) doubt in their heart, it would absolutely come to pass. “Therefore,” with that attitude in mind, “when you pray, believe,”that God had already provided them and you shall have them.

It’s all about our faith in God.

Take your eyes off of yourself and focus on God.

Too often, when we have a need, we go to God with a score card of how good we have been. We need to go to God with a scorecard of how good He has been. Thankfully, God does not give us what we deserve. He gave Jesus what we deserve so that He can now give us what Jesus deserves! Think about that. Jesus carried our sins and shortcomings to the cross with him, so that we could be joint heirs with him NOW.

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; Romans 8:17

God’s word is His bond. He has already bestowed upon us loads of great and precious promises. When we claim one it is no surprise to God. He doesn’t have to hurry up and figure out how to supply it. From a spiritual perspective, everything we could ever need was supplied on Calvary 2,000 years ago. Health, prosperity, love, peace, and joy, are just some of the things that are ours right now. The life that we are living today is a direct reflection of how many of those promises we lay claim to.

I believe that God’s consuming desire is to provide for and to protect His children. And so He designed life so that we can be with Him for eternity AND we can have all the things we need to make it through this life just fine.

Do you have faith in God? When you pray do you believe, or wish? We need to make a conscious decision to refute the doubt that tries to creep into our mind, and to believe our heavenly Father instead. That is an exercise of our will, and Jesus set the supreme example for us to learn from.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:29

There is an old song, “You Can’t Make Me Doubt Him.” The choice is ours alone, no one can make you doubt or believe. We need to choose to trust in the Lord at all times. Right now make a conscious decision to take God at His word. Such a simple but life changing truth:

When you pray – believe!

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