Jesus says, have the faith of God. For truly I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says.
It is a Jewish philosophical phrase that if you come to a rabbi and you have a problem, which they call a mountain, something that prevents you from getting on with your life, you cannot get over the mountain, you can’t get around it, it's a big problem that has you stuck in life and you cannot move on. If the rabbi is a good enough counselor he will counsel you in a way where you will be able to remove that mountain.
What Jesus is saying here, He is not talking about if you have the faith of God you can go out here to these hills and start moving them around, but He is saying that if you have the faith of God, nothing is going to stand in your way. If you’re trusting the Lord, there will be no mountain that can stand there in your way.
Therefore I say unto you, (verse 24) What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Now some people really get tripped out by some of these prayer principles. The one, the text that I always make reference to in reference to prayer is 1 John 5:14-15. Mainly because John, the apostle John in these two verses He summarizes all the principles of prayer in the gospels all through the Bible, it is right here. This is exactly what Jesus is saying.
First principle is this: 1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have in Him that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.” I know that God hears my prayers when I ask for His will to be done. He will always answer that prayer. Never fails!
Secondly, “And if we know that He hears us, that is whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have desired of Him.” We have the petitions that we have desired! So, basically what is he is saying is if you come to Me and ask for My will to be done, and you have confidence that I hear your prayer and I honor that and I answer that prayer then you can have confidence that whatever it is, that's His answer.
Here are my thoughts on prayer. For me, prayer is not for me to practice principles to get God's Spirit to do what I want Him to do. Prayer is the means by which I express my submission to Him, but I am the one that is caught up in some kind of issue because I have to pray. God is not the one that has a problem, I do! So I go to Him and I tell Him that I have this situation. So He uses prayer first of all so that I can express my submission to Him in the situation, and I ask for His will to be done, but what I'm doing is that I'm now right with Him and I'm in submission to Him in the situation.
That's why I have to keep praying because when I get through praying, I go over to the situation and all of a sudden mentally and emotionally I get caught up in it again. I get worried and upset. And that's why I have to go back to prayer again. It is not because He didn't hear my first prayer, but after I submit it to Him and ask for His will to be done, I went back and took it over again. It is for me to handle. That’s not the way it works with the Lord.
That’s why James says you have not because you ask not. But then again, you ask and don't have because you ask it with the wrong motive. You ask it to spend it on your pleasures. And a lot of times people teach that today. What do you want from God? God says ask whatever you want, and I’ll do it. “Just believe, don’t doubt.” So we can go all over the place believing for things. And if we don’t get it, it is our fault because we don’t have enough faith. That’s wrong.
But if you notice in verse 24 Jesus says, therefore what things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. Have the faith of God. Trust in Him. Do we believe that He can be in charge of that situation? Do we believe that He has a will and a design? We have to trust Him.
How about this question? Do we believe that He is God? Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorites, “Be still and know that I'm God.” That is the opposite of someone running around like a chicken with its head cut off, believing that He is God. He is God! He is in charge! The way I look at it is that I'm out of control. Satan is putting me through the wringer in my flesh because of my situations.
Verse 25 says “And when you stand praying, forgive, if ye have anything against anybody: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. What we are saying in prayer is, Father forgive me as I forgive others. If I don’t forgive others then don’t forgive me and that's what He bases it on. When I ask Him to have mercy on me, do I have mercy on others? When I ask God to forgive me for my sins, do I forgive others their sins? God is saying that I dictate to Him how He must treat me.