Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.’ (verses 22-24)
Read Mark 11:12-26
Jesus taught in such a way that people would remember what he’d said. He told unforgettable stories. He used bold language to make a point. Often, as in today’s reading, his language was figurative.
Taken literally these words of Jesus would be a recipe for despair in our prayer life. Who literally could pray with such faith that a mountain would move? The expression ‘mountain mover’ was applied to Jewish teachers who could unravel and explain the most difficult passages of Scripture.
What, then, can we learn from this passage? We are reminded that prayer without faith is futile. Such prayer would insult God, because our lack of faith would show that we did not believe he had the power or inclination to help us.
But prayer with faith brings results. The unlikely, and even the ‘impossible’, is promised to us when we pray believing in God’s power, mercy and love.
Jesus reminds us too that our Father wants to give us ‘whatever you ask for’. God’s nature is to give gifts of love.
O God, who offered King Solomon much more than the wisdom and understanding he asked for, give us a thankful heart as we pray, and grant us the wisdom to ask in faith for those things which please you. Amen.
by Ray Schulz, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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