Today’s Reading: Matthew 21
Theologian John Calvin said, “To know God as the Master and Bestower of all good things, who invites us to request them of Him, and still not go to Him and ask of Him—this would be of as little profit as for a man to neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him and he had the map.”
Jesus gave us a map and it’s called prayer. Right after Jesus spoke to a fig tree because it had no fruit, the “marveling” disciples asked, “How?” How did Jesus speak to that thing that was not producing fruit? And then Jesus revealed two treasure map verses:
Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
All things you ask in prayer, believing . . . you will receive. There are only two hurdles to get over in order to get to receive: (1) you must ask and (2) you must believe. They seem simple but they are challenges we all face.
Hurdle #1: Asking
Statistics suggest the average Christian spends three to seven minutes a day in prayer. Our asking is limited today. If “asking” is what gets us to receive, we are not even asking very well.
C. S. Lewis may have captured the enemy’s plan for the Christian in his Screwtape Letters, a fictional letter of instruction to the demon Wormwood: “Interfere at any price and in any fashion when people start to pray, for real prayer is lethal to our cause.”
F. B. Meyer said it like this: “The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” Let’s make a commitment to fight busyness and get to prayer.
Hurdle #2: Believing
There is a difference between believing someone and believing in someone. The first one deals with existence. The second deals with character and who they are.
To have faith in God is to believe He is and who He said He is.
Suppose you tell a friend you have faith in her. What does that mean? It means two things. First, you are sure the person you are talking to actually exists. And second, you are convinced she is trustworthy; you can believe what she says and trust in her character. Believing in prayer is believing who God said He is. Faith honors God and God honors faith. Faith cashes God’s checks. Faith in God will not get you everything you want, but it will get you everything God wants you to have.