Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | September 13, 2015

September 13, 2013 “The Genie In The Lamp”

“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” (Mark 11:24)

Good Morning Believers, and Blessed Lord’s Day to All!

What an extraordinary statement Jesus makes in Mark’s gospel regarding prayer! Does this mean that so long as I believe what I am praying, no matter how outlandish or unimaginable it may be, that my request will be granted? Suppose I were to pray for untold wealth to flow to me, does that mean it would instantly be mine? What about a more noble prayer, like world peace? Were I to pray and ask God for world peace today and believe that God would immediately bring it, then it would be so? It doesn’t seem to work that was, does it? I am reminded of a joke I heard about two little boys making their bedtime prayers:

Two boys were spending the night at Grandma’s.  At bedtime, they knelt beside their beds to pray.  The youngest one said at the top of his lungs,

“I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE….

I PRAY FOR A NEW HDTV….

I PRAY FOR A NEW PLAY STATION….”

His older brother interrupted.  “Why are you shouting your prayers?  God isn’t deaf!”

“No, but Grandma is.”

Prayer is not meant to be some sort of “magic wand”, nor is God like the proverbial “genie in the lamp” standing on the ready to grant us whatever our heart desires at any particular time. So what does Jesus mean by this startling claim? I believe it to be this: when we pray, we should do so with the confidence in a God who desires the very best for us, and believe that he truly is the giver of “every good and perfect gift.” While we may imagine that untold wealth is a “good and perfect gift”, God understands that upon receiving such a gift, most likely we would either no longer turn to him in prayer, or would regard him as nothing more than some great celestial “bellhop” standing on the ready to grant us whatever foolish or self-serving thing we desire.  But what about world peace? Surely this is a noble prayer, right? In his song “Imagine”, John Lennon paints a view of such a halcyon world, beginning with the thought “Imagine there’s no heaven…it’s easy if you try…no hell below us…above us only sky.” The notion or even the need of God would soon be dismissed in our minds. Jesus does instruct us that faith and prayer are inseparable partners. Prayer partnered with faith is powerful. It is faith that God is well able to answer our prayers. It is also important for us to understand that the prayers we lift up to God be of such a nature that they are in accordance with God’s perfect will. Prayers that advance us spiritually, prayers that bless others, prayers that liberate others from the imprisonment of a destructive life, prayers that impact those around us in positive, Godly prayers are those prayers that are in accordance with God’s will as it has been revealed to us in his Word, and are prayers that we can believe in faith will be answered positively by God. In fact, the verses that immediately precede this astounding claim of Christ have to do with an abiding faith in God…a reminder to his followers of the goodness of God in which we can trust implicitly. That’s his word…his promise. So pray believing. Let’s pray!

Gracious God; you are the giver of every good and perfect gift. As we pray, we do so in faith and in confidence that the prayers we lift up to you will be answered appropriately and always for our benefit. We praise and thank you for this blessed assurance. We praise and thank you, God, for blessing us so richly. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

 

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