“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
– Matthew 21:22
I propose to you that in today’s Christianity, this verse and others like it, have become more relevant in daily living than that of teaching repentance and the cross. We teach, “you should have” rather than “you should yield.” And why wouldn’t we? After all, Paul wrote, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Many times, however, we misinterpret what is being said.
For the true Christ-follower, the right things to think upon are the two greatest commandments; “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; And your neighbor as yourself.” Obedience to this does not elevate, it prostrates.
Does the Lord want you to be rich? Does He want you to get the next promotion because you have been overlooked many times and you feel you should be next? Does He want you to win the lottery, have the most prominent house and fanciest car? I don’t know, that is between you and your Maker. What I do know is that when following Jesus, He commands His disciples to share the gospel with others. When was the last time we prayed for an opportunity to share Jesus with someone? Jesus prayed to God the Father and said, “not My will, but thy will be done.” I believe in many cases, we have inverted that beautiful prayer of our Savior.
If you should receive anything from the Lord through prayer and believing, it must be done with all the conditions laid down in the Bible. The Bible tells us, “you ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Praying, asking with the right heart, and receiving will only begin happening in the Christian’s life when done in light of the full counsel of God. Jesus’ will and plans are those “true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable” things to think upon. And, you will only know what those are when you read His Word. These require yielding our will to the Lord, not wielding it before Him.
“If thy neighbor be honored of God, thank god for it; if thou art not so honored, be humbled, and pray more earnestly. If the blessing comes not to thee, still rejoice…”
– C.H. Spurgeon