So Here Is Prayers That Move Mountains and Why They Matter To A Sovereign God by Louise W. Murphy
In Matthew 21:20 “Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, Go throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done.'” How does this verse apply to the life of a modern day Christian? To you and to me?
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) These similar yet deepening repetitions suggest Jesus wants to impress us with an important truth: that we can and must expect answers to our prayers.
They also emphatically point to His understanding of our hearts, and how doubt and distrust toward God are our natural responses. He knows how easily we can check the box “time spent in prayer” without having vulnerable hearts and without any real expectation of a specific answer — even though we believe God is the Hearer of our prayers. Grabbing hold of the promise of answered prayer isn’t a half-hearted religious work — it’s spiritual and very intimate.
To be clear, I’m not a believer in the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity gospel. Sometimes God’s answer is a refusal, because the request is not in alignment with God’s Word. He will redirect our petitions, but He doesn’t leave His seeking children in uncertainty as to His will. Secondly, any honest prayer in relationship with the Father through Jesus is good, and He will use it for His purposes. There are many kinds of prayer. He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him. Here, I’m exploring prayers of tremendous faith, because I have avoided them.
I feel challenged to authenticity in my prayer life. God’s asking me to explore what’s true about my actions and my heart for prayer? My faith? If I believed all Jesus says about my prayers — would it not change everything?
Admittedly, I’ve been contented with “politically correct prayers.” I knew God wanted me to pray, but I didn’t always understand why. I believe part of prayer’s purpose is to align my will with His. Sometimes I was confident of where He led me. Other times, not so much — so I rambled prayers that made sense from my best human understanding. It’s hard enough discerning HIs will in my own life, how could I consistently know His will around the lives of others?
Intercessory prayer has been confusing and even frustrating to me at times. But I knew, for some reason God understood (but I didn’t), I was to pray earnestly for others. My MO was to pray in broad, sweeping stokes of obedience. I covered a lot of bases, asking for safe things like salvation, wisdom, peace and blessings. For security I always added a qualifier, “These are my wishes, God, but your will be done.” It felt right, surrendered, and submissive to pray this way. I’m not saying these were “wrong” or “bad” prayers, but definite answers to specific prayers of great faith were the exceptions, not the rule in my daily experience.
God has a special will for the prayers of each of us. Just as we can’t do all good things, we can’t effectively and boldly pray for all things. We must ask Him for guidance in prayer. Sometimes I seek God’s will only in my inner feelings and convictions through the Holy Spirit. Other times I rely strictly on the Word. I’ve found I have the most confidence in prayer when I spend enough time to marry the two. When I am abiding in Him, listening to the Holy Spirit, and allowing the Word to dwell and abide in me, I learn what God wants me to pray for, and His will in the situation.
It takes a lot of intentionality to keep my heart and life under His influence day by day. I regularly lose my focus on Him, and my spirit (and prayer life) wanders. The desire of my heart in alignment with Him is weak and often not visible in my actions. The world wins my attention and affections way too often. But the joy of those faithful prayer times, when His will is clear to me, is addictive. I turn back to Him time and time again.
God wills a tremendous amount of blessings to His people that never come to them. Despite his earnest will and perfect love, they cannot come, because we do not will it. We were created with free will: one of the Bible’s great mysteries. I don’t pretend to understand it, but it does seem through our salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, our free will is also renewed and redeemed. We can align our will with His, when we die to self.
God has chosen to make the execution of His will, in many (not all) things, dependent on the will of man. Much of God’s will that is revealed in His promises will only be fulfilled as our faith accepts it. Prayer is the catalyst by which otherwise inert blessings come to pass. Faith is the power by which God decides how much of His will shall be done in us.
It’s God’s very Nature to love and to bless, but He leaves it up to us to pray and petition where the blessing is to come. What an honor! I’m learning in baby steps through joyful faith, not grit, to add bold prayers of faith, once I know His will, to my conversations with God.
Of course I’ll never fully understand God or prayer while on earth — both are way larger and more mysterious than my mind can comprehend, but growth is always my goal. I welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments below. We can all learn from each other. It’s also a great time to mention I would be honored to pray for you — specifically. Just ask!