Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
To tackle this vs., I open with this question, did Jesus give believers a blank check to ask for anything? It sounds straight forward “…whatever things you ask when you pray…”. This needs to be looked at in the light of who we are in Christ. We should be driven to have the mind of Christ, be imitators of Christ, be conformed to the image of Christ.
Before salvation, most of our desires were wrong, selfish desires. Now in Christ, some of those still lingers and must be dealt with continuously. James writing puts us in check, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures”, James 4:3. James says often believers ask but they don’t ask for the right things with the right attitude or in faith or even with the right timing, therefore they miss.
My study of John 15:7-8 helped me understand Mark 11:24. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples”, John 15:7-8. Look at the starting point, “if you abide in me and my words abide in you…“, the end result, “bearing fruit for the Father’s glory”. If we abide in Him, our will, our desires, our drives are conformed to His. And what He desires for us becomes our desires. His desire is that we bear fruit. If we ask for things that will make us grow and bear fruit, more fruit and much fruit, He will grant to us those.
Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”, Matthew 6:33. Mark the word “added” not “given” because His kingdom first is the most important. What does the kingdom of God entail, Romans 13:17-18, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men”. In other words, we ought to seek to be more righteous, more at peace and more joyous, which in my judgement is the summary of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, because they hinge upon these three. Those who desire and serves Christ on these are acceptable to God and approved by men. This is more than changing things, it is more about changing us.
Lets listen more to the words of Jesus concerning those who abide in Him, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”, John 6:27. Paul echoes with these words, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”, Colossians 3:1-3.
All these will make greater sense after we look at Solomon’s prayer when God spoke to him in a dream. “At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”, 1Kings 3:5. Solomon was given a blank check to ask for anything. What would you have asked for, more money, great health, protection? Not with Solomon, he asked for wisdom to discern (the mind of Christ).“Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”, 1Kings 3:9. Solomon who penned these words “The lips of the righteous knows what is acceptable”, Proverbs 10:32 knew what best to ask for because he was abiding.
I love this, “The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice “behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. “And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days”, 1Kings 3:10-13.
This is how we should think and pray Mark 11:24 by keeping to heart John 15:7-8 with a great example of Solomon’s prayer in 1Kings 3. It always boils down to, what we desire. Will it make us more imitators, mind like and conformed to the image of Christ or our own? Lets keep this in mind, what we pray for the most will reveal what we desire the most. Blessings Ev