Greetings….we have heard that if we have enough faith we can have anything we want through prayer. Well, who doesn’t remember these Words of our Lord:
“but even if to this mount ye may say, Be lifted up and be cast into the sea, it shall come to pass; 22. and all — as much as ye may ask in the prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:21-22) (Young’s Literal Version)
But, wait a second! Didn’t Jesus pray 3 times that His crucifixion be taken away from Him? Didn’t Jesus have faith?…..well, of course. Didn’t Paul pray 3 times that his “thorn in the flesh” be taken away from him? Didn’t Paul have faith?…..well, of course. And, of course, neither received their prayer request.
Fortunately, we have the whole New Testament so that we can clarify what is said in one place by what is said in another. This is called “rightly dividing the word” (2 Timothy 2:15…Young’s Literal Version), or, putting all truth in its proper place or perspective. One or two verses sometimes do not stand alone regarding a truth and they need to be understood in their proper context based on what is said elsewhere. This is the case here.
Regarding answered prayer, then, there is another verse in 1 John 5:14 (New American Standard Bible) which brings Matthew 21: 21-22 into balance : “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us.” (Emphasis mine). Also, have we in James 4:3: “you ask and do no receive because you ask amiss”.
Actually, Jesus acknowledges this also in Matthew 26:39 (New American Standard): “yet not as I will, BUT AS YOU WILL.” (Emphasis mine) Answered prayer always depends on whether it is according to God’s will and whether we do ask amiss.
Thank goodness God and Christ Jesus are there to pan out what we ask for from what we really need. Much of the time, we have no clue as to what we really need, and how blessed we are to have a Father and Savior who know our necessities to the nth degree and beyond.
So, if you don’t get what you want in prayer, even though you may have the faith, be thankful that your prayers were not answered AS YOU WANTED THEM TO….because God and Christ Jesus know best as to what we really NEED, and this in itself, is their answer to our prayer.
See you later, in Christ.
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