Today it is easier then ever to find a person. Maybe it is a long lost high school or college classmate. Or maybe it is a friend who moved away and you lost contact with them. Not too long ago, the most common method of locating people was finding them in the white pages of the phone book and them either calling them or writing them a letter. But today, very few people use phone books any more. And pen and paper, what is that? Nowadays, finding someone is often only a click of the finger away. All you need to do is get on social media or do a Google search, and voilà, you’ve found them! And once you do “find” them, you will likely “talk to” them not by calling them on the telephone but rather by sending them an e-mail, text message, instant message, post on their Facebook page, or via some other electronic method.
While the method to “find” and “talk to” people always seems to change, the way we talk with God is still done as it always was, through prayer. Prayer is our primary method to converse with God. You cannot find God on social media and He does not have an e-mail account. God does not have office hours nor does He have a toll-free hotline to call in case of emergency. But God is available 24/7/365! He wants us to talk to Him through prayer. He is old fashioned. He likes personal contact with us. And not only does God desire for us to pray, He wants us to prayer with urgency and expectancy. Not an arrogant expectancy that says “I desire it,” but rather, with an urgency as if your life depends upon it and an expectancy that not only does God hear your prayers but also that He responds. In Psalm 5:3 we see David praying in that attitude, “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectancy.”
Jesus tells us that that faith is important in prayer. In the Gospel of Matthew we see an interaction between Jesus and His disciples. The story goes like this – Jesus was hungry and He passed a fig tree. He found the tree bare except for leaves. Jesus said to the fig tree, “May you never bear fruit again!” And the tree withered. The disciples who witnessed this were amazed and they asked Jesus, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” And how did Jesus respond? We pick up the story in Matthew 21:21-22, Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith an do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but you can also say to the mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer.”
In Matthew 9:28-29 we see Jesus interacting with two blind men who asked for restored eyesight. Jesus asked them this question, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They answered “Yes, Lord,” and Jesus touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you” and their sight was restored.
While faith is important in prayer, it is only by the grace and goodness of God that our prayers are answered. If you do not ask according to God’s will then it is not real faith. If you have faith and sincerely trust God, you will find yourself praying as Jesus prayed, “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
What does that verse mean when it says “you will receive whatever you ask in prayer”? We will answer by contrasting two verses. The first is found in James 4:3, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Now contrast that verse with 1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”
So today we ask you… Do you believe that God can wither the fig trees and move the mountains that are in your life?