McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: Ge 41, Mk 11, Job 7, Ro 11
Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:23-25)
These verses list two conditions for answered prayer: (1) to believe and not doubt, and (2) to forgive. Keeping in mind other teaching on prayer from Jesus we must note that it is prayer “in the name of Jesus” that is the answered prayer, that is, prayer that is in accord with God’s will. This is not an invitation to just any prayer request. The example that Jesus gives about the mountain being taken up and thrown into the sea is a reference to a specific mountain, “this” mountain is what he says, the one on which the temple was built. He gives this teaching in response to why the fig tree that he cursed is found withered and after he has just cleansed the temple. It is a prayer for judgment to come. That’s a sobering thought. But you must believe and not doubt. Do you believe that God’s judgment is real? The second condition thus brings hope. If you forgive then you will be forgiven when that judgment comes. But it also means that if you pray for judgment to come you aren’t doing so because you want revenge on those that have wronged you (remember, you must forgive), but because the way of salvation is hindered, the glory of God, in other words, is at stake. Is this the thing that drives your greatest passion?
I believe God’s judgement on believers will be especially tough. I rejoice in my salvation, but the rewards part is what is sobering for me. I pray I hear, “Well done my faithful servant”, but then again…..