Does this mean that if we believe hard enough that what we ask for has already been granted, we will get anything we ask for in prayer?
NKJV - 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
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Simply put, it means that you should put no limits of what you ask of God. Eph 3:20 tells us that God is able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think..." However, all prayer has to recognize His supreme sovereignty--i.e., what you are asking for may or may not be in His plan. Unanswered prayer is sometimes the best outcome. I can't think of how many times I have prayed for something only to watch God's handiwork roll out a completely different and better plan. You always have to acknowledge His sovereignty and pray according to His will, just as Jesus taught us. Matt 6:20. God is not a genie to grant your every wish. As the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for. In the case of a Christian, it may not always be what God wants for you.
Don't interpret Mark 11:24 to mean, “If you pray hard enough and really believe, God has to answer your prayers, regardless of what you ask.” This kind of faith is not faith in God; rather, it is only faith in faith or faith in feelings. True faith in God has to be built on His Word (John 15:7 -- "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you"--Beloved, WE MUST ABIDE IN HIM AND LET HIS WORD ABIDE IN US; Rom. 10:17 --"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."), and His Word reveals His will to us.
NKJV 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. You must first believe that you receive them. THEN you WILL HAVE them. You will receive it later. WILL, not a conditional. It is a sure thing, you will receive it. But you must first BELIEVE THAT YOU RECEIVE THEM. So the first condition is to BELIEVE.
First of all we need to remember that the disciples were all Jews. So when talking to people that are used to following the law, it would be common to use a saying that would point to something, kind of pertaining to the law or God's righteousness. So, I take it that this is the Christian way of stating Psalm 37:4. It is saying that whatever you want, just ask for it as it is what God wants also. These men, once they are filled with the spirit, will only want the righteousness of God. So Jesus is saying that they will get whatever they want. It will be righteousness. An example of the same is in James. He says it is by faith plus works. Remember who James is writing to: Jewish converts in exile. So, he is saying exactly what Paul says. But, Paul is talking to gentiles that do not have the law. So he does not mention works. Only faith. James is appealing to people that are used to doing works to appease God. So he gives them the speech that faith is dead without works. The truth be told, faith produces fruit of the Spirit, which is manifest as good works. This is of course the Spirit working in you. We cannot do good works apart from the Spirit working through, and in us. But in us in the sense that we are submitting to the prompting or law of the Spirit. We cannot produce fruit on our own. Paul doesn't need to give anything to compare to, because gentiles are just sinners dead in their transgressions and they don't have the law. I know this is dragging out, but I now have to explain. So even though the gentiles do not have the law, by keeping any part of the law, they have became a law unto themself. I had to tie that in to make all you scholars happy. This last part had nothing to do with my original point. Anyhow, Jesus talked to the disciples in a way that they would relate to from a Jewish perspective. So did James. Only Paul went to the gentiles, and his letters reflect this. Although Peter did go to Cornelius the centurion, and his family.
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