Mountain-Moving Prayer

 We are all familiar with the topic of “Prayer.”

We can define it in many ways. But let me give you a simple definition of “Prayer” – it is the communion and communication between God and human being.

It is communion because it involves a fellowship, relationship and worship. Do you know God on a personal level? Are you having fellowship with Him which means there is a relationship going on and that brings worship? It is communication because it involves a hearer and a speaker. It is a two-way communication. God speaks to us through His Word and we listen. We speak to Him and He listens. How often do you communicate with God? Do you have a regular time set aside for Him?

Let us look at what the Bible has to say from Mark 11:22-24

Mark 11:22-24 (NIV)

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

The Context

The immediate context can be found in Mark 11:12-14. The scene was Bethany about two miles South-East of Jerusalem and the time a few days before His death. As they were walking along Jesus got hungry and seeing a fig tree from a distance, they went to find out if it had any fruit, but found nothing. Jesus used the fig tree with “nothing but leaves” to illustrate the barren state of Israel due to unbelief. Jesus pronounced judgment on the tree, and on the next day Peter commented on the withered tree. So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.” And the Lord used this object-lesson to teach the disciples about faith and prayer.

The question I want us to explore today is this:

Q. What does it mean to pray a “Mountain-moving prayer?”

First of all, uprooting mountain and be cast into the sea is a hyperbolic statement. It is an overstatement…an exaggeration. In this verse it is not literal but figurative and symbolic. Now, to fully understand and to give accurate meaning to the text and avoid misinterpretation let’s consider the following observations:

Mountain-moving Prayer

Observation #1: Mark 11:24 should not be taken as a blank promise.

When Jesus said, “…whatever you are for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Does it mean that you’ll get anything you ask for? Does it mean anything you want…? No, it’s not! It should not be taken as a blanket promise. We cannot isolate this text from the rest of the Scripture. One of the principles to understand a certain text in Scripture is what we call “Scripture interprets Scripture.” We use other Scriptures to give light on the meaning of a certain Scripture. We find certain qualifications (limitations, conditions) on the meaning of this text. It must be…

1. Praying in the name of Jesus, Jn. 14:14,

“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Every time you pray it must be in Jesus’ name. To pray in Jesus’ name is more than putting J-E-S-U-S at the end of your prayer. To put the name of Jesus in your request (asking in Jesus’ name) is to put His character, reputation, authority, His totality…the person of Jesus Himself on the request. And so, when we talk about asking in the name of Jesus, what we’re saying,

“Can Jesus put His name on this request?” Can Jesus put His reputation, totality on this request? Would Jesus put His signature on it? Would Jesus pray the same prayer for you? Jesus must be honored in that request.

2. Praying in God’s Will, 1 Jn. 5:14,

“…that if we ask according to his will, he hears us.”

When Jesus said, “…whatever we asked for in prayer, he hears us…” part of the condition is that it must be according to God’s will. So, if we ask something outside of His will it will never be done.

3. Praying with the right motive, Jas. 4:3,

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…”

When we ask with wrong motive to satisfy our selfish desires…we cannot expect God to grant it because we are asking with wrong motives. It must be kingdom prayer…bold things for God.

4. Praying must be in keeping with God’s command,1 Jn.3:21-22,

“…if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.”

If our hearts are clean before God, no unconfessed sin, we obey him and do what pleases him, God will answer. He is willing to respond to our prayers!

5. Abiding prayer, Jn. 15:7,

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

Remaining in Christ and His words conforms us to the Father’s will and it gives certainty that God will answer us.

6. Persistence in prayer, Luke 18:1,

“…we should always pray and not give up.”

We don’t just pray one time…two…three…but we continue to ask…we persist in asking God until the answer is given.

Observation #2: Some prayers are not granted.

We must understand that God may answer our prayers with a “NO.” There are specific prayers that are not granted…Example Paul…2 Cor. 12:7-9. Three times he pleaded for healing (to take away that torn in the flesh) but God answered “NO.” The reason was mentioned in verse 7 so that Paul will not be conceited or to keep him humble (because of the great revelations given him). Sometimes when God said “NO” at the moment we may not understand but later on He will reveal to us why He did not answer.

Observation #3: Believers are not promised a trouble-free life.

Believers are not promised a trouble-free life (Jas. 1:2-3; Jn. 16:33). Troubles, trials, testings come as part and parcel of life. It has a purpose…for our own good! Understand this: Anytime we have trial, trouble, testing or difficulty yes we can come to God in prayer but it does not mean God will automatically remove them away. We cannot make an assumption that whenever we bring to God a trouble, suffering or difficulty He will remove them away from us. But He promised to give us grace in facing it…

Now, let’s go back to our question

Q. What does it mean to pray a “Mountain-moving prayer?”

Mark 11:22-24 (NIV)

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Four things to challenge us…

I. FAITH-FULL PRAYING, v.22.

Recite v.22. Recite Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Mark 9:23, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” The kind of prayer that moves mountains is faith-full praying. Faith sets no limits on God’s power. Whenever we pray, we are putting ourselves into the hands of the One who is Lord, and who can do far more abundantly than we can ever ask or imagine. God is in the mountain-moving business! He knows exactly what to do to remove any and every mountain that comes our way. God is able to do anything and everything! He is willing to release His supernatural divine powers in human circumstances if He can find somebody or someone who is willing to believe Him and expect Him to do it.

Q. Do you believe that can do the impossible…move the mountain that keeps you from being the person God wants you to be? Do you believe that God can move the mountain of difficulty in your life?

I believe that God is just as much in the mountain-moving business today as He was 2,000 or 4000 years ago. What He is looking for are men and women whose hearts fully trust Him and believe that He will intervene in any and every human circumstance.

II. FERVENT PRAYING, v. 23.

 v.23. “…if anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”

Fervent prayer is bold, powerful, fearless…serious prayer. It is a kind of prayer with all your body, soul and spirit raising up your voice into heaven. It is a kind of prayer that believes that only God can do it. A kind of prayer that comes to God expecting Him to do something. Elijah demonstrated this twice in his ministry. In 1 Kings 18:38-46. He was up against 850 false prophets and challenged them once for all in a battle of really is the true God. He asked the Lord to hear him so that the people may believe God and turned their hearts back to Him. The Lord answered him and consumed the sacrifice. He killed all the false prophets. And then in James 5:17-18, He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain for 3-1/2 years. And again, he prayed and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops.

If we are to see this nation change…this Church change…if want to see our leaders change…our life change…if we want to see our loved ones saved…it can only come by God’s intervention and it must be through fervent praying. God does not want us to approach Him hesitatingly, but rather with confidence and boldness.

Weak, little, hurried, small, lighthearted prayers that we lift up to God won’t get the job done. God is not going to change a life…make miracles…change a Church…or turn the world upside down with that kind of praying. God waits to see a heart-filled, serious prayer. If there is a time when the people of God need to lie prostrate and kneel before the Lord and pray with fearlessness, boldness, seriousness with anticipation, with excitement, with expectancy…this is the time! Say it…this is the time…to pray fervently!

Q. Is your prayer heart-filled? Is your prayer serious enough to move God’s heart and hand? Are you communing and communicating with Him or just giving Him a grocery list of your requests?

III. FAITHFUL PRAYING, Luke 18:1.

Luke. 18:1,

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”

Faithful praying is importunate, persistent prayer. It is a prayer that is constant, consistent, and continuous until the answer comes. God will move the mountain, but He does not give a timeframe. If you don’t give up in prayer, your mountain will give up in your prayer. The world says, “To see is to believe…” but in God’s economy it is the reverse…“To believe is to see…” We are called to believe before we can see it. We need to be persistent and to be patient in waiting for God’s answer. A prayer that moves mountain is a prayer that approaches God expecting Him to do something and not giving up until it happens.

Q. How many of us are wiling to pray with the same persistence, diligence, tenacity (firmness, holding on) and determination that Jacob had when he wrestled with an angel?

He said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me…” (Gen. 32:26).

God is looking for people who will hold on to Him, to bombard heaven, to keep on asking until the asking becomes praising and thanksgiving.

IV. FASTING AND PRAYER, Mark 9:29.

 Mark 9:29, “This kind can come out on by prayer (and fasting).”

Another kind of prayer that moves God’s heart and hand must be mixed with fasting. There are times that we need to fast. It is a great weapon to move your mountain. Fasting is a demonstration of our complete humility and dependence on God. As we fast, we are putting God first above everything. Fasting declares that our devotion to Him is more important than eating, more important than sleeping, more important than anything else

God is the mountain mover; we are the instruments; but prayer is God’s means for moving the mountain. He is looking for people who are willing to pay the price.

Q. Are you willing to pray the price? Are you willing to bear the burden of God? Are you willing to be God’s instrument for change? Are you willing to be used by God?

 

V. What now?

There is no better way to learn prayer than to pray. There is no better way to experience mountain-moving answers than believing prayer. There is no other response to God’s challenge than to PRAY more (for God’s glory and less for our own!

Read Mark 11:24…Jesus Himself gave us the secret …

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

 1.ASK God.

Are you asking God to do something that only He can do? Are you asking God to move a mountain in your life? Maybe you have asked God many times for many things but you have asked Him for things that might or may happen even without His intervention. You have asked Him for ordinary things. Why not ask Him for extraordinary things? Today, God tells you to ask for things that only He can do! Let me ask you: How many of you here are praying for God to do something that only He can do?

            2. BELIEVE God can.

If you are going to pray a mountain-moving prayer you have to believe. Believe that God can. Believe that the God who created all things…powerful… sovereign…sustainer of all things can do more than we can ask or imagine. That He can do what we ask of Him. Example: If you have a sickness and you come to God and are praying that God will do something about it…before you can really pray about that you must settle in your heart that you believe that God has the power to do something about it. Amen. Believe! Say it…Believe in God!

If you believe everything about God. If you believe everything about Jesus. How He raised Lazarus to life…how He fed the 5,000 men…how God divided the Red Sea…Whatever you ask of Him, it will be yours! God is willing to respond to your believing prayers!

Believe that God can do the impossible…incredible…extraordinary…believe that He still do…and will do today.

            3. CLAIM the answer.

Jesus tells us, “…believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” The promise of God is definite, “…it will be yours.” Because God is God, we may be sure that he is at work answering our prayers even before we pray them.

In prayer, God’s part is to move the mountain; our part is to believe and receive. The believing prayers we pray today are certain of fulfillment. Receive it…Claim it!

God honors our faith. God honors our believing prayers!

Into Life

No prayer offered in FAITH can ever FAIL. God ALWAYS answers believing prayer. ALWAYS! Nothing is too great to ASK and nothing is too HARD for the Lord. Let us be the Church that TAKES God at His Word. KEEP on praying!

 

 

This message based on Mark 11:22-24, was prepared and delivered by its Senior Pastor Rev. Gernan Villegas at Emmanuel Church Ministries International in Makati last Sunday January 7, 2017.  It is second in a 2017 series entitled, “Adventures in Prayer”.

 

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