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Prayer That Moves Mountains (Matthew 21)

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Matthew 21:22

We are a people of many words, in a culture with an ever-increasing sea of countless words. We might easily think that a greater prayer life means saying more words. While more speaking may be a byproduct of more time with Jesus, that is not primarily what God desires to increase. Hopefully this news comes as a relief in our noisy society. 

Right after His final entry into Jerusalem, Jesus taught his disciples a key to effective prayer that we have largely lost or overlooked. To avoid being presumptuous or appearing heretical, we have backed away from His simple bold statements and have done so to our own loss. But we as modern-day Christians would gain much by embracing this truth correctly.

On the day we know as Palm Sunday, Jesus entered the temple mount and cleansed the temple. The next morning, as Jesus journeyed back to the mount, the disciples were stunned by the withering of the fig tree. But Jesus replied, “If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done” (Matthew 21:21). In short, what seems like an impossible, insurmountable obstacle can be overcome and is promised to be overcome for the one who believes God.

When He said, “this mountain,” the mountain at hand was Zion, where the temple was, where the Messiah was about to be killed. “This mountain” was the religious force that had been called to represent God but was actually obscuring Him, even seeking to put God incarnate to death.

The mountain is especially daunting because it obscures God from our vision. In the disciples’ day, the mountain was religious hypocrisy, which crucified the King of Kings. But on the third day, it became clear that no mountain, not even death itself, could stop Jesus Christ. That which seeks to silence God and keep Him hidden will always crumble.

What becomes clear from all of this is that God is a God who longs to be seen. He desires to be known. He says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). He has also said, “from the rising of the sun, even to its going down…My name shall be great among the nations” (Malachi 1:11). I believe God is tired of being misrepresented in our generation, just as He was in Jesus’ day, and is eager to be seen as He truly is.

When the love of God and the will of God become cloudy for you, no matter what has caused it, do you believe that God longs to be seen and known by you? Do you believe in a God who longs to get glory from your life by casting that mountain of confusion into the sea? If so, then as you cry out to God about your weakness, your trial, your battle or confusion, you need have no doubt that God will break through. He will make a way for you, His son or daughter!

We think we need to say more words, but God wants to increase the faith behind our words. We can be assured that any time we are asking God to guard our eyes, to purify our hearts, to enable us to serve Him more fully, He has already said, “Yes.” What may be hindering us from seeing the answer is the belief that the mountain before us is greater than God’s ability to make a way for us.

God has already told us to preach the gospel to all creation. He has already instructed us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so we can be reflections of Him and living proof that He is real. So why should we be timid to hope for souls to be saved, or shy about praying for God to reveal Himself to people? We cannot control the outcomes in people’s lives, but we can be certain God wants to hear our prayers for others. “I exhort…that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1). A few words asked of God in faith is more effective than endless doubtful praying.

-Pastor Alex

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