Believe and Receive

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
– Mark 11:24

I’m always amused when Bible teachers try to make excuses for God. As if He needs excuses.

Case in point: the above verse from the Gospel of Mark very clearly says that whatever you ask for when you pray, believe that you receive it… and you will have it.

There doesn’t seem to be any “wiggle room” in that promise, does there?

Either the Bible says what it means, and means what it says, or not. There are plenty of other straightforward promises of answered prayer, too, just like this one, in the Scripture.

So how do we explain it when we ask for something in prayer, and do not receive it? Especially if we feel that we really believed for the answer?

While it’s not always possible to know why this happens, it is possible to know this: the shortcoming is not on God’s part.

He does not lie about His promises.

It’s also possible to know that it is His will that we be healed, saved, and delivered. We know because He tells us so in His word.

When we are disappointed in the results of our prayer, it is important to remember that we don’t know all the truth.

Now let me be clear: I never condone the position of saying that it’s the fault of the sick person, or the lack of their faith, or some sort of judgment from God that resulted in the sickness. I don’t believe any of that garbage for a minute.

I also want to be clear that I do not believe God makes us sick, or causes us to suffer, so that we can learn some sort of lesson, or so that we can “build character”.

I do know that God’s delays do not equal God’s denials.

I know that He who has promised is faithful.

I know in Whom I have believed, and I know that He is able.

You know these things too: and they are enough.

If you are ever discouraged because you feel that God has not heard your prayer, know that you are not alone. King David often felt the same way, and he shared those feelings in the Psalms that we have as part of our Bible today. King David also came to the conclusion that God is faithful, and in the end we will understand the perfectness of how God does answer our prayers.

The foundation upon which we build our faith is this: God is good, all the time.

Declare that truth in your life, and be looking for the manifestation of His goodness.

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Don

    Ray, thanks for this. I am so sick of hearing those who toss extra phrases into passages like this, like “if it is God’s will”, or “if you have done these certain things”. (Ummm, doesn’t that amount to adding to Scripture, which we’re told not to do?)

    At the beginning of this year, God spoke something to me through His Holy Spirit: “Don, we need to do something about this double-mindedness of yours”. As always with the HS, it came in a polite and gentle way – but it stopped me in my tracks. I had, for years been praying for something, and five minutes later coming up with a backup plan.

    I have stopped doing that, and the results in my prayer life have been simply amazing.

    A typical case in point. I got a call from my friend Ann on the afternoon of February 3. Her husband, Julius, whom I have known for 20+ years, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in his esophagus, back, and stomach. A group of us went to their house that night and anointed Julius with oil and prayed for him for complete healing and restoration. Since that time many other people have prayed for him as well.

    I saw Ann this past Thursday evening. Julius has now been tested (with two confirmation tests following) NEGATIVE for cancer. His healing of Stage 4 was complete in less than 90 days.

    All this to say: Never doubt the power of God. Know that the true power of God is love. Know that Jesus died so that God could share that love freely. When you ask for something – anything – receive it knowing that God truly has given it to you. Don’t doubt, hold on, and don’t make backup plans. God already “has your back”.

    Blessings,

    -Don

    • http://rayedwards.com Ray Edwards

      Praise the Lord! Bless Him! THAT’S MY KING!

  • http://www.simonbyholm.com Simon

    There’s a couple other places in the bible that have a bit of a different angle on the same topic.

    John 15:16
    You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you
    might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you
    ask in my name the Father will give you.
    John 16:23
    In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

    Here’s the phrase “in my name” added, and it’s not the preacher that added this but the bible. So this has to be about two different situations, or maybe it’s two different perspectives on the same thing, or the context should explain it if we were Jews living during that time and had the cultural programming to really understand what hes talking about… no that many during that time understood what he was talking about anyway.

    Anyway if you search for “in my name” at biblegateway, most of the time it’s used in the context of prophets speaking the words that GOD TOLD THEM to speak.

    Deuteronomy 18:20

    But a prophet who presumes to speak
    in my name
    anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

    So using that interpretation John 15:16 would read

    You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you
    might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you
    ask the Father (that I told you to ask him) he will give you.

    So that would tell me that when I pray to God for something that’s also what God wants and I believe, then I will get it. Don’t for a moment think you will get God to do thing that’s contrary to his will just because you command him “in his name”

    This has some implications:

    – God might not give me wealth ifI am greedy (a sin)

    – God might have me suffer to bring me closer to him (if I am stubborn and otherwise wouldn’t come) Read Job, the apostle Paul also praises God for tribulations that makes him humble.

    – If we live in pride, God might bring us down which might feel terrible at first but if we repent we will get a richer lift close to God

    The main reason for not getting what we pray for is likely that we have sin in some area of our life (we all have), that we are opposed to the plan of God (without knowing it perhaps), or that it’s just not the right time, we might have to wait

    Sin is pride, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander, greed, malice, decite, lewdness, envy, arrogance, folly, strife, gossip, being boastful, disobeying you parents, being without love, fidelity and mercy, having idols, getting drunk, swindlers, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, disorder, bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, anger, filthy language, love of yourself, love of money, proudness, abuse, ungratefullness, unholyness, being without self control, being brutal, treachery, rashness, loving pleasure rather than loving God, having a form of Godliness but denying its power, hypocrisy, impurity, debauchery, witchcraft, hatred, dissensions, factions, orgies

    That’s all from the new testament, found by searching for pride and slander.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
    23
    gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    Gal 5:22-23

    Isaiah 48:18

    If only you had paid attention to
    my commands
    , your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.

    John 15:10

    If you keep
    my commands
    , you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

    To live a rich life It’s not enough to believe in Jesus for forgiveness of you sins, you have to actually obey his command and turn from sin, because sin will make your life miserable.

    I do believe when we walk “in his name”, doing his will, we will get all we pray for. Helping those that have a difficult time and spreading the gospel is two things that on a general level is his will. Having a new car in not necessarily his will, it depends on the context

    Matthew 6:33

    his kingdom
    and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    And for those of you sick, I don’t tell you it’s your fault, that’s between you and God, I’m not the one to judge.

    And the above is just my opinion and if you feel I’m making the wrong conclusions you may be totally right, I just try my best.

    God bless,

    Simon

    • http://rayedwards.com Ray Edwards

      Simon,

      Thanks for taking time and care in your reply.

      I agree that we are to ask “in His name”.

      If we are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), we will ask things that prove the will of God.

      Where we diverge is on the issue of God having anyone “suffer to bring me closer”. Jesus never said to a sick person, “Receive some leprosy so you will be drawn closer to me”. He said, “Receive your healing.”

      Jesus healed everyone who came to Him.

      Job was a book filled with bad theology, PRESENTED AS SUCH.

      As for the reason we don’t get what we ask for being some “sin in some area of our life”, I think Jesus paid the price for all of our sin already. So we can’t be paying it again, or we crucify Christ again and declare His payment on the cross to be not enough.

      What shall we say then? That sin should increase so grace can increase all the more? By no means! But those who are in Christ love Him and are dead to sin. The Bible clearly says “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” (Romans 8:1)

      I agree that sin will make your life miserable, but that’s not God’s doing — it’s our own.

      I return to my former statement, the core and foundation of all my faith: God is good, all the time.

      Thank you and be blessed — in Jesus’s name!

      • Don

        Ray, I’m guessing if I mentioned the name Joseph Prince you would break out in a smile. His books and teaching have radically changed my life over the past couple of years. I keep copies of his first book, Destined to Reign, on hand at all times, just for giving away to people who want to learn more about grace.

        You are richly blessed, highly favored and deeply loved!

        -Don

  • http://www.anewdawnnaturalsolutions.com Dawn Burnett Webb

     I am a firm believer in what you have written Ray! I just wrote a book, “True Confessions of the Heart” to declare this very thing!! My book is available at Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com Thanks for your blog and speaking truth! Blessings, Dawn Burnett