Approaching God Mark 11:22-26
When Peter saw the fig tree withered away from its roots up, he remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!" But rather than explaining the symbolic significance of the cursing of the fig tree, Jesus focused on the power of the prayer of faith - the means by which the miracle happened.
When a believer prays, the issue should not be whether God can or cannot do it since God has the power to accomplish all things. "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). The real issue is whether the request is God’s will. And if it is God’s will then God will definitely accomplish it. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).
But how do we know if our request is according to God’s will? Search the Scriptures and ask, “Is my request in harmony with God’s character? Is it in line with His plans for the church and the world?”
Nevertheless, there is condition for answered prayer – faith in God. Jesus said, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”. Furthermore, there is a precondition for praying, for approaching God – a cleansed life. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). To ensure that we have God’s listening ears, we must hate sin in our lives; and to obtain forgiveness of our sins from the Father, we must forgive our brothers and sisters. In teaching His disciples how to pray, Jesus said, “… if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Even in our regenerated nature, many of our prayers are often self-centered – always asking God to give us this or that. Prayer is more than asking. Do you know that God dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see (1 Timothy 6:15-16)? Do you realize that coming into His holy presence is itself a great privilege? Do we appreciate that access into His presence (possible only through forgiveness) is acquired at a great cost – the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:19-22)?
Spiritual Exercise: Try approaching God for one whole day without asking for anything but simply delighting in His presence … pray through the psalms, for example, Psalm 145.
One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.