Thursday, November 02, 2006

"Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24.

Whenever I read through a Gospel, I am confronted by bold promises of the possibilities of faith. I know this question is in some ways old hat, but do we believe this promise about prayer? We tend to interpret these 'faith' verse in order to mitigate the possibility that Jesus really meant anything supernatural would happen. But I'm noticing that when Jesus talks about the powerful possibilities of faith, it's usually related to something supernatural happening: moving mountains, calming seas, feeding multitudes, withering fig trees. So, again, do we believe this verse?

5 comments:

-Dave said...

Unrelated: You need to change your links at the left. You say "Cost of Discipleship" twice, though one link is for Saturday Jones.

Ρωμανος ~ Romanós said...

This is the project of the rest of my life… If Jesus meant it when He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," and if He was serious when He said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the Age," then why would He send us up a blind alley by saying, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, you will obey what I command."

I am always on the lookout for anyone and anything that can open the door to this kind of faith for me. I believe it's possible. Now, I'm asking the Lord to lead me out of my unbelief, no matter what it takes.

-Dave said...

Yes and No. I'm sure Jesus was giving trustworthy and accurate statements, but I am unconvinced by my personal application of it.

I'm more than willing to attribute it to personal error or weakness or faithlessness. But I lack confidence in praying boldly for "whatever" and expecting to receive it. I lean heavily on the Spirit knowing what I need and asking accordingly, and on "not my will but yours" caveats.

I want to believe. But the last time I went ahead "believing I had received it," I managed to drop right off a cliff.

Kenny said...

I'm in about the same place as Dave. Honestly, I feel like I've experienced Jesus' words as true; the problem seems to be that there are just so many prayers I don't really believe will be answered. And I've found that the little prayer that could ("I think I can, I think I can") doesn't seem to do it.

My question then is 'how do we grow our faith?'

Ρωμανος ~ Romanós said...

Sorry, brothers, and I'm sorry for myself too, but I cannot let go the idea that Jesus is trying to get through to us with sayings like the one quoted. When I first saw the film The Matrix, I knew it was a modern metaphor for the (true) Christian life. (I'm talking only about the first Matrix film.) I know it was grabbed up by Buddhist and Kabbalistic Jewish speculators as being metaphors of their chosen disciplines, and I don't mind that. But as an Orthodox, I saw the film and scene by scene could relate it not only to Orthodox Christian teaching and practice, but also to my own experience of the same things.

In history, there are instances of people of such great faith, rare but there, usually non-sensational. I don't know how, but I know this is what God in Christ has intended for us since the beginning. How little faith we have!

And so, brothers, I reiterate, I am always on the lookout for anyone and anything that can open the door to this kind of faith for me. I believe it's possible. Now, I'm asking the Lord to lead me out of my unbelief, no matter what it takes.

I am prepared to move out into the totally at risk zone, and in fact, that's the only place where I think this faith can become a reality. But who is it that can find the door to that place? And what will it look like, what will I look like if I find it, from the outside? What does the place of the skull really look like from the sheep pens? Can that only be known by those who are willing to pay the ultimate price, and hang with Jesus on the Cross?