The first post of this series of three discussed the critical importance of concentrating on the goodness of God when we pray rather than on our own worthiness (apart from Jesus’s finished work) or our own level of faith. We saw in Scripture that Jesus said we only need faith “as a mustard seed–the smallest seed” to receive what we need from prayer. This post looks at where we get our mustard seed (and much more) faith so that we enjoy powerful prayer.
Translation contrasts: The first is a popular modern translation and the second is Young’s LITERAL translation which word for word considers the original languages Greek for the NT and Hebrew for the OT. Greek has more complexity than English so that modern translations often oversimplify to the point of missing the true meaning.
Mark 11:21-25 (NIV and many other modern translations)
21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.
23 “I tell you the truth, 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.
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (NOTE: This is before Jesus’s crucifixion/resurrection.)
Mark 11:21-26 (YLT) (from original Greek)
21 and Peter having remembered saith to him, `Rabbi, lo, the fig-tree that thou didst curse is dried up.’
22 And Jesus answering saith to them, `Have faith of God; . . . (also translated as “the God kind of faith)
Faith is a continuous gift from God through His Word (both logos and rhema) or (Scripture and God’s ‘still small voice in our spirit). Where does faith come from? Can we conjure it up under our own power?
17 So belief (faith) cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
“word” = #4487 Strong’s “Rhema” (rhematose) or “God’s/Christ’s spoken word” we still receive. )
Two of many Scriptural examples of successful/powerful focus and answered prayer:
I hope you take time to study this woman’s focus which she thought and, some accounts say, spoke. She prophesied based on her faith and didn’t even realize she was doing it. Words and thoughts are the most powerful things in the universe that God SPOKE into existence.
ONE: Mark 5:24-34 (NIV) 24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,
28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?'”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (NOTE: This is only time Jesus calls a woman “daughter” in his ministry.)
This woman’s focus was NOT on her own faith but on Jesus’s grace. She was a Jew and had been considered unclean by others for 12 years—isolated and discouraged by earthly means of healing. She probably knew Hebrew Scripture and, therefore knew Malachi 4:2 (NIV) 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. “ Thus she was strengthened by having heard God’s Word recited aloud throughout her early life as well as hearing of Jesus’s ministry as He walked the earth as her contemporary.
TWO: Matthew 8:5-13 (NIV) This man understood Jesus’s authority against the enemy and we must remember that Jesus paid for and passed that authority to His followers of which we are members.
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.
6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
Neither of these persons seeking healing were focused on their faith. They were totally and completely focused on Jesus and His compassion. Neither was conscious of their own faith but they were aware of His grace—indeed of God’s grace and faithfulness. “Grace” means”undeserved favor”. We can’t DO enough to deserve it but Jesus did it for us.
When we see His grace, He sees our faith.
He loves us and wants to lavish His love and mercy on us.
He also wants to inhabit our worship of Him. Worship and praise opens the interface between the earthly realm and the heavenly realm.