“All things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive” (Matt 21:22). All things? A world cruise on a luxury liner, a new BMW? How about just healing Auntie of the vile cancer!? “And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). Anything? Are such requests unlimited in number and scope, or must there be no more than three in number per lifetime and be confined to such things as finding those lost keys or wallet? Ever prayed for that neighbor that cut off his hand at work to grow a new one, kind of like the lepers Jesus healed that presumably grew new fingers or perhaps noses? “Delight yourself also in the Lord; and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Ps 37:4). How many of you have desired to win the Mega Lotto? I would be thrilled to receive the “mind of Christ” and have a “new heart and right spirit” but so far, and I’m 74, nada! These kind of texts are numerous and could fill several pages.
Perhaps these texts don’t really mean what they seem to say on their face and contain some conditions, that first must be fulfilled. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). In my case I certainly do believe that God exists or I would not be writing this post, and have sought Him for most of my life. Having fulfilled the two conditions, where are the answers? “You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3). There goes the new BMW but what about the neighbor who got his hand cut off at work? “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Ps 66:18). This should pretty well cover all those unanswered prayers, for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and have a righteousness “that is as filthy rags.” But wait, Psalm 103:1-3 says, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.” There’s that word “all” again. Most Christians would argue vehemently that God always forgives all sins, but get pretty quiet about the “heals all my diseases” part. You can’t have one without the other. He either does both or He doesn’t do either!
To be continued….