Calling out to God in Faith (Matthew 21:22) - Radical

Calling out to God in Faith (Matthew 21:22)

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
-Matthew 21:22

These are words straight from Jesus. “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” What are we to do with this verse, this promise from Jesus? What I’m guessing most of us are familiar with times when we have asked for things in prayer, with faith, at least as best as we could tell, with faith, and yet we didn’t receive what we were asking for. How do we understand this? Obviously we know and we see this similar promise at other places in Jesus’ teaching, we see if you ask for these things in my name, if you ask for these things according to your word, that’s part of why this podcast is called Pray the Word, because we want to pray according to God’s word.

Father, help us to be a people who are on our knees in faith. May we call out to You, trusting in Your providence.

But what about times when we were asking for things that we don’t have a specific promise for in God’s word, for this person who we’re praying for to be healed, for this circumstance to be resolved in this way that we want to see it resolved? There’s so many different examples. We could spend hours talking about different things that we ask for, before God and faith, that we don’t always receive. In light of that wrestling, when you hear a verse like this, I just want to encourage us, one, yes this is again why we call this podcast what we do, because we know that when we ask for God to be faithful to his word, specifically to his promises, to his ways, he will. We want to pray according to his word.

At the same time, it is entirely right and good to ask in faith for different things in our lives that we don’t know necessarily what the will of God is, we don’t have a word from God exactly about whether or not this person will be healed, and in what time they might be healed, or how this circumstance will be or will not be resolved, but that’s where I just want to encourage us with the pictures we’ve seen in Matthew 18, 19. We are like children in prayer coming to Jesus, coming to our father in heaven.

I think about my kids. They come to me and they ask for all kinds of things, and they ask me because they know, they’ve got faith. They know I have the ability to answer those things, but I don’t always give them what they ask oftentimes because I know things they don’t know, I see things they don’t see. I desire things for them that are good, that I know some of the things they’re asking for will not lead to. This is why Jesus says, “When you come to your father, know that when you ask for fish he doesn’t give you a snake. When you ask for bread, he doesn’t give you a stone.” If you who are evil, and I’m an evil father, I’m not a perfect father, I know how to give good gifts to my children and I want the best for them. How much more will your father in heaven give good gifts or the Holy Spirit, depending on what gospel you’re looking at, to those who ask him? Let’s just apply all this in prayer.

Oh God, we have so many things on our hearts. I am pleading every single day for my son in another country where I want to go get him as soon as possible. I just keep asking God in faith, would this be the day? Just make today the day. I’m asking him for months, and still not come to the day. I know there are others who are asking you for things, and they’re asking in faith, believing you have the power to do this, and yet you’re not responding in the ways we’re asking. We just come to you now in faith, before you as our father, and we say in faith that we trust you. We trust that you see things we don’t see, and you know things we don’t know, and you love us and you desire good for us, and you’re working all things together for our good. We say in faith, we trust you.

We want to ask for these things in our lives, our families, our churches, and just in the world, we want to ask for these things for other people’s lives. We want to ask for these things in faith, knowing you have the power to do the impossible. We read that in Matthew 19, you have the power to do the impossible. We trust in you. But we don’t just trust in your power, we trust in your wisdom, trust in your love, we trust in your knowledge, we trust in your goodness. We lay these things before you, whether it’s my son, or so many other things, and we’re sharing with you as your children, we’re sharing with you what we long for. You see the cries of our hearts, and as we express those desires to you, we say, we trust you our father in heaven, that you hear us and you answer based upon, not just your power, but your love, and your wisdom, and your unchanging goodness, and your eternal purposes, and your infinite perspective. We praise you God, and we pray with faith in you. In Jesus name amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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