“…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
God’s Word has so many verses that hold blessings for His people. Most of us have at least one or two favorites. We love to hold onto those promises because they give us inspiration and a sense of security. But how often do we take one verse out of context, or truncate it, name it and claim it as our verse without ever reading or grasping the whole passage? We look for “Blessings-in-a-Box” that fit within the parameters of what we want, but our perception of the verse’s blessing is so much less than what God intended for us. We tend to think those promises mean God will give us whatever we ask – money, success, or whatever our heart’s desire is at the moment. But we can’t put God or His Word in a box. The truth is, God does want to bless us with all of His abundance, but His abundance is frequently in direct contrast to the world’s definition of what that looks like. His perspective is on Heaven, while ours is on ourselves. The Bible promises us treasures in Heaven that exceed all of our hopes and dreams; treasures that will far outweigh any discomforts we endure here. But true to human nature, we want it now, and we want it our way.
God wants us to see ourselves as He sees us: pure, perfect and Holy. He never wants us to experience shame, sickness, deprivation, loneliness and/or humiliation, but those things often result from our wrong choices. Just as earthly parents want to bless their children with good things, they will often deny them what they ask for because they know it is not what’s best for them. In fact, a lot of people are reluctant to accept Christ because they don’t want to give up the life they are living. What they don’t realize is that God does not ask us to give up anything, He just offers us freedom and release from the things that hurt us. When we accept Him, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts, and suddenly the things we couldn’t, or didn’t want to give up - things that could ultimately hurt us or cause us shame or self-hatred - lose their attraction. Admittedly, that can be a little scary, because without those addictions or lifestyle patterns, we can feel like we are losing touch with who we are. However, if we are honest, our lives would be so much better without those things, anyway.
God could give us riches or fame beyond our wildest dreams, but what He wants for us is a relationship with Him that is so rich, it keeps us close to His side because it is where we want to be…because He is the greatest love we have ever known. When He is our greatest desire, we will go to Him for everything we need rather than wearing ourselves out stressing over the struggle to manage worldly wealth, the pitfalls of popularity, and the devastation of failed relationships. (If He is at the center of any relationship, the closer you both come toward Him, the closer you naturally will draw to each other.) When God is our first priority, our needs and wants pale in comparison to the joy, rapture and glory of His presence. When problems come – as they will – we have a wonderful place to go for comfort, peace, provision and security that is like nothing else this world can offer. Trust Him. He wants to set you free and bless you in ways you cannot even imagine.
Prayer: Father God, help us to open our hearts and minds to Your presence and to trust that Your plans are better for us than anything we might want. Holy Spirit, guide our prayers and fill our hearts and minds with Your desires and Your thoughts in accordance with Your purpose. Help us to see the Truth of Your abundance so we will be willing to accept Your will in exchange for the things we hold onto so tightly, in spite of the pain and suffering they cause us. Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of being called Your precious, beloved children. We love You, praise You and worship You, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Additional Scriptures (Emphasis added):
“Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (When God is your greatest delight, He will become the greatest desire of your heart, and when you call to Him, He will reveal Himself to you.)
“'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-17
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:16-26
“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:22-25
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:16-21