Mark 11:22-24 - The Prayer of Faith
Mark 11:22 (KJV) And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have
faith in God.
Mark 11:23 (KJV) For verily I say unto you, That whosoever
shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into
the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that
those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have
whatsoever he saith.
Mark 11:24 (KJV) Therefore I say unto you, What things soever
ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall
In the first century a "mountain" frequently served as a symbol
of a great difficulty. [Victor Bible Background Commentary]
Jesus Himself never moved literal mountains, nor did He intend
His followers to contemplate any necessity of doing so themselves.
Jesus here is speaking of figurative mountains of difficulty. [SDA
There are few spiritual occasions which demand the removal of a
geographical mountain. Jesus is merely making the point that God in His
omnipotence is able to do anything. [Believe's SB]
Faith in God is all-powerful because God is omnipotent. [Quest SB]
This principle is qualified by Christ in other teaching (Matt.
6:10) and in His own life (14:36). [Ryrie SB]
Jesus, our example for prayer, prayed, "Everything is possible
for you.... Yet not what I will, but what you will" (14:36). Our
prayers are often motivated by our own interests and desires. We like to
hear that we can have anything. But Jesus prayed with 'God's'
interests in mind. When we pray, we should express our desires, but want
his will above ours. Check yourself to see if your prayers focus on
your interests or God's. [Life Application SB]
It would seem impossible to move a mountain into the sea, so
Jesus used that picture to say that God can do anything. God will
answer your prayers, but not as a result of your positive mental
attitude. Other conditions must be met: (1) you must be a believer; (2)
you must not hold a grudge against another person; (3) you must not
pray with selfish motives; (4) your request must be for the good of
God's kingdom. To pray effectively, you need faith in God, not faith
in the object of your request. [Life Application SB]
"What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye
receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark 11:24. There is a condition
to this promise--that we pray according to the will of God. But it
is the will of God to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children,
and to enable us to live a holy life. So we may ask for these
blessings, and believe that we receive them, and thank God that we have
received them. SC51
He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God's
will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we
receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise
For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike
temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has
promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return
thanks to God that we have received.
We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift
is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what
God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we
already possess, will be realized when we need it most. ED257,8
When my little son was about ten years old, his grandmother
promised him a stamp collecting album for Christmas. Christmas came and
went with no stamp album and no word from Grandma. The matter,
however, was not mentioned, until his friends came to see his Christmas
presents. I was astonished, after he had listed all the gifts he had
received, to hear him add, "And a stamp album from my grandmother."
After hearing this several times, I called my son to me and
said, "But George, you didn't get a stamp album from Grandma. Why did
you say you did?"
With a puzzled look on his face, as if I had asked a very
strange question, he replied, "Well, Mom, Grandma said, and that is the
same as." Not a word from me would sway his faith.
A month passed and nothing else was said about the album.
Finally one day, to test his faith and because I wondered in my own
heart why the album had not been sent, I said, "George, I think
Grandma has forgotten her promise."
"Oh no, Mom," he quickly and firmly responded. "She hasn't."
I watched his sweet, trusting face, which for a while looked
very serious, as if he were debating the possibility I had suggested.
Soon his face brightened as he said, "Do you think it would do any
good for me to write Grandma, thanking her for the album?"
"I don't know," I said, "but you might try it." A rich spiritual
truth then began to dawn on me.
In a few minutes a letter was written and mailed, as George went
off whistling his confidence in his grandma. Soon a letter from
Grandma arrived with this message:
My dear George,
I have not forgotten my promise to you for a stamp album. I
could not find the one you wanted here, so I ordered one from New
York. It did not arrive until after Christmas, and it was not the
right one. I then ordered another, but it still has not arrived. I
have decided to send you thirty dollars instead so that you may buy
the one you want in Chicago.
Your loving Grandma.
As he read the letter, his face was the face of a victor. From
the depths of a heart that never doubted came the words, "Now, Mom,
didn't I tell you?" George "against all hope . . . in hope believed"
(Mom. 4:18) that the stamp album would come. And while he was
trusting, Grandma was working, and in due time faith became sight.
It is only human to want to see before we step out on the
promises of God. Yet our Savior said to Thomas and to a long list of
doubters who have followed, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet
have believed" John 20:29). Mrs. Rounds [Streams In The Desert By
Hope and courage are essential to perfect service for God. These
are the fruit of faith.
Despondency is sinful and unreasonable. God is able and willing
"more abundantly" (Hebrews 6:17) to bestow upon His servants the
strength they need for test and trial. The plans of the enemies of His
work may seem to be well laid and firmly established, but God can
overthrow the strongest of these. And this He does in His own time and
way, when He sees that the faith of His servants has been
For the disheartened there is a sure remedy--faith, prayer,
work. Faith and activity will impart assurance and satisfaction that
will increase day by day. PK163,4
When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the
promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive
the blessing we need most. But to claim that prayer will always be
answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is
presumption. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing
from them that walk uprightly.
If we take counsel with our doubts and fears, or try to solve
everything that we cannot see clearly, before we have faith, perplexities
will only increase and deepen. But if we come to God, feeling
helpless and dependent, as we really are, and in humble, trusting faith
make known our wants to Him whose knowledge is infinite, who sees
everything in creation, and who governs everything by His will and word, He
can and will attend to our cry, and will let light shine into our
How do you pray a prayer so filled with faith that it can move a
mountain? By shifting the focus from the size of your mountain to the
sufficiency of the mountain mover, and by stepping forward in obedience....
While the children of Israel are perched on the edge of the
Promised Land, twelve spies go out to survey it. Ten come back saying,
"You wouldn't believe the size of the cities, the armies, the giants.
We'd better look somewhere else." Two come back saying, "The God who
is faithful promised he would give us the land, so let's go in his
strength." Ten looked at the size of the mountain and fell back; only two
looked at the sufficiency of the mountain mover and wanted to move
I challenge you to shift the focus of your prayer. Don't spend a
lot of time describing your mountain to the Lord. He knows what it
is. Instead, focus your attention on the mountain mover - his glory,
power and faithfulness. Then start walking in faith, following his
leading, and watch that mountain step aside. Bill Hybels [Time With God
When you are confronted with a matter that requires immediate
prayer, pray until you believe God - until with wholehearted sincerity
you can thank Him for the answer. If you do not see the external
answer immediately, do not pray for it in such a way that it is evident
you are not definitely believing God for it. This type of prayer
will be a hindrance instead of a help to you. And when you are
finished praying, you will find that your faith has been weakened or has
entirely gone. The urgency you felt to offer this kind of prayer is
clearly from self and Satan. It may not be wrong to mention the matter
to the Lord again, if He is keeping you waiting for His answer, but
be sure to do so in a way that shows your faith.
Never pray in a way that diminishes your faith. You may tell Him
you are waiting, still believing and therefore praising Him for the
answer. There is nothing that so fully solidifies faith as being so sure
of the answer that you can thank God for it. Prayers that empty us
of faith deny both God's promises from His Word and the "Yes" that
He whispered to our hearts. Such prayers are only the expression of
the unrest of our hearts, and unrest implies unbelief that our
prayers will be answered. "Now we who have believed enter that rest"
The type of prayer that empties us of faith frequently arises
from focusing our thoughts on the difficulty rather than on God's
promise. Abraham, "without weakening in his faith, . . . faced the fact
that his body was as good as dead.... Yet he did not waver through
unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith
and gave glory to God" (Mom. 4: 19-20). May we "watch and pray so
that [we] will not fall into [the] temptation" (Matt. 26:41) of
praying faith-diminishing prayers. C.H.P. [Streams In The Desert By
We must not only pray in Christ's name, but by the inspiration
of the Holy Spirit. COL146-8
Faith, prayer, and forgiveness: The three are linked, for only
the firm conviction that God can remove all obstacles moves us to
prayer, while a spirit of forgiveness--accepted, and extended to
others--assures us of our welcome before God's throne. [Victor Bible Reader's
Mountains represent great difficulties that must be removed
(Zech. 4:7), and it is our faith in God that enables us to overcome.
But faith in God is not enough; we must also have forgiveness toward
others (vv. 25-26). We do not earn God's forgiveness by forgiving
others, but forgiving others shows that we have a humble heart before
God. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
As for moving mountains into the sea by prayer, Jesus was
talking about the power of forgiveness (v. 25). He was not holding out
false hopes of the free use of power to one's personal advantage.
Instead, He was showing the significance of moving heaven and earth with
another power - forgiving one's enemies. [Word In Life SB]
Faith that rests in God is unwavering trust in His omnipotent
power and unfailing goodness. [Bible Knowledge Commentary]
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning
of true faith is the end of anxiety. George Mueller [Streams In The
Desert By Cowman]