Summary: What is the condition of answered prayer that Jesus mentioned the most? It’s the necessity of faith.
- The condition of answered prayer that Jesus mentioned most often was faith/notice how many times faith and belief are mentioned in vv. 22, 23, 24.
How Much Faith Do We Have?
1. Are you surprised when an answer to prayer comes?
- v. 21.
- “One of the terrible marks of the diseased state of Christian life these days is that there are so many who are content without the distinct experience of answer to prayer. They pray daily, they ask many thing, and they trust that some of them will be heard. But they know little of direct definite answer to prayer as the rule of daily life.” - Andrew Murray, With Christ In The School Of Prayer
- often we’re surprised because of the way that we pray. . .
2. Do you pray like a farmer or a hiker?
- cf. v. 13 with v. 20 (i.e. Jesus returns to the site of the original prayer).
- a hiker (like a Johnny Appleseed) might toss down seed as he goes along, but he’s never around to see anything grows from it/a farmer, on the other hand, plants and continues to work that ground until he sees his answer, the crop, the result.
- too many of us pray like hikers - we ask, but we never come back again to consider where we’ve gotten an answer to that request/in such a situation, we don’t really need any faith because we aren’t really worried about the answer/we aren’t praying for an answer, we’re just praying to make ourselves feel a little better.
- why is it so important to pray like a farmer? Because. . .
3. The evidence of faith is expectation.
- v. 21-22 (Jesus is not a bit surprised by the answer, unlike Peter).
- “Faith means it’s out of sight but within reach.”
- “Many books and sermon of prayer emphasize the blessing of prayer as a spiritual exercise, even if there is no answer. God’s fellowship ought to be more important to us than the gift we ask for. But a carful examination of what Christ said about prayer reveals that He wanted us to think of prayer more as the means to an end. The answer was to be the proof that we and our prayer are acceptable to the Father in heaven.” - Andrew Murray, With Christ In The School Of Prayer
- “Accept the truth that when prayer is what it should be, or rather when we are what we should be, the answer must be expected.” - Andrew Murray, With Christ In The School Of Prayer
4. We need to get this right in our prayer life because God answers “according to your faith.”
- v. 23-24.
- just a few examples: Matthew 9:2; Matthew 9:22, 29; Matthew 15:28; Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 2:5; Mark 5:34; Mark 9:23; Mark 10:52; Mark 11:22-24; Luke 5:20; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48; Luke 17:19; Luke 18:42; John 14:12.
- most say, “Because I can see, I believe.”/faith says, “Because I believe, I can see.”
- of the three conditions of answered prayer, this is the most frequently mentioned.
Increasing Our Faith:
1. The amount of faith that you have can increase.
- Mark 9:23-24 (I believe; help my unbelief).
2. Base your request on a promise from God.
- v. 17.
- this is a Markan sandwich/the tree is symbolic of the Temple and Israel/the death of the tree is a symbol of God’s judgment on the Temple system and Israel.
- Jesus knows God will answer His prayer because it is based on Scriptural truth/Jesus knows God is dissatisfied with the Temple system and with Israel.
3. Base your confidence on the character of God.
- v. 22.
- “Sincerely desiring to obtain an answer from God, they concentrate wholeheartedly on the promise and try their utmost to grasp that promise in faith. . . .The promise is true, but it is beyond their power to accept it in faith. Listen to the lesson Jesus teaches us: Have faith in God, the Living God. Let faith focus on God more than on the thing promised, because it is His love, His power, His living presence that will awaken and work the faith.” - Andrew Murray, With Christ In The School Of Prayer
4. Keep a sheet in your Bible with three columns: 1. the request; 2. the Scripture; and 3. the answer.
- become a farmer/keep praying for important requests and needs in your life until you see an answer.