By T.M. Anderson
"... 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 11:23.
These interesting words are a part of the Saviour's discourse on the power of faith. The disciples were greatly astonished by the power manifested in the Master's words which dried up the fruitless tree from the roots. When Jesus arrested the attention of His disciples by this unusual miracle, He obviously intended to reveal the power of God made available to His people through the prayer of faith. When Peter called the Lord's attention to the withered tree He said, "... Have faith in God. 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."
In order to understand truth about praying without doubt in our hearts it is necessary to consider the Saviour's opening statement, "... Have faith in God." The remarkable discourse following His opening words reveals the fundamental fact relating to the prayer of faith. Our Lord would have us see that we can possess the faith of God. He revealed this fact when He said, "Have faith in God." It would be utterly impossible to believe that those things which we say in prayer shall come to pass unless we had an implicit faith in God. When Jesus said, "... Have faith in God," He revealed the Source of the priceless possession of the faith which enables us to pray without a doubt in our hearts. His admonition to have faith in God implies that all men have an inherent faith derived from God when He created the first man in His own image. The quality of inherited faith was not destroyed in the fall although it was greatly impaired as a result of disobedience. Jesus disclosed the amazing fact that we can possess a measure of the faith which Almighty God possesses in His own Divine Nature. This fact should not seem incredible since it is true that God did impart a measure of His own faith to man at the beginning of creation.
We do not hesitate to accept the fact that God imparts a measure of His life and love to His redeemed people. Surely it is not impossible for Him to impart a sufficient measure of His faith to His people to sustain them in life in this world of doubt and disbelief. If His people are not able to accomplish His works in the world because of the littleness of their faith, there is no valid reason to doubt that He can and will increase their measure of achieving faith. When the disciples said, "... Lord, Increase our faith," we have reasons to believe that He granted their request. (See Luke 17:5.)
The Saviour did not imply that we could possess the same measureless degree of faith which the infinite God possesses in His Divine Person. But He did encourage us to believe that we can receive a measure of God's faith to enable us to accomplish His purpose in redemption. The Saviour would have us see that we can enter into the faith of God and become workers together with Him in achieving His eternal purpose in His beloved Son. It is obviously true that God works in His people and through them according to the degree of their faith. He cannot do great things unless His people can believe Him for great things. Christ is made invincible in this world through the unwavering faith of His praying people.
The Scriptures reveal that Christ works according to His own faith, and His people enter into His faith and work with Him in accomplishing His purpose in redemption. The fact that He works according to His own faith is as understandable as the fact that a man works according to his own faith. A man can plan to build his house long before he lays the first stone in the foundation. He can plan for the happiness of a family before a child is born to gladden his heart. It is also true that a man's family can enter into his faith and assist him to achieve his purpose in life. Surely it is possible for the redeemed family of Christ to enter into His faith and participate in His eternal purpose to achieve the final victory over sin and death. The Son of God is not limited by circumstances, neither is He lacking in adequate resources to supply the need of His family on earth. Nothing shall prevent Him from bringing many sons unto glory according to the will of the heavenly Father.
We can pray without a doubt regarding the power of God.
We can perceive the truth about Christ's eternal verities when we consider His statement about removing the mountain at the word of command. We are aware that the mountain has no power within itself to obey the word of command, "... Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea ..." It is also obvious that the mountain is not removed by the efforts of man. Therefore we must conclude that the person speaking the words that remove the mountain has access to a power sufficient to remove the mountain and have it cast into the sea. The words of Jesus warrant us in saying that this power is made available to His praying people through faith. If this is not the truth then we must conclude that the words of Christ have no meaningful application to the perplexing problems of daily life. We are aware that the Master's words are figurative yet they are factual. The mountain evidently represents something that God will remove in answer to the prayer of faith.
Let us assume that the mountain represents the mass of human misery caused by sin in this troubled earth. It is certainly true that no man has power within himself to remove the mass of physical and mental sufferings caused by sin in this world. It is likewise true that no man has the strength of will to remove the mountain of iniquity which stands between himself and a holy God. Sin rests on his guilty soul like the weight of the hills. A man's load of depravity gives him a heavy heart and a burdened spirit. When we look at the mass of human suffering resulting from sin, we can visualize the insurmountable difficulties confronting humanity in this distressed earth. The bewildering sufferings caused by the sins of men constitute a mountain of misery and woe more formidable and forbidding than all the precipitous heights and impregnable rocks of earth's tallest peaks.
Christ is our only hope for deliverance in this disconsolate world. If faith in Him cannot bring the power necessary to surmount these difficulties, then faith has failed utterly to achieve the victory we have a right to expect in the light of God's unfailing promises. The imperishable Word declares, "... The just shall live by faith." How can we obey this fundamental law of life unless we can avail ourselves of a power sufficient to overcome every opposing force? We cannot doubt God's willingness to impart to His praying saints a sufficiency of spiritual strength to cope with the trials incident to life. The Scriptures record the victories achieved by the saints of God who were made immortal in sacred history by their dauntless courage and unwavering faith.
Let us pray the prayer of faith, not doubting in our hearts, but believing that strength shall be given day by day to surmount our difficulties in life. Let us not falter in the way as we journey toward fadeless dawn of the eternal day.
We can pray without a doubt regarding the purpose of God.
The Scriptures reveal that it is God's eternal purpose in Christ to save all men from all sin on the condition of repentance and faith.
Christ has faith in His own ability to accomplish the Father's purpose by restoring a fallen man to the moral image of God. Nothing shall prevent Him from fulfilling His eternal purpose as revealed in the divine plan of salvation. There is not the remotest possibility that His perfect plan of redemption shall fail. We are assured that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ's invincible church, purchased by His blood, endowed, and endued by His Spirit.
We do well to ponder Paul's immortal challenge, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"--Rom. 8:31.
When once we have a proper concept of God's immutable purpose as revealed in His Word, it will not be difficult to pray without a doubt. Let us look again at the Saviour's words, "... And shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass ..." For the sake of clarity, let us underscore the words, "... Shall come to pass ... When shall those things which we say in prayer come to pass? When may we reasonably expect every prayer to be answered? The things we have said in prayer shall come to pass when everything spoken by the Lord shall come to pass. When God's plan of salvation has been consummated, then all things spoken by the Son of God, and all things spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets, and all the things spoken in the prayers of His faithful people shall come to pass.
The Scriptures affirm that it is God's purpose to save them to the uttermost that come unto Him through Christ. God's utmost ability was required to save us from the utmost extent of our sin. To be saved to the uttermost according to the purpose of Christ, means to be delivered from all sin in this present life, and delivered from the effects of sin in the body and mind in the life to come.
We can pray without a doubt in our hearts regarding a complete deliverance from sin in this present life, and it shall come to pass. But we must patiently wait until Christ's final triumph over sin and death before we can be delivered from the results of sin in our bodies and minds. We can pray without a doubt in our hearts regarding our final deliverance, and it shall come to pass according to the purpose of God. When Christ has fulfilled His eternal purpose in redemption, then the mountain of human misery and woe shall be removed from the earth. When we perceive this truth as revealed in the Scriptures, we can understand that every prayer offered without a doubt in our hearts shall surely be answered in full.
The things we say in prayer are powerless and meaningless unless we have Christ's authority to say them. But if the things we say in our prayers are the things which He has said, then we can pray without a doubt in our hearts.
We find this truth revealed in the Master's words concerning the mountain being removed at the word of command. Take note of the fact that Jesus first spoke the words, "... Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea ..." Assuming that the mountain symbolizes the mass of human woe and suffering caused by sin, we perceive that it is possible to have this mass of human misery removed by speaking the living words of Jesus in our prayer. It is apparent that we can enter in to His faith and engage His omnipotent power to achieve victory over sin and death. When we pray without a doubt in our hearts, we share Christ's faith to achieve the purpose of the Father. When we speak His words, we have a valid reason to except the things we say to come to pass.
Our prayers can embrace every word of promise and every word of purpose spoken by our Lord. Our faith and prayers can join His faith and prayers and assist Him in the final fulfillment of His Father's will and work. When applying this gracious truth to the things which Christ has spoken in explicit terms of eternal truth, it is not difficult to see that our prayer of faith becomes an integral part of the whole plan of redemption. We are assured that every word spoken in prayer shall be answered in the final restitution of all things. It is written, "And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:20, 21.
Paul vividly revealed the final triumph of Christ when he said, "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." -- 1 Cor. 15:24-26. Our hope and expectation for final deliverance from all effects of evil in our bodies and minds shall be realized when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day. When He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. We shall share in His final victory over disease and death. We shall hear Him say to the mountain of sufferings, "... Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea ...," and it shall come to pass.
In view of this consoling hope let us continue to pray without a doubt in our hearts. Let us rest our faith on the enduring love of Christ, asking nothing more than to be counted worthy of His pleasure throughout all ages, world without end.