Desire, Pray, Believe, Receive
Desire, this is a deep word. It means something that you’re desperately in earnest about.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright today? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. Hope everything’s Alright at your house. Yes this is your friend, Dr. Cook. I’m glad to be back with you.
We’re looking at the 11th chapter of the gospel of Mark. What we do in these broadcasts is to go through a book of the Bible, verse by verse, and I try to put a handle on it so that you may get hold of it for yourself. It’s what you and I apply, it’s what we apply to our lives from God’s Word that makes the difference.
Now, our Lord Jesus is talking to the disciples in response to Peter’s exclamation of surprise that when our Lord had spoken to that fig tree which he was using as an object lesson, that it dried up from the roots and Peter said, hey look, the fig tree dried up. Jesus said, “Have faith in God”. Fellows you’re dealing with God. This isn’t fooling, you’re dealing with God, and He says, “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 sayeth, shall come to pass he shall have whatsoever he sayeth”. Faith when you pray.
Small thought here, just a little detour. You think about anything long enough and you bring it into reality. Thought can create. Did you know that? It’s right. The reason some people are desperately unhappy all the time is that they think about being unhappy. The reason that you can’t do certain things is because you’ve told yourself long ago I can’t do that. I’ve seen people who said, “I can’t speak in public”, I’ve seen them turned around to where they were very effective in addressing a group. If you say, “Oh I can’t”, then your mind believes what you tell it. Your thoughts, your thoughts beloved, create the circumstances of life. Now, you may not believe that, but you look around and see what’s happening in your own life, and you begin to realize that the things you have been thinking about have become the stuff of living, and so this whole matter of not doubting in your heart refers, of course preeminently to prayer.
But there is a deep, valid, psychological principle involved here. That it’s what you really believe in your heart, and you think about it, and you work on it, that’s what comes to pass. “Keep thy heart with all diligence”, Solomon said, “for out of it are the issues of life”. “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. Out of the heart proceed all, proceed all these different kinds of thoughts and deeds”, Jesus said. So, my thoughts are the determiners of my circumstances and ultimately of my destiny. This is a principle you and I must never forget.
And so Paul says, “Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. Every thought given to Jesus. Have you learned how to do that? Each of us during any given day, experiences the vagrant thoughts that fly like birds across the horizon of our mind. There are a lot of thoughts that flit across your mind that shouldn’t be there. What do you do about them? You give them to Jesus, you let Him handle them. You try not to think about something and you’ll only end up thinking about it more. Isn’t that true?
Instead, instead of trying not to think about something, you give that to the Lord Jesus Christ and put it under captivity to Him. How often I have to pray, “Oh God, clear my mind”, and, and, and you find it’s like the steam going out of a pressure cooker. You find your mind being cleared up and you’re relaxed and, and instead of making an effort not to think about something, you’re free, blessedly free of the thought that was plaguing you. Learn to bring every thought to the Lord Jesus, because your thoughts are things that turn into realities. Alright, end of detour.
Now, we come to verse 24, a wonderful verse in Mark chapter 11. You had, “whosoever” in verse 23 ending with “whatsoever”. Now he starts again with “whatsoever”, “What things soever ye desire when you pray, believe that you receive them and ye shall have them, and when you stand praying, forgive”. Now, notice if you underline your Bible, here’s something to underline, underline the verbs desire, pray, believe, receive, have. You see those verb forms there? Desire, pray, believe, receive, and have. Then in verse 25, forgive. Do you want to think about that for a moment?
Where does real praying start? It starts with desire. Now, that word desire, as I remember it accurately is Greek verb that means, not only desire, it means to plead, to beg, to command, to want very much. All of these different things were wrapped up in that verse. Isn’t that something? Verse 24, “And I say unto you, all that you, when you pray, all that you desire”. It’s a Greek word aiteo, there it is, I just looked it up in my Greek New Testament. That’s a strong verb. It’s a, it’s a verb that has a multitude of meanings, all of them zeroing in on an intense need and, and want, and desire. It’s not an easy, plaything kind of a word.
You, you go to the grocery with your little three-year-old and he or she is going to stop at different places, “Mama, I want that. Mama, I want that”. You know? You’ve all gone through that. A little child grabbing for things that attracted at the moment, candy, toys, pretty objects of one sort and another, and as often happens, the child when denied whatever he or she is asking for, will burst into tears. It seems a great tragedy at the time that I can’t have what I wanted as I grab for it in the store.
Now, this is something much more serious than that, “What things soever ye desire”, it’s a deep word, it’s a heartbreak word. It’s a desperate word. It’s a pleading word. It’s a word that, that gives us John Knox praying in Edinburgh. I went to the house where, where he prayed this prayer, crying out to God, “Oh God, give me Scotland or I’ll die”. It’s a word that gives us a picture of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, great preacher of another century, as he went into his church and knelt down beside each of the pews where people sat and prayed and wept for his people. It’s a word that gives us Moses, saying as he prayed, “Oh God this people have sinned a great sin, yet now I pray Thee, if Thou wilt forgive their sin, but if not, blot me out of the book which Thou hast written. I’m willing to stand for all of them”. It’s a book, it’s of this word desire, is a word that gives us the apostle Paul saying, “I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brother and my kinsman are of the flesh”. Praying for his chosen, God’s chosen people, his brethren. Desire, desire. It’s Hannah, praying in the Temple asking God for a child, and her feeling was so deep that she could scarcely formulate the words, but she stood there in the Temple and prayed quietly. The words weren’t coming out audibly and old Eli thought that she had too much wine to drink. “No”, she said, “I’m a woman of the sorrowful spirit praying”. Desire, this is a deep word. It means something that you’re desperately in earnest about and He said when you pray about that, believe that you receive, and you’ll have.
Now, I have to ask are you, are you in earnest about anything concerning God or is your praying mostly routine? Now, I know that there are often times when I just sit and I’m comfortable with the Lord, and there isn’t anything especially I want, I just worship and praise Him, and that’s perfectly in line with the teaching of the Scripture. “Worship the Lord, ye His saints. Praise, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, the fruit of our lips giving thanks unto His name, for with such sacrifice’s God is well pleased”, the writer to the Hebrews says. And so, like many of you I, I have many times when I don’t really want something desperately from God, I just want to love Him and want Him to love me and I’m comfortable in His presence and I talk with Him and He talks with me, and that’s a wonderful kind of praying.
But, we’re talking now about this matter of receiving an answer to prayer. He said, you better desire it, you better be in earnest about it. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked”. You can’t fool around with God. Ecclesiastes says, “When thou vowest a vow, defer not to pay it, neither say thou to the Angel it was an error”. Don’t tell God, “I didn’t mean it”. God is serious about your requests, and He wants you to be serious and well. “What things soever ye desire”.
Now He says, “when you pray”. Many people grovel along in their life with unsatisfied desires and, and needs because they’ve never had the good sense to, to verbalize them to God. You would do well I think, and I know I do, write out the things that are troubling me, and discuss them with God, bring them to Him and really pray about them. When I was working at Scripture Press years ago, once a week we would gather in the executive committee and we’d have a list of things that constitute the agenda for the meeting, and before we discussed them we’d get down on our knees and we’d pray about them, and so it was that one day I was praying about the fact that, that when it rained the, the water would sometimes come perilously close to flooding the warehouse floor, because drainage outside wasn’t sufficient, at that time. We prayed earnestly about it, was my turn to pray about it, and after we prayed someone said, “You know there’s an old fire engine pumper for sale over in Itasca. Wonder if we couldn’t buy that, pump the water out over the hills so that it’ll drain down the other side”. We went over and bought that old pumper and the next time we had a downpour, somebody started up the engine and all of those thousands of gallons of water were pumped up over a little rise of ground and flowed down the hill the other way, harmlessly, and that was the answer to prayer.
When you pray, pray about things, pray about issues, pray about needs, pray about your failures, pray about your weaknesses, pray about your hurts and heartaches, pray about your family, pray about your business, pray about your hopes and aims and ambitions. Pray about everything. “When ye pray”, said He, do verbalize your desires to God. We’ll get at that the next time we get together.
Dear Father God, may today we be praying, really praying people, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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