(03)Did Jesus promise to give literally anything we ask for in faith?
1.In Mark 11:23-24 we read, [I tell you the truth, if anyone says
to this mountain, [Go, throw yourself into the sea,]and does not
doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it
will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for
in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours].
On the face of it, this verse seems to be saying that God will grant
literally any request we make of Him as long as we believe.
2.However, it is important to recognize that there are limitations
on what God will give — which is indicated both by the context
and by other texts, as well as by the laws of God’s own nature
and the universe.
3.First of all, God cannot literally give us anything. Some things
are actually impossible. For example, God cannot grant a request
of a creature to be God. Neither can He answer a request to
approve of our sin. God will not give us a stone if we ask for
bread, nor will He give us a serpent if we ask for fish
(see Matthew 7:910).
4.Second, all passages should be interpreted in harmony with
other clear statements of Scripture. As an illustration, it is
clear that God does not promise to heal everyone for whom
we pray in faith. Paul wasn’t healed, though he prayed
earnestly and faithfully (2 Corinthians 12:89).
5.Jesus taught that it was not the blind man’s lack of faith that
hindered his being healed. Rather, he was born blind [that the
works of God should be revealed in him](John 9:3).
6.Despite the apostle Paul’s divine ability to heal others
(Acts 28:9), later he apparently could not heal either
Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25) or Trophimus
(2 Timothy 4:20).
7.It clearly was not unbelief that brought Job’s sickness
on him (Job 1:1).
8.Finally, when the rest of Scripture is taken into consideration
there are clear conditions placed on God’s promise to answer
prayer in addition to faith. We must [abide in Him] and let His
Word [abide in us](John 15:7). We cannot [ask amiss] out of
our own selfishness (James 4:3). Furthermore, we must ask
[according to His will](1 John 5:14).
9.Indeed, on all except God’s unconditional promises, this
[if it be your will] must always be stated or implied.