In my first article I had mentioned that my time on board the YWAM PNG had led to a change in my perspective on life. The ship provided a time for me that was Christ focused. Many of the people I worked with on board were open to challenging conversations. This created a healthy environment to discuss and gain understanding ofthe truths of God’s word.
Jesus and the fig tree
I found my whole ideal on what it is to be a Christianchallengedone morning when I was in my cabin reading my bible before breakfast. I was reading the gospel of Matthew and had come to the story of Jesus and the fig tree. Jesus was travelling from Bethany to Jerusalem with his disciples and seeing a fig tree with no fruit on itJesus cursed the tree and it withered away.
Peter was surprised to see how quickly the tree had withered away and asked Jesus how this had occurred. Jesus answered him saying, “Assuredly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain be removed and cast into the sea, it will be done. And whatever you ask for in prayer believing you will receive” (Matthewchapter 21 verses21-22).
I have always been familiar with this passage but reading it that morning in my cabin was the first time that I hadrealized just what it meant. Jesus was saying very plainly to his disciples that whatever they pray for in faith, believing they will receive.
As a follower of Christ I am one of his disciples and it was a complete revelation to know that I can have everything that I ask for in prayer if only I believe in it. This passage is not metaphorical, it is not a parable,It is not lost in translation.Jesus meant exactly what he said. Believe and you will receive.
Conflicting fundamental ideology
Most Christians would disagree with me on the point that we will receive everything that we pray for if we simply believe in it. I would ask then what their thoughts are on the following passage.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John chapter 3 verse 16).
It is fundamental Christian ideology that if we believe Christ is the son of God and that he died on the cross to deliver us from sin then we will have eternal life. But toacceptthat we have eternal life by believing in Christ and yet not expect to receive everything that we believe and pray for, is contradictory to scripture.
Believing is the key
Experience tells us that we don’t get everything that we pray for, so why is that? I would say that it is due to a lack of belief. We pray in doubt and do not truly believe that what we are praying for will manifest. We pray hoping that God will answer our prayers.
When we do not receive what we have prayed for, we excuse it as God’s will saying he knows better. This however is not God’s will. Scripture tells us that God wants us to pray without doubt and receive everything that we pray for.
Understanding the spiritual
To truly believe in our prayers we must first have an understanding of their origin. Prayers are a spiritual provision that originates in the spiritual realm. Prayers will manifest in the flesh but they are not created here.
To know something exists is to believe in it. If we know that a prayer exists in the spiritual realm then we will believe in it and when we pray it will manifest.
How are we to know if a prayer exists in the spirit? When Christ died on the cross he overcame death and allowed man to again dwell with God in the spirit. Our spirit receives the things of God through the Holy Spirit. It is through a connection with the Holy Spiritthat we can know and see what is in the spiritual realm(1 Corinthianschapter 2 verse 13 -16).
To dwell with God in the spirit, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. Turning from the flesh and yearning forhim. Living in a relationship of love and allowing the HolySpirit to work through us. When we have given our lives to the spirit in this way then we will see clearly what we are to pray for.
How this affects life
When we deny ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit of God to intercede through our lives then our prayers will reflect the desires of God. We will believe in what we pray for knowing that it is already done in the spirit.
Understanding this has changedmy life. I now realise that God does not want me to live my life with him by myside. He wants me to surrender my lifeto him.I am not living as God intended until the day my desires are God’s desires and I receive everything that I ask for in prayer.
Matthew Fryer is a professional seafarer with a love of the ocean. After a career working on merchant ships Matthew has recently ventured into the mission field, most recently serving with YWAM onboard their medical and training vessel the ‘YWAM PNG’. When Matthew is not working away at sea he resides on the Gold Coast with his wife Clara and their two children Harold 6 and Jane 5.