The Secret Of Effectual Prayer
"What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
4. "What things soever ye desire, when you pray, believe that ye have received" – now as you pray. Faith has to accept the answer as given by God in heaven before it is found or felt upon earth. This point causes difficulty, and yet it is of the very essence of believing prayer, its real secret. Spiritual things can only be spiritually apprehended or appropriated. The spiritual heavenly blessing of God’s answer to your prayer must be spiritually recognized and accepted before you feel anything of it – and faith does this.
A person who not only seeks an answer but seeks first the God who gives the answer, receives the power to know that he or she has what was asked of Him. If that person knows that he/she has asked according to God’s will and promises, and has come to and found Him who gives, that one does believe that he/she has received. "We know that He heareth us" (1 John 5:14).
There is nothing so heart-searching as this faith, "Believe that ye have received." As we strive to believe, and find we cannot, it leads us to discover what there is that hinders. Blessed is the man who holds nothing back, and lets nothing hold him back, but with his eye and heart on God alone, refuses to rest till he has believed what our Lord bids him, that he "has received." Here is the place where Jacob becomes Israel, and the power of prevailing prayer is born out of human weakness and despair. Here comes in the real need for persevering and ever-importunate prayer, that will not rest, or go away, or give up till it knows it is heard, and believes that it has received.
You pray for "the Spirit of grace and supplication"? As you ask for it in strong desire, and believe in God who hears prayer, do not be afraid to press on and believe that your life can indeed be changed, that the world with its press of duties which hinder prayer can be overcome. Believe that God gives you your heart’s desire – grace to pray both in measure and in spirit, just as the Father would have His child do. "Believe that you have received."
5. "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye have received, and ye shall have them." The receiving from God in faith, the believing acceptance of the answer with the perfect, praising assurance that it has been given, is not necessarily the experience or possession of the gift we have asked for. At times there may be a long interval. In other cases, the believing supplicant may at once enter upon the actual enjoyment of what he has received.
It is especially in the former case that we have need of faith and patience: faith to rejoice in the assurance of the answer bestowed and received, and to begin and act upon that answer though nothing be felt. If we apply this to the prayer for the grace we desire to pray earnestly and perseveringly for souls around us – let us learn to hold fast the divine assurance that as surely as we believe, we receive.
The more we praise God for it, the sooner will the experience come. We may begin at once to pray for others, in the confidence that grace will be given us to pray more perseveringly and more believingly than we have done before. If we do not find any special power in prayer, this must not discourage us. We have accepted, apart from feeling, a spiritual divine gift by faith; in that faith we are to pray, nothing doubting. The Holy Spirit may for a little time be hiding Himself within us, but we may count upon Him. In due time we shall become conscious of His presence and power. As sure as there is desire and prayer and faith, and faith’s acceptance of the gift, there will be, too, the manifestation and experience of the blessing we sought.
Do you truly desire that God should enable you to pray that your life may be free from continual self-condemnation, and that the power of His Spirit may come down in answer to your petition? Come and ask it of God. Kneel down and pray for it in a single definite sentence. When you have done so, kneel still in faith, believing in God who answers. Believe that you do now receive what you have prayed for. If you find it difficult to do this, kneel still, and say that you do it on the strength of God’s own Word. If it cost time and struggle and doubt – fear not. Faith will come. "Believe that you have received."
At His bidding you dare claim the answer. In that faith, begin a new prayer life with this one thought as its strength: You have asked and received grace in Christ to prepare you, step by step, to be faithful in prayer and intercession. The more simply you hold to this, and expect the Holy Spirit to work it in you, the more surely and fully will the Word be made true to you. You shall have it. God Himself who gave the answer will work it in you.
Abridged from The Ministry Of Intercession by Andrew Murray.