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Prayer, Plain and Simple

“If you say to this mountain…” (Mark 11:23) 

There is something odd about some of Jesus’ prayers: They are not “prayers” in a literal sense. They are directives aimed not toward God but toward situations or objects in the world. Once you see this, you see it everywhere in the Gospels. Mmm. 

And Jesus isn’t alone. Evidently Jesus apprenticed his followers to leverage the same process. In Acts 3, Peter and John heal a lame man by saying to the man, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” They are directing Jesus’ authority – that’s what “Name” in the Bible represents – right at the broken condition in this man’s body. And with those words they reach down and pull the man to his feet and he begins to dance and run about. 

This kind of authority-word is sometimes called a “prayer of faith” (James 5:15). It seems bold, even presumptive to us. Yet we are to “be like Jesus,” which we must accept means doing life the way he did life. We are to exercise this kind of boldness in our everyday existence. 

You may be tempted to say, “Well, that was for Jesus and his all star team of disciples, not me.” Honestly, that’s what we all imagine. I can pray and ask something of God, but do I have the audacity to be directive, to speak “to” a situation that is not as God intends it, and instruct “it” to change? Crazy as it seems, it’s Biblical. Take a look through the Gospels at Jesus’ encounters and note how often he uses human words to solve a problem in this way. If I’m going to be his apprentice, then I must mimic his M.O.

 What does this look like here and now? 

Using the grid we learned from the Lord’s Prayer, “on earth as it is in heaven,” audit the challenges you are facing now. Is there a physical hurdle you are facing, health perhaps? Is there a financial barrier? Is there something you know is an attack of the enemy? Is there cloudiness in your thinking or bondage in your emotions? If you see something out of order then take up Jesus’ challenge and humbly “say to this mountain…” be “on earth as it is in heaven!” 

User warning: You may feel shy about this, as if you are trespassing into strange territory. Press on! You have been made an “Ambassador of Christ” (II Cor. 5:20), and with that assignment, God’s word in your mouth is as God’s word in His. Be bold. Be humble. Be-lieve! 

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