In the Old Testament, when God promised a thing, he would put the promise in the past tense. If he said it, it was a done deal. If he promised, you could count on it being done.
On the banks of the Jordan River, Moses recounted to Israel the work of God among them. When King Og of Bashan came out with his whole army against the nation, the Lord said to Moses:
“Don’t be afraid of him because I have already given him, his whole army, and his land to you” Deuteronomy 3.2a.
Happy connections are seen during Bible readings. This morning, I read that chapter, shortly after reading Mark 11 and Jesus’ word to his followers about prayer — it impressed me so much I used it for the “Verse of the Day” over on The Fellowship Room.
He said, “For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” Mark 11.24.
This is not, of course, a blanket promise. We must ask according to the will of God. The Lord is sovereign and knows how best to answer our prayers. Even in this context, Jesus mentions the condition of forgiving others, Mark 11.25. But such qualifications should never keep us from appreciating the surety of God’s answers to our prayers.
So much so that the Lord Jesus puts it in the past (aorist) tense. “Believe that you have received it.”
A few versions insert the word “already” to reinforce the idea: “… have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for” (GW).
Yes, it’s a rhetorical device, a hyperbole, that Jesus uses. And he does it for emphasis. Truly believe when you ask! The Gospel of Mark emphasizes the necessity of faith. And when faith is present, one may be sure of God’s answer.
As when God gave King Og into Israel’s hand, God answers the prayer of his faithful saints. It’s a done deal when we pray that
- the gospel may find open hearts;
- the church may grow;
- we may resist temptation;
- God may forgive us of our sins;
- peace and unity may reign among us;
- the truth may overcome error;
- God may be glorified in us.
Dear brother and sister, pray with faith. Ask God in full assurance of receiving. Do not doubt in any way that the Lord will hear and answer prayer. To the heavenly Father, before you ask, it’s a done deal.