Not sure if this will be a blessing to anyone, but hopefully so. Mostly I'm just thinking out loud here...
I've been chewing on Matt 21:21-22 lately as I'm studying the commands of Christ-
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Sometimes I question the effectiveness of my prayers when I don't receive just what I asked for. Last night I prayed for a laboring mom who was not progressing though she'd been at the hosp. for a long time. I prayed that she would progress and deliver naturally. Less than an hour later I heard that they were taking her in for a C-section because of distress to the baby. I was sad for her, and disappointed. What happened? Was my faith insufficient? Many, many times God has given me those specific answers to big prayers and I'm so grateful for that. But certainly not always. I know that God does ALWAYS answer my prayers, but that sometimes the answer is no. And I know that whatever He answers, it's the best, and comes from His infinite love and mercy. I have no trouble understanding that. God is good, all the time. And I thank Him for answering my prayer as He saw fit. However, I still wonder if there was something lacking in my faith that could have changed His answer. That's where I doubt and waver (James 16).
This whole passage in Matt. 21 is a promise, based on one condition- having faith. Faith is defined in Heb. 1:1 as the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Substance and Evidence. Those are tangible and usually can be held and seen, but here it's "hoped for" and "unseen", held only in our hearts not hands, and seen only with our spirit, not eyes. Do I have this kind of "substance" and "evidence"? Where does it come from? As a believer, I can say that I have (or have been given) enough faith for salvation (Eph. 2:8-9), (Rom. 5:1-2), and enough faith to come to Him in prayer (Eph. 3:12). But do I have this mountain moving answers to prayer kind of faith? 1 Cor. 12: 8-10 tells me that it comes as a gift (also Gal 5:22), and certainly the best source of that kind of faith is described in Rom. 10:17- "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". It can be increased (2 Cor. 10:15), but it is not as great as love (1 Cor 13:2,13). "..and hearing by the Word of God".." Not being diligent and responsible in my Bible reading would be one of the biggest hindrances to having mountain-moving prayers. Other reasons come to mind as well, but I'll stop here.
Is your prayer life fruitful? Do you see mountains moving when you pray? Is there something preventing you from hearing the Word of God that is limiting your faith? And in those times when you don't see mountains move according to a prayer, like mine last night, does this mean that our faith is weak?
Just something to ponder and pray about...
May you all have a blessed day as you serve and love those around you, in Jesus' love.