“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:22-24).
I can just pray for whatever I want and it will happen?
No matter what? Like telling a mountain to be removed to the sea? Even that?
Yes . . . and no.
God is not a holy gumball machine into which we put a prayer and God responds with whatever we wish. If that were the case, prayer would make God our servant.
The limitations of prayer is actually the theme of a longer text beginning with the cursing of the fig tree and ending with our text verse. Spiritual fruitlessness is a hindrance to prayer. Worldliness is a hindrance to prayer (it certainly hindered prayer in the temple). Failure to forgive is a hindrance to prayer (see verses 25 and 26).
And here, faithlessness is a hindrance to prayer. Stated positively, faith makes everything and anything possible . . . subject, of course, to the will of God. The issue is always: are we willing to submit to the Lord’s will?
I’m not sure I’d want something that wasn’t the Lord’s will. I’m not sure I’d want to change God’s mind about a matter if that were possible. But it doesn’t mean that I should not make my requests known, for doing so demonstrates a reliance on God, and that, too, is what faith is all about.