“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Mark 11:24 (NIV)

When I was a child, this verse told me that all I had to do to get whatever I wanted was to pray and ask for it. With this thought process, two problems arose. The first was that I didn’t think I was worthy to ask God for anything. In fact, I believed that even if I simply imagined something I wanted, God would know I wanted it and then keep it from me since I was such a bad girl. So, I never asked for anything…until…

…I became obsessed with a boy in my high school class when I was fifteen years old. I was so overwhelmed by this boy that I didn’t even care if I wasn’t worthy, I was going to pray to God every night, wishing that the boy would one day be mine. I prayed and prayed and prayed that this boy would love me. It never happened. What happened was that I remained obsessed, and the boy continued to date other girls in my class and only look my way when he needed sympathy. So, in presenting God with my true desire and asking Him to fulfill it, what I thought I discovered was that I had been right all along and that God didn’t want me to have what I wanted.

As we have all heard many times, with age comes wisdom. Oh, how much I could help fifteen-year-old Jessica…if only she would have listened. What I know today, and believe with my whole heart, is that God wants me to be content and peaceful. He wants to see me succeed and He wants to have a strong and guiding relationship with me. He does not keep things from me because He discovers that I want them. If He does keep something from me, it is for my own good or because he has something much better in store for me. I look back on that boy from high school and I thank God a million times over that He didn’t grant my wish for true love at fifteen. Because the thing is this – it wasn’t true love. It wasn’t even true like. It was a fifteen-year-old girl’s crush on a boy who reminded her of her dysfunctional father. It would have been a match made in hell and we probably would have been divorced and broke by the time we reached twenty.

I believe that the statement Jesus makes in Mark 11:24 is an invitation. He wants us to open our hearts to Him, tell Him our desires and believe that if those desires are God-ordained, they will happen, in God-ordained time. Today, when I go to God with a request, I always finish the request with the statement, “Thy will, not mine, be done.” I am certain today that if what is happening in my life isn’t God’s will, I am not going to be happy – and if it is God’s will, He will carry me through it, even if it is something I thought I didn’t want or need.

Jesus’s message tells us that while we wait, we need to trust in His process. Nothing ever happens fast enough to suit a human being. “Believe that you have received it” is His way of telling us that His will is the best thing for us and it will happen, when He knows we are ready for it.

Do you wonder if God is listening to you when you pray? For one week, I challenge you to ask Him to fill your heart with His will. I’d bet the ranch that by the end of that week, no matter what has occurred, whether it be good, bad, what you wanted, not what you wanted, etc., you will feel closer to God and more at peace.

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