The Prayer That Moves Mountains

canstockphoto1533901Jesus says that when we have faith in God and pray, we can move mountains (Matthew 21:21-22).

Makes you wonder why more mountains aren’t moved.

I think we tend to look at Jesus’ statement with an understanding that the moving of mountains is God’s work. We ask in faith for the mountain to be thrown into the sea, and God is the one who does it. After all, who among us is capable of such a thing? The roles then are clear: we ask, and God works.

Formula in hand, we ask and then we wait.

And wait.

Then we wait some more.

And there the mountain stands, seemingly immovable.

After a while we wonder what God is waiting for.

The Bible is full of intercessory prayer—prayer that asks for God to intercede in a circumstance, to intervene, to take some kind of action. A read through the psalms makes that clear.

But that same reading reveals that there is a lot of waiting going on as well—waiting for God to intercede, to intervene, to act. The psalms are also full of a lot of frustration, although that usually gives way to anticipation of God acting in the future.

But anticipation is still waiting. And while we wait for God to act, we wonder what he is waiting on. When is he going to do what he promised to do?

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked that the cup of suffering might be removed from him, but then he prayed, “Not my will be done, but yours.” At it’s very essence his prayer was an alignment of his will with God’s will. When those two things were aligned, something happened that was of mountain-moving proportions.

At the heart of the Lord’s Prayer is the spoken desire that God’s will be done on the earth as it already is being done in heaven. It’s easy to hear this as a request that God make his will done on earth, but I rather think that, like the Gethsemane prayer, this is a prayer of alignment—that Jesus is teaching us to want the same things for God’s creation that he wants.

And that’s the real issue, isn’t it? We don’t want the same things that God wants. Our hopes and dreams and desires are different than his, and we treat prayer as a means of getting God to fulfill them. We pray, we wait, and then we wonder what God is waiting for.

Perhaps he’s waiting for us to finally want what he wants. To stop asking, “What is God’s will for my life?” as if our lives are the most important thing in the world—which, if we are to be honest, our prayers reveal that they are—and start asking, “Please God, help me to want what you want.”

Notice that I didn’t say we ought to ask, “What is God’s will?” because that’s really not the issue. All you have to do is read the Bible and you can figure that out—he’s not made it a mystery.

For that matter, you can just read the words of Jesus and know what God wants. He’s pretty clear: love your enemies; put your weapons away; confront evil, but peacefully, with love; put aside your pursuit of wealth, and instead pursue justice; love one another, and take care of one another, particularly the lowest and weakest among you.

He said all that pretty plainly, didn’t he?

The issue isn’t that we don’t know what God’s will is, it’s that we don’t want to do it, and often that is because we are afraid to do it. Loving enemies is dangerous, and confronting evil without bearing arms is crazy.

But if God desires that we all stop killing each other—which he does—someone has to be the first to drop their weapons.

Do we trust God that much?

Well, we absolutely have to.

Because Jesus said that when we align our wills with God and trust him with our lives, mountains are moved.

So stop praying for what you want and start praying for what God wants. And keep praying until you want it also and pursue it with all your heart.

Then watch the mountains move.

Image by © Can Stock Photo Inc. / mwicks

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