This summer, God brought me to a verse in the Bible that changed the way I view prayer.
In Mark 11:24, Jesus said, "when you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it and you will be given whatever you ask for."
Whoa. That is one of the most beautiful things I've ever hoped and believed in.
Not because God is some genie that grants whatever wishes we spew off to get ahead in the world, but because it means something else:
God cares about what's on our hearts and minds.
He wants to hear what we're thinking and feeling. He desires to bless us with good things and wants us to know we can come to him in confidence, show that he cares and is going to work in our lives when we ask him to. He wants us to come to him and believe that he not only can, but will do something beautiful with what we're asking. We can start thanking and praising him for it now, even as we're laying our requests before him.
My friend Anna shared with me that God never answers prayers with a "no." There are three answers he gives: 1) Yes. 2) Not yet. 3) I have something better planned for you.
Knowing that God can do things more beautiful than our most beautiful dreams means we can go to him in confidence, giving him all of ourselves because he will never crush our most delicate hopes, dreams or questions with a "no," but will grant us what we're asking him for or give us something more wonderful.
So many times, the enemy lies to us about this, getting us to believe that God doesn't care about what we say or feel. The enemy says there's no use praying about what's going on in our lives, because God isn't powerful enough to change it. The enemy says what Jesus really means when he says we will receive whatever we ask for, he's talking about everything except the one thing that means the most to us that we desire to pray about. The enemy says God has so many other important things to do that it would be selfish to burden him with the things that are happening in our lives. The enemy tries to keep us from giving the intimate parts of our hearts to the Father by telling us we should only pray about nice things that seem like things God wants to hear.
The enemy lies to us about prayer because of one thing: the thought of us, with faith, going into the very throne room of our God who is not only all-powerful but also loves us unconditionally, (while Jesus, who has redeemed us, is there interceding for us,) scares the enemy out of his mind. When we pray, he has no power over us because God is changing us and pouring his graces into our lives and the lives of those we pray for.
When we pray with great faith, we honor God because instead of expecting too little from him, we put our trust in him that he will work in our lives in big, crazy, beautiful ways.
What an amazing God we have.
Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple not necessarily in that order.