Bible Reading Blog
“Moving Mountains”Categories: Congregational Bible Reading
BIBLE READING: Mark 11
As we travelled the mountains of Oregon last week, I couldn’t help but think how difficult this part of the trek must have been for early settlers. I suspect many lost heart as they muddled through the dense forest and uneven terrain. They had hopes for better things, but without a clear path, the mountains were a daunting obstacle. Imagine how empowering (and relieving) it would have been if they could have just told the mountain to move out of the way.
The challenges we face in life often feel like mountains. Our path through life may be unclear or the trials and temptations seem to be endless and difficult. How will I ever get through this? Is there really something better at the end of this life?
“Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, what you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”” (Mark 11.22-24)
I don’t believe Jesus is giving a formula for moving mountains, but rather he is reminding us that God can. If you have faith in God, you can have confidence that “mountains” in your life can be removed with a word.
These verses teach an important correlation between faith and prayer. We have faith because we know and trust God (Hebrews 11.6), and we pray because we believe He could alter our situation (Romans 8.28). Jesus is not saying, “You will get whatever you ask for.” James reminds us that we can ask wrongly and therefore we will not receive what we ask for in prayer (James 4.3). Instead, Jesus is trying to empower disciples in their faith with prayer.
Prayer is a relationship building tool that ought to align us with God through intentional communication. To see prayer as a means of gain is to miss the point. Consider how Jesus practiced prayer. He would get up early or sneak away to carve out time alone with God (Mark 1.35; Luke 5.16). In his most difficult moments, he poured out his heart to the Father (Matthew 26.39, 53). Jesus always walked away from prayer emboldened to face the next challenge.
As the Almighty Creator, God does not answer to us (Job 40.1-14), but He is not thoughtless of our needs and desires (Psalm 37.4-5). If we believe who God is, what will we lack (Matthew 6.25-34)? What should we fear (Romans 8.31)?
We ought to have great confidence when we pray. God is able to do things beyond human comprehension and ability (Ephesians 3.20-21) and nothing is too insignificant or obstructive that God does not care about. And so, as we look at the mountains in our life, let us also look to God in faith (James 1.5-8).