Scripture tells us that whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. Does that mean anything I ask for in prayer I can have? Most Christians understand that if that were true, there would be more Christians. The fact is: most things we ask for we do not receive. So what does Scripture mean?

Mark 11:22 – 25 – “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

It is believed that praying for something that you desire and God will give you, we must understand what kind of desires are answered. There are two different desires. There is a desire of the flesh or desires placed in our spirit by the Holy Spirit. Chances are if we pray for a desire that comes from the flesh, God will not answer that prayer. If we need a car, our flesh may pray for a Lamborghini or Ferrari. However, our spirit would suggest we pray for adequate transportation. No matter how much faith you have, chances are the prayer coming from the flesh will not be answered.

Scripture tells us that it is desires that start in our spirit, that God answers. We are also told that God reveals to our spirit certain desires. For example, a young person may have a real desire to get a college education but does not have the money to attend and may not believe they could find a way to start. Can you determine whether that is a desire of the flesh or from your spirit? What is the purpose of further education? If you feel that further education could help you be a better witness for Christ and you have a better chance of spreading the gospel, don’t you believe it is a desire inspired by God? If you have the faith to believe your desire is God inspired, Scripture tells us that prayer will be answered, if you believe God will make a way. To God, nothing is impossible.

No matter how much faith we have, your chance of getting a prayer answered that is not good for us is slim. That does not mean we cannot make it a goal and work for it. God gives us free moral agency to make whatever decision we chose to make. If we get a desire from our flesh answered, it may not be an answer to prayer, it may come from our determination to obtain it.

Jesus also gave other conditions for answered prayers. We are not to be bitter, hold a grudge against another or be angry at a person. Believers should not come to God asking for forgiveness or making other requests while refusing to forgive others. God checks out a person’s heart before answering prayers. The more spiritual we are, the more faith we should have and the more likely we will be praying to God with desires that come from our heart or spirit.

A problem many Christians have is: what should they be praying for if they want their prayers answered?

Romans 8:26 – 27 – “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

When we don’t know the right words or what to pray for, the Holy Spirit prays for and with us. If God is helping us pray, we should not be afraid to approach Him with our requests knowing that He will answer according to what is best for us. Paul writes about feeling empty or incomplete in this world to the extent we groan (long for) help within ourselves. This is when the Holy Spirit caries our thoughts and feelings to God. The Holy Spirit continually searches our heart. He knows what we need and what you need to become Christ-like. He knows us thoroughly. He also knows what God has planned for us. It is the Holy Spirit’s purpose to guide us on the path God has laid out for us. What is clear is that God’s purpose for people was not an afterthought; it was determined before the foundation of the earth. I believe it is clear that if we have the Holy Spirit; God has always been with us at special times. We also know that Christ sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for us in getting God to answer our prayer.

We all have desires and wish for certain things. We need to determine whether it is a fleshly desire or a desire coming from our spirit. If we believe our prayer is coming from our spirit and God has revealed it to us, then we need to pray and have the faith to believe that we shall receive an answer and Scripture confirms it.

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