This week’s verse: Mark 11:24
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, for all of its misfortunes, has led to a significant reduction in mass shootings. So much so, that when I heard about the shootings this past month, my first thought was, “Oh no, I forgot that was a thing.”
This shock was fleeting, as the country’s two political parties quickly reverted to their respective primal instincts. The left side of the aisle naturally screams about gun control laws, while those of us on the right offered “thoughts and prayers.”
This has become such a routine exercise that many liberals were mocking our thoughts and prayers before conservatives even had a chance to share them.
Jesus tells us in Mark 11 that mocking such things would be a mistake. In this chapter, Jesus curses a fig tree, and, even after all they had seen him do, the disciples were still surprised to see the fig tree had withered later on. Jesus reminds the disciples once again in verse 24 that there is nothing that cannot be achieved through faithful prayer.
I suspect most of you reading this have read the above verse before, and most of what I have said is not a surprise to you. What may be a helpful reminder though, is a deeper reflection on this verse. It is important to note that Jesus places two requirements on us if we are to effectively utilize the power of prayer. We must 1) Ask it in prayer, and 2) believe we have received it. Neither of these requirements is posting your thoughts and prayers on Twitter or shaming those who mock you for doing so.
Did you actually spend time alone in prayer after either of the recent shootings? Did you thank God for the safety of your family and pray that he would be a light in the darkness for those struck by catastrophe? My request for those reading is that we not wield the power of prayer as a political out to escape a gun debate. Instead, when tragedy strikes, we should truly hit our knees in solitude and ask our all-powerful God to comfort those involved, and believe that he will do so.
Supplemental reading: Matthew 6
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”