Jesus replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:20 (NIV)
What would it be like if we believed that we actually could move mountains? I believe this faith to move mountains that Jesus is talking about is most effective in prayer.
What is prayer? Simply put, it's a conversation with God. It's a huge part of having a relationship with him, because how can we know someone if we don't talk to them?
Lately, I've been struck with this idea of what prayer would look like if we actually believed that God hears and would answer them.
Now, imagine if we actually believed that God was the creator of the universe, that He had the power to create the Earth in all of it's complexities, simply out of his words. Imagine that he wants to talk to us, and he wants to give us what we ask for.
What if we believe if we ask him to move a mountain that he would do it? Would we continue to pray small, faithless prayers because we believe that's all we can get from God? Or do we dare to take a step out on the ledge and believe that atmospheres, nations, and lives can be changed as a result of our prayers?
When Jesus said you can move this mountain, maybe he meant a physical mountain, but I'd like to think differently. What if this mountain was the unsaved souls around us? What if it were an issue in our marriage or family that seemed impossible to resolve? What if this mountain represents something that is humanly impossible?
A quote from Chrysostom, an Early Church Father from the 400's, is worth sharing:
"The potency of prayer had subdued the strength of fire; it had bridled the rage of lions, hushed the anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-efficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings."
These amazing miracles quoted by Chrysostom are all historically recorded in The Bible as a result of what happened when people prayed. These records were thousands and thousands of years ago. Why do we believe it's only for the Bible to record such things, and not for us to actually live out today?
A more recent story is the testimony of Pastor Cho, pastor of the largest church in the world. In 1974, the pastor arrived at home to see that his 5-year-old son was dying from being poisoned on a field trip. As Cho arrived home to his son, 30 other children had already died of the poisoning. Cho was later quoted, "I simply did not want to accept the death of my son. After hours of intense prayer and crying, he died anyway. Beside myself, I had to watch him grow cold and stiff, yet I still could not give up. I told God I will not leave this room until you give my son back. And my son lived!" Cho's son told his father that he had met Jesus in heaven and Jesus told him, "I cannot keep you here, because your father will not let you go, so I'll send you back to him." His son is still alive and well today.
Our prayers can not only change the circumstances of Earth, but they move Heaven too!
The verse that fires me up more than any other is found in John 14. Jesus spoke to His disciples just days before He was going to die, and said this:
"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father."
Don't miss this. Jesus said WE will do even greater works than He did when He was on Earth. Jesus brought dead people to life. He performed many miracles because of His relationship with the Father.
Why did Jesus say that we could do the same works? Because when He died, he gave us His spirit. If we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have His spirit. We have the power to raise the dead. We have access to the Father to do greater things than even He did.
I think of this so often when I'm offended by someone else's petty comment, or when someone in front of me is driving too slow, or when I don't get what I want: how much time am I wasting? I could be spending time with my Father by partnering with Him and changing the world, whether through prayer, or as a result of what God leads me to do when I pray.
I deeply desire that God would, in a sense, light a fire in our hearts to understand the position we've been given as daughters of God. It's not to be taken lightly. We have access to the Father through Jesus, we have the spirit of God living in us to live like Jesus, and we have the resources (time, a voice, a Bible) to let God speak to us. All we need is a willingness to sit down, let Him speak, and take action to what He says.
Will you try it out? Will you pray like God hears you? Will you pray like you have the power to raise the dead?
It just might change the world.