Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
When I was in middle school I wanted a pair of rollerskates. Not the metal kind, made for outdoors, that you slip on over your shoes. No, I wanted the white leather boot type, that I could put pom-poms on and wear on Friday nights when I went to the roller rink with my friends. I asked for these specific roller skates for Christmas.
I knew I wouldn’t find this coveted present under the tree on Christmas morning, but I asked for them anyway. I also put a few other items on my list as consolation prizes because I just knew I wouldn’t get what I really wanted. I talked about these second-choice gifts regularly with my mother. I gave her names of books, showed her styles of clothes, and discussed various craft items that interested me.
That long-awaited Christmas morning finally arrived. Lots of presents wrapped in pretty paper and tied with fancy bows greeted my eyes, waiting to be opened. But none were the right size or shape to hold a pair of new roller skates. Try as I might, I couldn’t hide my disappointment. I received all the books I had mentioned, plenty of trendy clothes, arts and crafts items, and more; but I just couldn’t summon up much excitement for any of them. I would have traded them all for that pair of rollerskates.
Later the same day, while I was moping around, Mom asked me what was wrong. Knowing I sounded ungrateful, I whined that I really, really, really wanted those roller skates. Mom responded, saying, “I didn’t think you really wanted them. I know they were on your list but you never mentioned them. If I had known you were serious, I would have given more consideration to buying you those skates.”
And so it is with God. Yes, a pair of rollerskates is trivial compared to the many important things for which we ask God in our prayers, but the analogy demonstrates how lack of belief affects the outcome. How often do we pray for a breakthrough in finances, a new job, strongholds to be broken, or favor in a specific situation, but are really only spouting words that we do not believe will ever come to fruition? Instead of a heartfelt prayer backed by our belief that our loving heavenly father will graciously grant us our needs and desires, we are just making an empty request.
Several passages in the Bible tell us to ask with belief and we will receive. If God did not mean this, the Word would not contain such a promise. We are told how to ask in both Mark 11:24, “…believe that you have received it …” and in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made to God.” John 15:7 tells us how to act if we want our prayer answered, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you …” Scripture even tells us how not to ask in James 4:3, “you ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” and what to request, in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely …”
God wants to give us a life fulfilling beyond our wildest dreams. We need only ask with a right heart and believe in his graciousness, and our prayers will be answered.