Please recall that the most recent verses have been about Jesus' condemnation of the fig tree and then these, what could be perceived on first reading as some random quotes Mark has pushed in here, take on a more telling theme. These soundbites were intended to stick in peoples' minds and they are used in Matthew's and Luke's Gospels in rather different contexts. It is very likely that Jesus used them more than once. These Laws of Prayer then are general rules which Jesus chose to emphasise. We can discover THREE rules for prayer here: 1. Prayer must be one stemming from faith. Jesus used a regular Jewish phrase-that of moving mountains-to indicate that prayer removes difficulties. So, firstly, we must be prepared to take our problems to God-which may well eliminate some of our problems which are entirely selfish (who can fit in a Lamborghini any way?) It also entails being ready to accept God's guidance, not to have a course of action in mind already. 2. Prayer must be in expectation. It can not be a ritual without any hope. Will we recognise His answer when it comes? 3. Prayer must be made in the spirit of love. If we are filled with bitterness then we must rid ourselves of that first. If we are to speak with God there must be a bond between us and Him: an intimacy, an understanding that we are one with Him. If the ruling principle in our heart is hatred than our prayers will never be answered. I love Psalm 131 as it is a prayer of total trust from David to his Lord. Try to read it before you pray to set the mood for your time with God.
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