In Mark’s Gospel you’ve already heard Jesus say to you: “Everything is possible for one who believes” (9:23), But, this is not a ’blank cheque’promise, but the context explains the meaning. It means: By trusting in God you will be enabled by him to serve him in whatever area or task, including doing hard things. Jesus’ words encourage and exhort you to depend upon God, even when you know—especially when you know—that you lack the resources yourself to do something for him. He will enable.
So … Pour out your struggles, your challenges, your needs and your lacks to him. Ask God to enable, to find a way where there currently isn’t one.Rely upon him for wisdom, guidance and power to serve him.
In Mark 11:22-24 Jesus also makes startling statements to you, that if you say to “this mountain, ‘… throw yourself in the sea’” if you don’t doubt then it will happen! (v23). Of course, we all suspect this isn’t a general ’blank cheque’ promise, but why? Here are some reasons why:
1. Jesus himself never physically moved a mountain and there’s no record of the Apostles or any Christian ever literally moving a mountain;
2. “This mountain” is the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:12-14 & 20ff; Bethany was on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives) and Jesus may well be talking about the fulfillment of Zechariah 14:4, which is a prediction that the Mount of Olives will be split in two on the “day of the LORD” (Zch, 14:1), thus allowing God’s people to escape opposition and destruction (v5). This makes great sense of verse 23 as Jesus has just symbolically announced (in the cursing of the fig tree (v12-14 & 20-21) and symbolically demonstrated (in the clearing of the Temple; v15-17) the coming judgement on unrepentant, apostate Israelites.
So, Jesus probably means that even when there is opposition to you for being Christian, God will ultimately rescue & deliver you (& all his people).
So … trust him. Be humbly, dependent upon God in faith;
3. Jesus is giving general instructions about how the Church is to live: by faith; by trusting God; by being dependent upon him; by praying. The Church is to be the “house of prayer for all nations” (v17) – not a literal building (whose destruction that Jesus announced came in 70A.D.) but people.
So … will God answer your prayer?
In general: Yes … but it depends what you ask for! The more you and I and we align our prayers with God’s purposes, the more he will answer them.