When my son played basketball in high school, I was a member of the school’s sports booster club. We sold drinks, hot dogs, popcorn, candy, and other treats at sporting events to raise money for athletic needs. Another fund raising activity was the annual 9th and 10th grade basketball tournament held each March.
One year, I coached our 9th grade’s third string basketball team. The youths were energetic and great, but they lacked talent, height, and speed. Most coaches would have considered them cannon fodder, but that’s not how I play or coach.
At our one practice before the game, I told them, “I’m coaching to win the game and expecting you to play to win. We’ll have fun together.” They gave high-fives and loud cheers.
With 30 seconds to go in the fourth quarter of the game, I called time-out. The kids all gathered in a huddle around me. “Coach, do you have a play for us?” said a blond-headed guard.
“Yes,” I said, pointing at one player. “I want Joe to take a long shot and the rest of you to block everyone out.”
We stuck our hands in the middle and shouted, “Let’s go.”
The play worked to perfection with Joe hitting a long shot. The final score: 86 – 14. We lost.
Yet, if you would have seen the two teams on the court at the buzzer, you would have guessed my team had won. They hugged each other and me. Yes, we lost the game, but we were winners when we walked off the court because we did the best we could and had winning attitudes.
Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you. (Mark 11:24)
The Greek word pas is translated into the English words all things in Mark 11:24. The Greek actually means each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, and everything. So, there’s no wiggle room in this verse. All means all!
Like the basketball team, our job as believers is to pray in faith, trusting and believing God will move on our behalf every time we pray. If we do our part, God will do His part. Sometimes, we’ll see unbelievable miracles and sometimes, He’ll collect our prayers in a censer to be used later. The choice is His, not ours.
Now, the worst thing we can do is pray without faith, using careless, idle words because we will eventually give an accounting to the Judge for these prayers.
(Continued in Part 9)