“And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him…whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:22-24).

Do you know how to win baseball’s World Series? Decades ago, when the New York Mets were the surprise champions, the team’s young pitchers told the secret: You gotta believe!

In almost every championship series since, people take up that same slogan for their favorite team.

Belief, it seems, is the magic potion to get what you want. Unfortunately, this superstitious notion of “believing” gets transferred to spiritual matters without spiritual priorities. For example, we can begin to think of prayer as a way of persuading God to give us the trinkets and treasures we desire as long as we “believe” enough that we will get them.

This genie-in-the-bottle approach to prayer misses the words that began Jesus’ teaching: “Have faith in God.” Our belief is in God, not in the urgency of our desires or the degree of our belief. Our faith is in his wisdom, not ours; his plans, not ours; his fatherly care, not our childish understanding.

Biblical prayer surrenders control to God, believing that he is already ahead of us, sovereignly responding to our prayers better than we can imagine. We offer meager desires to God, believing the One who made the mountains will move heaven and earth to bless those who have faith in his greater grace.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to trust that the One who made the mountains will move heaven and earth to bless me, so that I will pour out my heart’s desires to you in faith.