There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Can that really be true? If you have doubts, I hope you’ll watch this message to give you a whole new perspective on what God is willing to do for you. (Recorded February 7, 1999)
Watch The Video
Read The Transcript
Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Stop and pray and I’ll join you in a minute to walk through the outline. You might ask God this in your prayer: Lord, show me again how great is your love for me.”)
Hi, this is Eric Elder broadcasting live from The Ranch. I’m glad you are here tonight because tonight is a special message where I believe God wants to express His very great love to you. It is on my heart tonight that God really wants to let you know just how much He loves you. As I titled this message, I titled it “What God Wouldn’t do for You”. Now I just as easily could have called it “What God Would Do for You” but that list would be much longer. So it is easier just to say, “What God Wouldn’t do for You” because that list is very very short. In fact, it is just one word – NOTHING. There is nothing that God wouldn’t do for you. He loves you so much. Now if this is a message you need to hear tonight stick with me as we broadcast this message live from The Ranch.
Scriptures to Read
There are some Message Notes on your screen that you can read some scriptures just right now as I play the piano. Just let God speak to you. If you want to either open your Bible or if you just want to look at the Message Notes section of your screen. Look at Matthew 21:18-22 and just let those verses sink into your heart and then we will come back and we will talk about God’s very great love.
1. My convincing proof of this verse.
That verse that you just looked at from Matthew is one of the more perplexing in the Bible to me and yet God has revealed something to me about it in the last couple of years about it that has really helped me. Here is the verse I am focusing on in Matthew 21:22, it says here
“If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Another place in the Bible says,
“You will receive anything that you ask in My name.”
Sometimes God uses these superlatives that are so superlative that I can’t imagine anyone can fulfill them. This is one of those where, does He really mean you can ask for whatever you want? You can ask for anything and God will do it?
Well, I have asked God for several things over the years. Some of which I had no idea how God was going to answer and He has answered. But two years ago this verse burned into my heart and I believe that it was true as well. I found out that there was nothing that I could ask from God that was too much. God loves us so much and His love for us is so very great. I just want to tell you a brief version of this story of what happened to me two years ago. Then I just want to talk about you and how God loves you very much and wants to bless you and wants to speak to you as well.
The Story of The Piano
What happened in this story is about four years ago I had quit my job and went into fulltime ministry. My wife and I didn’t have any money and we had three children at the time. We were pursuing God and seeking what God wanted us to do next. One of the things that I wanted from God was a new piano. I had an old piano, a $350.00 piano, that I bought from a “Green Sheet” down in Texas. I bought this piano and it just wouldn’t keep its tune anymore. I had it for about ten years and it just wasn’t working very well. I was just saying to God, “I just wish I had a piano that I could just worship You on. Something that would just keep its tune.”
So I shared this request with some friends during a home group meeting. They said, “Why don’t you ask God for it? Why don’t we all come together and we will just ask God for something.” So I came to that time of prayer and I just said, “God, do you really want me to ask for this?” He seemed to say, “Yes.” He seemed to say, “Go ahead and ask Me.” The people in the group said, “Eric, what would you really like? What is the desire of your heart?” I said, “Oh, I don’t want to ask for that. It is too much. All I really want is just something that will keep its tune. That is all I really need.” They said, “No really. What do you really want?” I said, “Oh, if I had my choice I would really like a grand piano. Not that I need a grand piano for any reason except that it sounds beautiful. The longer the strings are on a piano the better it sounds. So when you have a grand piano, like this, the strings are very long and the sound is very deep and rich.” So I said, “A grand piano would be what I would really want if I could have anything that I wanted.” So they said, “Let’s just ask God for that.” I just wasn’t very comfortable with that. I didn’t want to ask God for too much. I didn’t have any money at all and I didn’t even know how I was going to get a new piano, even a good used piano just to get and play.
So I said, “Ok let’s pray.” We prayed and as we did they started saying some things. They said, “Eric, we see as you play the piano people will be healed. As you play the notes people will be healed. The more you play the more the anointing will come upon you for healing.” I was really surprised by this and they also had never heard me play. I was surprised that this might happen, I didn’t understand how this would work. Yet, I found in scripture where when King David played the harp people were actually healed. Saul, the King, who was tormented by evil spirits, was actually freed from that and relief came to him as he heard the music. So somehow God does use the music to soothe and to relieve us and to actually drive out demons and to heal people. I have found that’s been true.
After our prayer that night a woman asked me, “Why don’t you just go to the store and pick out a piano and then ask God for it? Find the piano you want and ask God for it.” I said, “I just couldn’t do that. I don’t feel comfortable with that at all.” I slept on it and that next morning I said, “What will it hurt? I will just go and look around.” I went to the store and I looked at the pianos. There were all these fancy pianos, Liberace looking pianos and pianos I wasn’t really interested in. Then in the corner I saw this old dilapidated piano and I said, “That must be it. That is the piano for me. I don’t care what it looks like I just want it to sound good. That must be the one.” I went and I played it and it was AWFUL. It was just terrible. I said, “Ok, that is not it.” I looked up and over in the far corner I saw “IT”. It was THE piano, beautiful classic and very nice. I just said, “Wow, that is a nice piano.” I walked up to it and I played a C chord on it. It was the most beautiful C chord I have ever heard. As I backed off from the piano I was saying, “Wow, God, that is so nice.” The salesman came up and he said, “Yep, that is the best piano we have in the store.” UHH, I just felt terrible. I am saying, “Oh God why would You lead me to this one. I don’t want this piano. I don’t want to ask for this.”
I asked the salesman, “How much would a piano like this cost?” The man said, “$44,000.00.” I said, “$44,000.00! I didn’t even know a piano could cost that much. I had no idea what a piano would cost.” So I asked the man what it would cost with all the discounts, the best you could do for me, with tax included and everything what is the final price. He said, “$42,673.00.” I took a deep breath and I just said ok and I told the salesman (I didn’t know who he was from Adam), I just told him what was on my mind. I said, “Well, sir, I’m going to ask God for this piano, that He would give me this piano.” I just stood there, I just folded my hands and I just prayed and I stood there in a puny little faith and I just said, “God, I ask You for this Steinway Model B piano.” As I had my eyes closed and I was standing there I just sensed, in my head, these words came to me from the Lord, “Eric, I will give you that piano or a better one.” I had no idea how to take that. I didn’t know how any piano could be better than this; this was already the top of the line piano. Yet, God had spoken to that. I just walked out of the store perplexed saying, “God, how could this be?”
Yet, two years later over the course of time and through many other circumstances, God made a way for us to buy a piano that wasn’t that piano – it actually turned out to be a restored older piano. Because of that we got to pay much less for the piano. It turns out that it was a piano from 1910 and in fact tomorrow this piano will turn 89 years old. It was made in the Steinway factory in New York on February 8, 1910. It is an 89-year-old piano that they restored for me over the course of three months. I will say that it cost us very much. It was a very costly thing for us when we bought it. In fact, it was like the pearl of great price, when you find the thing that is worth more than anything else in the world to you, you are willing to sell all of your possessions and buy that thing. That was something we did as well. We just said that this is an answer to prayer that God has given us. We put our investment; we put what we believe God wanted us to put into a piano like this because God miraculously over the course of time had provided us exactly what we needed for this piano. The rest of the story would make a believer out of you as well that this verse is true. I am not going to take the time to go into it tonight but another time I would love to share it with you. All the details of how God worked so meticulously to answer this prayer.
When I got the piano and when I actually received it and I saw it, I said, “God, two years ago there was absolutely no way that I could even conceive that you could provide this for me. And yet, here You have done it!” God very much quickened in my heart, this verse and He said, “Eric, I have told you that whatever you ask for in prayer, you will receive it, IF you believe.”
2. This isn’t about what you want, but about how great is the love of God for you.
I started to believe that He really meant – WHATEVER we ask for. I realized that this isn’t a question of some prosperity gospel. What I am saying is that you can use prayer to get anything you want because you can use prayer to get a lot of things but this isn’t a message about how to use prayer to get what you want. This is a message about how great God’s love is for you. Let me explain how this works. Sometimes we come to God and we say, “God, I have this request but it is too much to ask. It is just too much and yet I just really want this. I know it is probably a lot God but is there any way that You can do this for me?” God must look down at us and He puts out this little scale of value.
Imagine us coming to God for $10.00 – very easy for God to do, right? For $100.00 – very easy God can do that. $1,000.00 – we are getting in the trickier range, $10,000.00 – a little trickier, a million dollars – even harder. Ten million, a hundred million, it seems to get harder as you go up the scale of money. But then I realized that there is a whole other scale once you get past the hundred million dollars or the billion dollars point. There is another thing that comes into play.
If you were a veteran of war you would realize that if you have ever had to fight and you lose your leg in battle. That leg is worth much more than say – $10,000.00. When you pay the price of giving up your leg then you have really paid a price. $10,000.00 would be nothing if you could get your leg back. You hear things cost an arm and a leg – now we are talking a price has been paid. If you had to give up both of your legs that is even a greater price, or both of your legs and your arms. Here we are talking on the scale of things; here is some money at $10.00, $100.00, $1,000.00, $10,000.00, $1 million dollars and now you start talking your leg, two legs, an arm, what is on this end? Over here is your very life. Now is there anything more precious than your very life, something that you would give up that would be harder to give up than your very life? I believe that there is one more thing. That would be the life of your child. If I had to give up something and I had to choose between giving up my life or my child’s life – I would give up my life first. But to ask me to give up my child’s life would be even a greater step, an even greater price, and an even greater sacrifice.
So you see how the scale of things of what we can ask God for ranges from over here to money to things to objects to other things that are worth more and more to us all the way to over here there is this very big price tag. You know what – God has already paid the price way over here for us. When He sent His Son, His only child to die for us. Jesus Himself said, (John 15:13)
“Greater love has no one than this than He lays down His life for His friends.”
God said, (John 3:16)
“He loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Now if God has already given up His Son for you and you are over here asking for $10.00 and you are saying, “Oh, God is this too much.” Or a $1,000.00 or a $1 million dollars and saying, “God, I don’t know if this is too much.” And God is saying, “Eric, there is nothing more that I could give you. There is nothing that I wouldn’t give you. I have already given My Son for you and Eric, I gave you My Son while you were still a sinner. While you were still sinning against Me I died for you. How much more would I do for you now that you love Me and follow Me and have given your life to Me.” It is the same for you. If you have already put your faith in Christ, imagine if God loved you that much that He would die for you before you even committed your life to Him, imagine how much His love must be for you once you have made that commitment to Him.
3. There’s nothing He wouldn’t do for you.
See God loves us very much. It is not a matter of there being too much. Sometimes we ask for the wrong things and God says, “That is not really what you need, let me give you something else.” Sometimes we ask for things that we don’t need. We ask for things that are wrong, that are sinful, that they are not what God wants at all for us. God has something better. I sincerely believe, I believe it has happened in the Bible and I believe that it happens in our lives – that if there is something we are asking for and God has something better, I say, “God, cancel my request. I want whatever you want for me. I want the very best thing.” Even Jesus in the Garden when He was going to die he said, “God, is there any other way I could do this than to give up my life?” God’s reply must have come back, “No,” because Jesus then willingly went to the cross and died. But how many of us have been saved because Jesus was willing to die. See God has something better than even what we ask – always. There is nothing that is too much that we could ask of Him.
I say this to you, as believers that you need to know that God will answer your prayers. God is in the process of answering your prayers right now. The things that you are asking of Him, the things that you are coming to Him with and you are saying, “Oh, God please could you just this one thing.” God is up there saying, “I would love to. I would love to pour out on you.” The only reason He may not answer your prayer right now is that He has something better in mind. Maybe there is something in your heart that needs to be changed, maybe there is something that He is waiting for that has to happen before that happens. Maybe He has something better in mind then even what you are asking and you don’t see it. God will answer it. I want to encourage you to come to God with your questions, come to God with your prayers.
If you don’t know Jesus, I just want to encourage you to get to know Him. There is nothing greater than committing your life to Him. He has given His life for you. Are you willing to give your life for Him?
Let me read what I sensed God was saying tonight. Just as a summary to this and then I just want to play a song over you about God’s great love for us. When I was asking God about the message for tonight, He said, “There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for you or for any other person on the planet. I care for you like a mother cares for her babies. What mother wouldn’t do anything she could for her children whom she has born? What would I not do for my children whom I have created? This isn’t about getting what you have asked for, it’s about God’s great love for you.” He loves you very much.
As I play this next song, won’t you just receive that love right now? Just let God love on you for a little bit and let it wash over you. Then after I play I want to just pray for you and pray that God would continue to reveal His great, great, great love for you and to encourage you in your faith. Just listen as I play, “Oh How He Loves You and Me” and if you know the words you can sing along. It is just, “Oh, how He loves you and me. Oh, how He loves you and me. He gave His life, what more could He give. Oh, how He loves you and me.”
Let me pray for you right now.
Lord, I thank You that You love us so much. God, I thank You that You would even send me to give a message like this for people that are listening this week, this month, even later on in the year and after this year is out. As people listen to this God I pray that Your great love would just wash over them. That they would just feel it in their heart, that they would just sense it and know it. That they would know that You have paid the great price and that there is nothing that You wouldn’t do for them. For You have already done the greatest thing that You could possible do.
I pray that You would encourage people in their faith. Encourage them to come to You and ask You Lord. Encourage them that they don’t have to fear about the future but that You would take care of them day to day. I pray that they would pray Your prayer everyday to give us this day our daily bread. I pray that they would focus on today and just say thank You Lord for the bread today. Tomorrow morning they would come to You again and say, “Lord, give us today our daily bread.” For there are going to be bills in the future, there is going to be worry in the future, there is going to be a lot coming down in the future.
God, if You need to speak to them about how to take care of that future I pray that You would. God if You have already spoken to them and they just now need to rest in You and trust You for tomorrow, trust You for the next day, I pray that they would have the faith to trust You. That they would have the faith to come to You again and again and just say, “God this is our request. You said whatever we ask for in prayer, if we believe it, we will receive it.”
Lord, increase their faith so that they could come and ask You for the things that they need Lord for their lives and that they need to live and minister out to others Lord. Many times the things that we are asking for are for our own purposes but God You have something better in mind. You have something that we can give out to others. God just like Solomon asked for wisdom and You said, “I will grant that plus since you didn’t ask for it I will give you riches and wealth beyond anything. Even things that you didn’t ask for I will give them to you because you chose My way over your own way. You chose doing what honors Me over doing what is just for your own benefit.”
So, God, I pray that You would help direct people’s prayers. If they are not asking what You want Lord I pray that You would direct their prayers to the thing that You do want – which is so much better than anything we had in mind anyway.
If there is anyone who hasn’t made a commitment to Jesus, I pray right now that they would feel in their heart the quickening and the warmth and Lord, just the desire to follow You with their whole hearts. I pray that they would just pray a simple prayer with me:
“God, we are sorry for the sins we have committed. We repent from our sins, we turn around and we receive the forgiveness that You have offered us through Jesus on the cross.”
Lord, if there are people who have made that prayer I pray that You would fill them and You would help them walk this out by reading Your Word, reading the Bible everyday so that they can be filled with the thoughts that You have. I just pray that You would keep us all in Your care until You come again to retrieve us and to take us to be with You forever in heaven. We love You Lord because You first loved us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
God loves you very, very much. He sent this message just for you so you could hear that. I hope that you are able to receive it in your heart.
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Thanks for coming. If you want to chat with us in the Chat Room after the live broadcast we will be there on The Ranch. Just go to the Talk to Someone page and you can chat with us there. Or during the week you can find me on ICQ or at email on the contact form and I would be glad to hear from you.
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Thanks for coming to The Ranch and I hope that I will see you next week, bye-bye.