Mountain-size obstacles are part of living in a fallen world. They come in all forms—financial struggles, relational frustrations, health issues, and any number of other situations. Jesus said we would have trouble in this life; it’s unavoidable. However, there is hope because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
When our problems seem overwhelming, Jesus tells us to have faith in God and pray. Today’s passage is well loved because it seems like a blanket promise for whatever we want: Verse 24 sounds as if all we have to do is believe we’ll receive what we request, and it will be granted. However, this scripture cannot stand alone, apart from the rest of the Bible. So let’s consider two qualifications for this promise.
God is committed to removing only those obstacles that are hindrances to His will. Jesus is our primary example for this truth. When He faced the prospect of dying on a cross as the sin-bearer for mankind, it could have seemed like a mountain that needed to be removed, but His prayers were governed by these words: “Yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
We must also make sure that we are not the obstacle standing in God’s way. Jesus points out in Mark 11:25-26 that an unforgiving spirit breaks our fellowship with God, thereby hindering our prayers. In fact, any sin we tolerate becomes a barrier between us and the Lord.
Our first reaction to obstacles should be self-examination. Ask God, “Is there sin in my life? Do my requests align with Your will?” Only then can we confidently ask Him to move our mountains.