A WORD FROM WATSON

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24). This verse has become a proof text for "name it and claim it" presumption. Richard Watson, the first Methodist to produce a systematic theology, wrote in a rare commentary:

An ill use has sometimes been made of this passage, as though it meant, that, when praying, whatever we believe, that is, persuade ourselves that we receive, we do receive, --an absurdity and self-contradiction. Here, however, to believe, does not signify to persuade ourselves into an opinion; but to trust, or to have faith in God. This trust must necessarily be regulated by God's own PROMISE and WARRANT, and it is exercised IN ORDER that we may receive. The sense therefore is, believe, trust, that ye shall receive them, and ye shall obtain them; that is, all things which God both expressly promises, and which are, as St. John states, "according to his will" [Richard Watson, An Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St Mark (London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1833), 380].


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