IT TAKES TWO
Lord, my faith is in You.
Read Mark 11:20–26
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  [b]
a Mark 11:23 Some early manuscripts “If you have faith in God,” Jesus answered, 23 “truly
b Mark 11:26 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Matt. 6:15.
New International Version (NIV)
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“Self-control is not needed because the body is evil –the truth is just the opposite. The body should be controlled with honor because it is worthy of honor” (John Newton, “Come, My Soul”).
As with any conversation, so it is with prayer: it takes two. Today’s passage teaches about both parties – the ones who pray and the one to whom they pray. What does it tell us of Jesus Christ, the one to whom and through whom we pray? In the
cursing of the fig tree – the only truly ‘destructive’ miracle (Cole,1995, p251; Hendriksen, 1975, p443) – we are reminded of two attributes of Jesus. First, He is Lord over all creation: He is the one who created all things and is supreme over all things (Col 1:15–17). Second, He has divine authority: He is the one who, with a word, can bring dead things to life or, if necessary, cause what has life to wither (14, 20, 21). What an encouragement to know that our prayers rise up to this all-creating, all-powerful God!
What then of us – the ones who pray? Jesus speaks of two bedrocks underlying our prayer life: faith and forgiveness (22–25)(Cole, 1995, p256). Our faith in prayer is not to be founded upon ourselves or our own efforts, but on God and all that He has proved Himself to be. The same power that withered the fig tree and even raised Christ from the dead is available to us today (Eph 1:19, 20).How that should augment our faith in prayer!
Finally, Jesus is clear that forgiveness is an essential foundation to our prayers (25) (Matt 6:9–14). Grace is the basis on which we access both God and our faith in prayer. It must then be outworked in our lives as we determine to forgive those who have harmed us. “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them” (25). Perhaps upon hearing these words, like me you also need to respond with forgiving action.
“… whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (24). Pray bold prayers of faith, before the all-powerful God.
Lord, thank You for giving us the same power in prayer that You gave your original disciples.
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