Name It And Claim It?
Loving Lord, You are the God of my beginnings, middles and endings. I affirm my willing dependence upon You once again.
Read MARK 11:22–33
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly 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.” 
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”
31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Take a moment to remind yourself of the privilege of being able to speak to Almighty God in the full assurance that he is attentive to your call.
A recent survey of churches identified factors common to growing churches. It pinpointed nine drivers of transformative ministry, one of which was prayer. True, not exactly rocket science, but there was slightly more to it. Expectant, specific, consistent, mission-directed prayer was identified. The teaching of Jesus on faith and prayer picks up similar themes.
Underlying Jesus’ teaching is the expectation of a God in heaven who shows no reluctance to act; a Father who gives good gifts to those who ask him (Matt. 7:11). The setting of this teaching is the mission of Jesus. The fig tree withers (20); not just as a dramatic stunt, still less as an expression of Jesus’ anger or frustration. It forms part of Jesus’ mission, illuminating God’s purpose (the judgment of his people) and affirming the relationship between Father and Son (the Father always hears the Son) (John 11:42). When Jesus delegates the mission to his disciples, they too can expect God to be with them to fulfill his purpose (Mark 6:7). We, like them, can have faith in a God who will act to accomplish his mission, bringing about transformation. He can even move mountains, a phrase used by rabbis “to describe overcoming seemingly impossible difficulties” (Alan Cole). The mission of God cannot ultimately be stopped, but its pace involves us. As we exercise faith, he will clear the way. Lack of faith can hinder the extent of God’s work among us (Mark 6:5,6). So have faith and believe that God will answer.
It’s not just lack of faith that limits what we see God doing. Lack of forgiveness is equally debilitating for God’s mission through us. It nullifies the impact of the Gospel. If the Gospel does not transform us to forgive, our usefulness is severely limited.
In verses 27–33, we see that Jesus’s authority stands whether the religious leaders accepted it or not. In the end, Jesus’ authority stands whether we accept it or not.
Ponder whether you see the church’s fruitfulness inhibited by lack of faith or an unforgiving spirit. How can you partner with God in his transforming mission?
Lord, You are a responding God, so eager to give. I know many times I have not because I ask not. Please Lord, increase my faith.