Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:20-26)
Faith In Prayer
Prayer is the most fundamental part of the relationship between God and man. It is not so much for God as it is for man to learn to talk with his Creator and trust the Lord to care for his needs. God created man to show the glory of the Divine. There is a dependence of the creature to his Maker. Prayer is the exercise of knowledge where a man learns the Father’s will and conveys his needs to God. The challenge of prayer is that it is more than just words spoken to impress or say the right things. Rooted in the character of talking to God is the germ of faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, and this is especially true of prayer.
Faith believes in something unseen with the assurance that what is hoped for is real. The word of God opens the door of faith, accepting the Father’s promises as the heart obeys God’s will. From the beginning of time, men have prayed to God. It is in the nature of humanity to express deep feelings to his Creator. Jesus spent many hours in prayer. As the Son of God, He longed to speak to His Father and share His thoughts with His Father. The remarkable faith of Jesus is found in His prayer on the cross when He begged the Father to forgive those who were killing Him. These were not words of insincerity. The prayer of Jesus was as pure as His sinless heart. Faith and prayer are essential to one another.
A few weeks before Jesus was crucified, He came out of Bethany and was hungry. Seeing a fig tree afar off, the Lord went over to take of its fruit. When He arrived at the tree, He found nothing because it was not the season for figs. In response, Jesus cursed the tree. The next day, as the disciples and Jesus passed by the condemned fig tree, Peter took note the tree had withered. The Lord used the occasion to teach a lesson about faith and prayer. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus had cursed the tree, and it withered. The miracle of the cursing showed the power of faith in God to do an incredible thing. Jesus encouraged His disciples that prayer, coupled with faith, could move mountains. Doubt is a hindrance to effective prayer. When men pray to God, they must possess the spirit of faith to believe what they ask is possible. If God can show His power by withering a fig tree, what can He not accomplish in men?
Faith in prayer takes away the vain repetitions of impressive prayer. Some men like to hear their own prayers for verbosity, cleverness, and pride. Their words are not directed to God but to impress the heart of men. These careless words have no faith in their boasting. True prayer begins with faith and lives in faith. Jesus tells His disciples they can pray for anything, and if they believe that they will receive it, it will be theirs. Faith exemplified.
One of the most challenging parts of prayer is forgiveness. It is easy to ask God to forgive oneself, but it is hard to forgive others. Prayer comes with requirements. If a man prays and he is unwilling to forgive another, God will refuse to forgive him. Prayer is a vertical relationship between God and man, but it depends on man’s horizontal relationship with others. The will of the Lord is clear: if a man does not forgive his brother, God will not forgive the man. Faith can move mountains, and sometimes it requires greater faith to forgive another. Loving enemies and praying for them demands faith that will move the world. Without faith as the center of prayer, the plea becomes nothing but useless words. Faith in prayer allows God to take the reins of the heart and guide the soul of man according to His will. Trusting in the love of the Father is where faith finds its home in prayer. Pray fervently but pray in faith.