Prayer Isn’t Aladdin’s Lamp – How to Pray
The barren fig tree He’d cursed represented His anger at the Jewish leaders’ religious life without substance.
So His promise rested on an understanding about praying with priority given to seeing God receive the glory that is due Him.
Interact with God’s Word
- What does this Scripture teach about God’s ability to answer even “far-out” prayers?
- What immediate requirement does Jesus give (v. 23) for having one’s prayer answered?
- What exactly is it that must really be believed?
- What limitation to the “anything” of verse 24 does Jesus immediately add?
- How does Jesus’ initial statement (v. 22) condition what you may pray for?
- What does this imply about prayers based on your own wisdom?
- What consequences could prayers that seek to glorify ourselves or satisfy our earthly desires have?
- Would it be possible for selfish prayers to provoke Christ’s judgment?
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God to make Jesus’ glory your greatest desire, highest joy, and deepest fulfillment.
11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples. 12 The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit.
14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it. 15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace.
20 The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. 21 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!” 22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.
23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, focus my heart on seeking Christ’s purposes more than my own and on bringing Him glory.