18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. 20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. 21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Jesus gave a shocking demonstration of his power this particular day with his disciples. A tree, not fit for purpose, is cursed, followed by Jesus speaking about faithful prayer. How could these be connected?
The tree was not fit for purpose as it failed to provide fruit. Luscious juicy fruit is what Jesus was craving. (The disciples may also have realised the association with the nation of Israel. The fig tree was often associated with Israel – as in Hosea 9:10 and Jeremiah 8:13 – and Jesus is pronouncing judgment on Israel.)
We are fit for purpose when we pray with belief. This isn’t some wishful thinking kind of belief, or a “feeling positive” belief. We pray with confidence. Our confidence is sure because it is based on knowing our God we pray to. He cares for us – for the small and big issues we face. He does not forget us or leave us. He is faithful. He is God who empowers us, just as Jesus promises. Our prayers will be powerful and we will be fit for purpose because we know who it is we pray to. We will see things change because of this type of prayer. We will see transformation and miracles. Wow!
Dear heavenly Lord. When I pray I know you incline your ear, you love to hear me crying out to you, sharing with you, worshipping you. Thank you for making me fit for your purposes. I am expectant. Amen
Written by Claire Moore