Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Using The Power Of Prayer
“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.” (Mark 11:20-21)
Tuesday, morning, as Jesus and the disciples were headed back to Jerusalem, Peter noticed that the fig tre had completely dried up overnight. Even our most powerful herbicides take several days to completely kill a tree. Peter was amazed, not only that the tree died, but that it had dried out so quickly. It would have taken days to dry up even if they had cut the tree down.
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:22-24)
Here we see another example of the importance of Peter’s statement in II Peter 1:20-21. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Praying in faith does not simply mean believing something will happen, if we use Jesus name, as many have inferred from the English translation of this and other verses. It is the same basic teachings as the ancient pagan idea of manifesting, or causing something to happen by just believing , just “Christianized” by insisting it has to be “in Jesus name.”
I John 5:14-15 tells us, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. James 4:3 tells us, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” In other words, Praying in faith is not simply about Praying in Jesus’ name and convincing ourselves god wil give what we asked for, but about praying in accordance with his will as led by the Holy Spirit. It is not about getting our way, but about seeking his.
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26)
In Matthew this statement comes much earlier, just after Jesus had given the model prayer, also known as the Lord’s prayer as an example to illustrate how we should pray. One of the requests I that our sins be forgiven, but as Jesus tells us, unless we are willing to forgive others and put away our grudges, there is no use praying for God to forgive us. Dwelling on what others have done to us or our ancestors will keep us from receiving God’s blessings today. We can’t change the past, but by focusing on the present, obeying God now, we can change both our present, and our future.