Daily Spirit & Word, 624: Stop Your Wimpy Praying.
Prayer That Moves Mountains
Good morning my friends, at our worship team meeting on Friday, one of the group, during prayer, said, “Lord, forgive our wimpy praying”… Prayer that lacks power. Prayer that has no legs in it. Prayer that doesn’t expect answers. “Oh Lord, forgive our wimpy prayers”.
Thankfully, the Word of God has a lot to say about prayer and how to ensure our prayers are answered.
Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
What does that verse above tell us?
- That we can get anything we want? No!
- That God is like a genie in the lamp, that we can rub and get all our wishes to come true? No!
Just like all the great memory verses in God’s Word, we must look at this verse in it’s context to understand what our Lord Jesus was saying.
Why is context important? Because, someone who prays, believing that he or she will get an answer to that prayer, and doesn’t get what he or she wants is going to be bitterly disappointed and may give up on prayer or the Lord very quickly.
18 Early in the morning, as he (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, “I tell you the truth, 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 was hungry: He expected to be fed by a fig tree. He said to it (as if it had ears or a mind and will to understand) “May you never bear fruit again!” That fig tree withered instantly.
Then Jesus explained about faith and answered prayer: “If you have faith and don’t doubt and if you believe; then you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer”… The keys to answered prayer: faith, belief and not doubting.
Remember what Jesus said to Thomas? “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27)… After Jesus rose from the dead he appeared first to all the disciples apart from Thomas. Church historians record that Thomas went on to become the Apostle who travelled to India and established one of the oldest and longest surviving groups of Christians in the world. He obviously did stop doubting and believed.
The Cursing of the Fig Tree:
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?
Most Bible commentators believe that this cursing of the fig tree is symbolic. I do believe that too, because the evidence from Scripture is compelling; the Fig Tree is Symbolic of the Nation of Israel.
When did Jesus curse the fig tree?
It happened a week before Passover, and was during the last few days of Jesus’ life. It was very early in the season for figs, but because figs grow before the leaves come, Jesus would have expected to find some figs on the tree. In the UK we normally only get one crop of figs, but in the right climate and growing conditions, people who grow figs can get three crops in a whole year from fig trees. When Jesus saw the leaves on the tree He expected to find fruit too.
What was happening around the time Jesus cursed the fig tree?
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the people wanted to make Him King, but Jesus went to the Temple: What did He find there? Instead of pure religion it was a joke. People were buying and selling in the Temple. He got angry and turned over the tables and made a whip to drive people out of God’s House.
When he arrived he expected to find: PURE RELIGION: (to eat fruit from the fig tree).
- The Fig Tree: Looked Good: (Had green leaves).
- The Temple: Looked Good, had all the trappings of religion; Sacrifices, Robes, Magnificent Building.
However, just like the fig tree, the Temple was BARREN: Dead religion, faithless religiosity. Faithless religion is just as bad as pagan witchcraft. People performed their religious chants, followed religiously their duties, said the right prayers, thinking that because of the words and the way they are performed God is obliged to do their bidding. It’s just EMPTY and FAITHLESS religiosity. It was never meant to be what was said or how it was performed, pure religion was always meant to come for a heart that really wants to please God and from a people who wanted to live with God and in accordance with His will.
The Cursed Fig Tree: is a WARNING:
Not just to Israel, but to every follower of Jesus today: He’s looking for you to bear fruit in your daily walk with Him.
If you are not being fruitful, then your faith is as good a dead.
Repent or Perish: Luke 13:1-9 (Repent or Perish).
1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig-tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 ” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ “
Matthew 3:7-12 Produce The Fruit Of True Repentance.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptising, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
10 The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Without FAITH it is impossible to please God.
How to get this ‘mountain moving’ faith.
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Hebrews 11 is the great chapter on FAITH: It tells us about the faith of; Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab (the Prostitute).
The writer of Hebrews then goes onto explain: How he didn’t have the time to write about all the others who demonstrated great faith (but we have their stories in the Bible too). Hebrews 11:32-34 “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”
Answered Prayer: We Must BELIEVE and KNOW that God REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6).
Without FAITH it is impossible to please God.
What was Jesus doing when He cursed the fig tree?
He was showing God’s displeasure when there is a lack of real FAITH in Israel. That Israel would one day be crushed (It was a few years later when Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans).
However, True faith will result in a fruitful life.
For the follower of Jesus we will be bearing much fruit in our daily walk with the Lord.
- He’s looking for you to be fruitful.
- He’s expecting you to be fruitful.
- He wants you to be fruitful.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
How’s your fruit doing?
If you are like me, like an ordinary human being, you’ll readily admit that there are areas in your life that you need to be more fruitful; more loving, kind, generous, faithful etc… Except if you are a Christian, then you are NOT like an ordinary human being, because you’ve got the Holy Spirit living within you. You’ve got the POWER of God in your soul. Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit (the dwelling place of God). Jesus is in you. Father God is in you. Heaven is in your heart. You are a member of God’s Kingdom Family. You are a Royal child of God. Heir to the Kingdom. Now, how’s your faith?
If Jesus was to walk up to you today, as He did that good looking fig tree, full of the promise of fruit, would He find FAITH alive and well within your soul?
If you don’t doubt, or stop doubting and believe; you can do anything as a follower of Jesus.
If you have faith, no mountain will be able to stand in your way.
How do we get more faith?
It comes by exercising the faith we’ve already got.
It’s the same as the muscles in your body, if you don’t do any exercise your muscles will deteriorate, you’ll get weaker and your bones will not stay together very well. Strong muscles are good for your whole body. Faith in every area of the Christian life needs to be exercised:
- To be stronger: We need to practice the walk: Give generously; to people and especially to God. This shows we’re not trusting in money, but in God. We showing God and the world that we LOVE God more than money by giving it away generously. Once you start to give generously, your faith in the Lord will grow much stronger.
- To be stronger: We need to practice the walk: BE MORE LOVING: Love the people God brings into your daily life. Be kind in the way that you talk to everybody. Being loving and kind is costly, but when you do it with determination and seeking God’s help and power to be more loving, then you’ll get much stronger in your faith and walk with Jesus.
- To be stronger: We need to practice the walk: Stop gossiping and back-stabbing, work hard for your boss, share the Gospel as much as you can, give generously, go out of your way to help other people, speak up for the weak, those in need, the poor.
When you PRACTICE the FAITH you’ve already received, then your faith will grow much stronger day by day. You’ll learn to TRUST God more and you’ll expect much more to be done as your prayer life gets more sincere and expectant. As your intimacy with Father God grows ever closer, you’ll experience what divine dependency is like. You’ll bear MUCH fruit. God LOVES to give even more than you do. He’s longing to answer ALL your prayers, but you’ll never get a single prayer answered without FAITH and BELIEF. To stop your doubting, start living the way He’s revealed, empowered and called you to live. Be filled afresh today with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (John 17:26).
If you are praying for something and not seeing any answers yet, start living the way He’s revealed in the Bible. Be the person that Jesus saved you to be: Full of faith and faithful to Him.
PRAYER: “Oh LORD, forgive our wimpy prayers, strengthen our faith, help us to bear fruit in our lives and our walk with You. Enable us by Your Holy Spirit to walk with You today Lord. Help us to see with Your eyes the potential for good all around us. Lord give us the ability to make the most of all the opportunities You are giving us today. Amen!”
Most probably, the first MOUNTAIN that you’ll see thrown into the sea is your wimpy prayers. Be strong in the LORD.
I’m hoping and praying that you’ll be closer to Jesus this week than last.