Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Jesus was hungry. In the distance was a fig tree that promised an end to his hunger. Though it wasn’t the season for figs, this tree sported a full canopy of leaves—something that only happened when fruit was present. Jesus eagerly searched the branches for figs, but found nothing but leaves. The tree was guilty of “bait and switch.” False advertising. It looked fruitful but was in fact fruitless.
“May no one ever eat fruit from you again,” Jesus said. Then He and his disciples went on to the temple in Jerusalem. There, Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers, proclaiming, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. But you have made it a den of robbers.”
The next morning they passed by the fig tree again—but what a change! It was “withered from the roots.” When Peter expresses amazement at what happened to the fig tree, Jesus says, “Have faith in God,” and gives a teaching on prayer.
Ever wondered what the fig tree has to do with prayer? The Jews, represented by the fig tree, had no faith in God. They advertised that they were spiritually fruitful because of their connection to God. But they were all “leaves” and no fruit. Instead of satisfying the spiritual hunger of others, they were leaving them disappointed and empty.
When we are not connected to God in prayer and faith, we are fruitless and withered at the roots—the source of our life and nourishment. Don’t be like that fig tree. Jesus is hungry to see the fruit of His character ripen in our lives. Stay connected to Him in prayer, “believe that you have received, and it will be yours.”
Alter Your Altar
- Reflect on the third phrase of the “Lord’s Prayer,” (“Your Kingdom come”). Ask Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions and then use your sharing time to focus your prayers.
- Bake a small batch of cookies, but ruin the dough with way too much salt. Present a plate of the warm freshly baked cookies at worship time and let the children bite into them. When they complain that they are too salty, ask if they are disappointed and why. Then discuss how the salty cookies are like the fig tree in tonight’s Bible story.
- Discuss ways you all can avoid being like the fig tree.