Online Bible Commentary
Mark 11:20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
24 Therefore I tell you, 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (NIV)
This passage highlights three important components of prayer, components that are necessary to an effective prayer life.
Not only should we pray, but we should pray in a manner to have our prayers granted. We have sabotaged many a prayer by not following the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer.
The first component to prayer demonstrated by this passage is to praise God, to recognize God as the only God. Israel failed to recognize Jesus as God.
Jesus had cursed the fig tree previously because it bore no fruit. Even though it was out of season, fig trees in the region would grow new fruit over the old fruit so that there would always be fruit. The fruitless tree represented Israel in that, in spite of Jesus performing miracle after miracle, they still did not believe that He was the Messiah.
The Lord’s Prayer says “Hallowed be thy name”, it praises God first, just as this passage condemns Israel for not doing so. Our prayers should begin by praising God for who He is.
The second component of prayer highlighted in this passage is “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” A weak, ineffective prayer often leaves out this component.
Jesus instructs us to pray a powerful prayer, proclaiming the victory and thanking Him in advance for what He is going to do. When Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer we could not hear the conviction or force in His voice, but this tells us it was there.
Perhaps, the best words that would represent proclaiming the victory were “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” God does not work in our lives until he sees us take the first step. It is no different in prayer. We must have that conviction that our prayer will be granted, and then God will fulfill His part.
The third component of an effective prayer that is illustrated in this passage in the Lord’s Prayer is “forgive us our sins as we forgive others who sin against us.” We should not come to the Lord harboring ill will against those who have sinned against us. We should forgive them immediately, as Jesus did on the cross. Our prayer should state that we forgive them, as we ask God to forgive us.
So the next time you pray remember these components, and the others in the Lord’s Prayer. May all your prayers come true.