每日诗歌: Speak, O Lord (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubRlJj8xkds)
Deuteronomy 3 [Read]
Deuteronomy 4 [Read]
Mark 11:20-33 [Read]
Mark, the author of the second book of the NT, is known for his unique ways to present the life and ministry of Jesus. One of such ways is a “sandwich” style of writing, where he puts an episode in the middle of another in order to convey a particular message that is common to both episodes. The NT readings of last two days illustrates this particular style.
Jesus came out of Bethany, and he was hungry (Mk 11:12). Finding no fruit from a fig tree, he cursed the tree “may no one ever eat fruit from you again” (11:14). Next morning, the fig tree withered just as he cursed (11:20). Peter pointed out this miracle to all, and Jesus took the opportunity to teach them “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours” (11:24). This is incredible! When we pray, we are supposed to believe that we have already received what we ask. Is our Lord giving us a blank check for what we want? This is obviously not true based on our experiences. So, what is the point here?
The key to understand this may be found in the episode sandwiched between the two narratives. Jesus went into Jerusalem and cleared all the businesses out of the temple. “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers” (11:17). The temple was supposed to be the dwelling place of the holy God, a place centered on the Creator of the universe, yet people had turned it into a place of business transactions, a place centered on man’s needs and desire.
The miracle of the fig tree is about prayer. Specifically, it’s about how we should pray. Our prayer must be centered on God and his kingdom (Mt 6:33). When God’s people do that, they can be sure that whatever they ask has already been given to them. It’s not about whether God will give us what we want for ourselves, but about whether we know to ask what God wants for his kingdom.
So, how do you usually pray?
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