How to Kill Trees

“Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, [Jesus] went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ (...) In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!’

“’Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.’” -- Mark 11:13-14; 20-25

I have recently been challenged with this teaching about faith in prayer over the past couple of months. Jesus’ example and teaching are strikingly clear: “If you do not doubt, you, too, could wipe out not just one tree, but an entire forest.” However, despite his clarity, to pray with such faith is perhaps one of our most difficult struggles.

Nevertheless, I believe this passage gives us permission to pray as large as we can possibly imagine, and that “to move mountains” is not to be taken with a grain of salt. Does God still work miracles in our lives? I truly believe that the answer to that question is a matter of our faith in prayer.

Now, let’s go take down a forest!