Matthew 21:20-22 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
Jesus was teaching His disciples an important principle in kingdom living in this portion of scripture. It is walking and acting in faith. He showed them first by taking authority over the barrenness of the fig tree. He was hungry when he came upon the fig tree and it did not have fruit when it should have. On a fig tree the fruit is first formed, and then the leaves appear; so if he came upon the tree with leaves the fruit should already be there. This tree had the leaves but no fruit. We would say it was an impostor, or a pretender, a hypocrite because it played the part of a fruit bearing tree. Jesus cursed it and caused it to wither up and die by the words that He spoke in authority, believing that what he said would be done.
Kingdom living is taking the kingdom of God that is within you out into the world where you live. Jesus told the Pharisees in Luke 17:20-21 that they wouldn’t be able to see the kingdom of God in a type of world system because the kingdom of God is within people. He lives within believers in Christ Jesus and sets up His kingdom rule within their hearts.
Luke 17:20-21 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; “nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
They were used to a King ruling in the kingdom that he had established through the world systems. But God’s kingdom is not established through a worldly way of living, it is a spiritual kingdom that operates on spiritual principles. In Matthew 21:18, 19 when Jesus cursed the fig tree He was demonstrating how the kingdom of God works in the lives of God’s people. It works through believing and speaking in faith what God has established as a truth in His word regarding kingdom living. Jesus went on to say that the same principle that caused the fig tree to be withered up and die, speaking in faith, believing that what you say will be done, can be used in prayer as well.
Matthew 21:21 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
Jesus further elaborated on this same principle in Mark 11:20-24:
Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Jesus cursed the fig tree through the words that He spoke to it. And it dried up from the roots. That shows the weight of our words. They are containers of power and when used properly will establish and produce kingdom results. But Jesus said the words that produce results are words that are spoken or prayed in faith, believing and not doubting that what you have said will come to pass, or come into manifestation. By kingdom principles, faith, when spoken out of our mouths, whether through confession, declaration or prayer, produces the desired results.
Looking at kingdom praying, let’s go back to Matthew 21:22. Jesus said “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Ask – Greek word aiteo means to to request or petition with the definition of the word denoting insistent asking without qualms, not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute. . The word usually describes a suppliant making request of someone in higher position, such as an individual asking something from God, a subject from a king, a child from a parent, or a beggar from a person of substance.
What this definition brings to my mind is of a person requesting a withdrawal from their bank account. The account-holder, or the one praying, comes before the person in charge of the account, which spiritually speaking would be God, and makes a request to withdraw something from that account. A bank account is termed as a demand deposit account. So when you write a check or request funds from that account you are making a demand on the deposit that is within that account. Likewise, as citizens of heaven, we have a heavenly account with God that was purchased through the blood of Jesus and everything that is provided through our covenant with God made ours through accepting Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord is now in our account that God has for each one of us. We have an account in heaven through the blood of Jesus that provides for our every need. It is described in God’s word and if you don’t know what is in your account you can’t place a demand on that account, or through prayer to ask for what is rightfully yours.
Paul talks about God supplying all of our needs according to, or in a manner consistent with, His riches in glory by Christ Jesus in Philippians 4:19:
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Our needs are supplied through what Jesus died to give us when he was crucified for our sin, sickness, and poverty. Kingdom living places a demand on what is laid up for us through His sacrifice and makes it ours through our faith in believing that what He has already died to provide is ours as we confess it, declare it and ask for it in prayer.
Just before Paul made the statement that God would supply all our need he spoke of the fruit that is stored up in our account.
Philippians 4:17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
One of our kingdom principles for living is supporting the gospel as it is preached around the world through God’s messengers. Paul was one of God’s messengers and the Philippians were sending support to him for his daily needs. Paul was saying here that he wasn’t as interested in them supplying his needs as he was in seeing the fruit that was laid up in their account through which God was using to supply their needs. Their needs were supplied through God’s provision from what Jesus provided for them on the cross of Calvary and was accessed through their relationship with Him!
We come to the Father through our relationship with Jesus. As we live out God’s kingdom principles it is done through faith believing that as God’s ambassadors in this earth we have His authority to speak out His word and to pray, in faith, believing that God will hear and answer our requests. We ask based on His word to us that if we pray according to His will He will hear us and provide the requests that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14, 15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
Immature faith tries to manipulate God through a formula of prayer, but true faith operates through knowing God’s will and applying His kingdom principles through faith, believing, praying and speaking forth God’s word into life’s situations.
Confidence – Greek word parrhesia means outspokenness, unreserved utterance, freedom of speech, with frankness, candor, cheerful courage, and the opposite of cowardice, timidity, or fear.
Parrhesia, or confidence is a boldness that comes before God in prayer knowing that if we ask, or make petition of Him regarding anything in His will, that He will hear and give us the petitions that we have asked of Him. So, successful kingdom living requires that when we pray, in order to have that type of boldness to come before the Father making requests of Him from our kingdom account that was purchased through the blood of Jesus, that we need to know what He purchased for us!
Do you know all that Jesus died to give you? When you come before the Father in prayer, can you do so boldly, with confidence, being assured that you are praying according to His will? Some parts of our covenant are clearly presented through God’s word and some things that we ask for in prayer we must seek His will about before we can boldly request from Him what we feel He wants to give us from our heavenly account. The way to understand how to pray according to His will is to get into His word and find out what belongs to you as a Child of the King. Study what He provided for you on the cross when Jesus took your place so that you could have all that He died to give you.
Kingdom living requires faith, boldness, confidence in speaking life into dead places and requesting of the Father what He longs to give you if you will just come to Him in faith, believing that what you ask you will receive.
Father, I thank You for the privilege of prayer that is ours through our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is through His blood that was shed for us on the cross of Calvary that we can come boldly before Your throne of grace to obtain mercy and help in our time of need. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for purchasing all that we have need of on the cross! Thank You for dying for us that we might live through You. Father, I come before You this morning in the name of Jesus, meaning that I am standing in that place of acceptance in Him that gives me the right to make petition of You, based on the covenant that He has purchased for me. I ask You to open the eyes of our understanding that we might see the provision that You have made available to us through the kingdom principles that You have set forth in Your word. I ask You to grant us wisdom and direction in our everyday living that we might live according to Your kingdom principles effecting change through the words that we speak into situations in our lives as well as the prayers that we pray for Your intervention in our lives and the lives of those that we bring before You. May we fully understand what You have provided for us through the covenant that Jesus purchased with His very own sinless blood. Thank You, Father, for hearing the requests that I have made of You this morning. Thank You for supplying the needs of Your people, Lord. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.