In the previous blogs, we looked at what the cursing of the fig tree meant. In Mark 11, we also saw that prayer involves the past, present and future. Having to pray simultaneously across three time zones makes prayer seem like the ideal recipe for cognitive dissonance! But prayer will make more sense to us when we keep in mind that our future is in God’s past. Prayer is essentially an invitation to start thinking like God who lives in the eternal, timeless dimension. However, as time-bound mortals, we remain trapped in the daily anxieties of life’s immediate and urgent affairs, making prayer an uncertain, stressful affair. It more frequently resembles the slim possibility of winning a lottery ticket!
Since “chronos” is the Greek word for time, let’s call it multi-chronistic prayer for now. Multi-chronistic prayer means praying in the present for something, while simultaneously accepting that it’s already been received in the past, believing without a doubt that it will happen sometime in the future! Is this even possible? Quantum theory and relativity teach us that the faster we travel, the slower time passes, until, at the speed of light, time theoretically comes to a halt and everything remains in the immediate present. Our timeline transforms into one dot where everything happens simultaneously. While light travels around 300 000km/second (roughly nine times around the earth in one second), what would be the speed of prayer?
Well, it’s the speed of the Spirit – the speed of thought, which is immeasurably greater than even the speed of light because it’s immediate. When we pray, we step out of time and into the spirit realm. God and us almost become entangled on the quantum level. Whatever I say immediately resonates in his mind and the contents of our prayers reverberate across the past, present and future. Time comes to a halt and becomes irrelevant at the speed of thought and Spirit.
Casting mountains into the sea
How do we do that, or curse a fig tree so that it withers from the root? The secret lies in the multi-chronistic nature of our relationship with God. Faith, without doubt, is spontaneous where God gave a revelation of the future beyond doubt. Prayer without any sliver of doubt in the outcome is based on revelation, not faith. Prayer, without doubt, becomes natural if God revealed to us that in the future only He sees, the fig tree must be dried up or the mountain must end up in the sea – all we need to do is to pray and act in obedience. This means that we should strive much less for greater faith and instead pray for greater revelation! But what to do when we don’t have God’s revelation beyond doubt – which frankly represents most of our prayers and hence, our faith struggles? Where we have not received revelation about the specific outcome of our prayer, we put our trust solely in God (the Source) and not the outcome.
In other words, we rest in faith by focusing our faith on God himself – his faithfulness and goodness as described in Romans 8:28, “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We trust in Him to bring about the best outcome for us. To do this is very easy for most of us since God has never failed anyone who trusts Him to do something according to his will. Since Jesus came to fulfill every Old Testimony prophecy describing his Messianic ministry, the outcome of his words and actions was always going to be beyond any doubt – whether it involved demons, disease, fig trees or mountains. Jesus prayed and acted without doubt because all were revealed to him beyond doubt.
Prosthetic faith vs mustard seed faith
In Luke 17 we find Jesus teaching his disciples about forgiving continually, even seven times a day, to which his apostles replied, 5 “…Increase our faith!” 6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
The Greek word used here for “increase” is interesting, it’s the word used for our English word, prosthesis – an artificial body part, such as a leg or arm. In other words, what Jesus said is that they don’t need more of what they already have – a mere faith extension or faith prosthesis, but faith of a completely different quality. The power of mustard seed faith depends not on size, but on quality. In fact, according to Jesus, any trace-amount of mustard seed faith is sufficient for any impossible task, such as forgiving the same perpetrator seven times a day or casting a tree into the sea! Mustard seed faith is that quality of faith beyond doubt – it is multi-chronistic and is all the faith you’ll ever need to live without a doubt in peace, joy and victory.
Thank you for taking this three-part faith journey with me.
God bless you richly,
Dr Jurie Vermeulen