A Contemplative Lenten Experience: House of Prayer
Scripture: Mark 11:12 -25
12 The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.
15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. 17 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
18 When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.
19 That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city.
20 The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. 21 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”
22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
This visual depicts a posture of prayer – folded hands.
Read the passage again to glean some of the attributes of prayer mentioned here. What is Jesus saying to you as you take the posture of prayer.
Along the way to Jerusalem Jesus curses a fig tree. Jesus was on a mission to teach us about prayer. God had given us symbols and rituals to foster our relationship with him. These symbols and rituals cannot become idols and obstacles to our conversations with God. That’s what Jesus was trying to convey to the Pharisees and religious leaders as He tossed the tables in the temple. The fig tree incident was an object lesson for the disciples – a lesson on faith in God’s character as we commune with Him and a way to prepare for God’s presence. We are a ‘house of prayer’, called to be in conversation with our loving God and Creator.
If you would like to use the visual of praying hands to doodle around or if you would like to color the posture of prayer visual please fill the form below. (The plants around the folded hands depict life-giving conversations between you and The Almighty Creator).