20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter *said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus *answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:20-25
In order to get the context, one should first read and meditate on these sections in the gospels, and pray with a spirit of surrender and submission to God’s will:
Matthew chapters 21-22 and parallel in Mark chapters 11-12 and Luke chapter 20
Prayer is not claiming something is going to happen or speaking something out loud or psychological certainty that something will happen if I just believe it will, “in Jesus name” or if I pray in Jesus name. Just saying “in Jesus name” does nothing. It is a tradition that was suppossed to communicate an attitude of surrender to the will of God, according to Jesus’ character, power, authority, not a magic formula. Prayer and faith are not magical nor superstitious.
This is an absolute rebuke to all the Word of Faith / Prosperity gospel heresies and teachings that think that “speak to the Mountain” means positive confession for automatic healing and prosperity and worldly success.
The context of the cleansing of the temple and the cursing of the fig tree shows that Jesus is talking about apostate Israel who rejected Him and His teachings. The Pharisees and leaders had no fruit – only leaves – fakers, hypocrites. The cleansing of the temple shows the same thing. If you read all of Isaiah 56:1-7 (where Mark is quoting from in Mark 11:17) and all of Mark 11-12 and Matthew 21-22, you would see the meaning of these passages.
“this mountain” in those chapters means “the mountain of the house of the Lord” (Isaiah 56:5, 7; Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 3:12; 4:1-3; 6:1-2) In other words, “the temple”.
Jesus is speaking against the lack of fruit in apostate Israel and the corruptions in the temple – and is alluding to the future when the temple will be destroyed.
“have faith in God” Mark 11:22 – means have true faith in God and His Messiah, Jesus, and not the false faith of the Pharisees and apostate Jewish leaders.
The context goes on to say that Jesus is going to take the kingdom away from Israel and give it to a people who produce the fruit of it – Matthew 21:43-46 – and the Pharisees understood that He was talking about them. See the whole parable from Matthew 21:33-46.
43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.
the lack of fruit of the fig tree is apostate Israel
the mountain that needs to be removed is the hypocritical external ritualistic religion, that will be removed in 70 AD.
The NT teaches that prayer and spiritual growth includes the meaning of Jesus’ life, His Deity and Lordship, His teachings, His spotless and sinless character, and the trials, sufferings, death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is the final substitutionary sacrifice / atonement / satisfaction of the justice of God, for sins for all time. (Matthew 26-28; Mark 14-16; Luke 22-24; Hebrews chapters 7, 8, 9, 10)
The attitude of prayer should always be:
“Thy will be done”
1 John 5:14