What Our Prayers Reveal
"If you want to know what someone is really like, you must pray with them," a friend tells me. Perhaps she is right because it appears that Jesus judges our character by our prayers and meditations. When He saw Nathaniel, He gave him a high compliment: "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false" (John 1:47). He was saying Nathaniel was sincere, transparent, and without hypocrisy.
Jesus had never met him before so Nathaniel wondered how Jesus could know his character. "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.
Jesus gave him this surprising answer: "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree."
When Jesus said He saw Nathaniel under the fig tree, He was saying that He knew his thoughts, desires, and secret feelings. Nathaniel recognized Jesus must be divine and responded with amazement, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
What happened under the fig tree we are not told, but the Jewish people often chose the shade of a certain tree, perhaps in a garden or a grove, to meditate and pray. They would find a place that would be quiet and go there for private devotions. It is thought that Jesus was referring to Nathaniel's prayers and meditations under that tree. He saw his sincerity and knew there was nothing false about him.
Jesus notices our desires in our private devotions and meditations. Our secret prayers reveal to Him what we truly are.
Dear Lord, may the words of our mouths be the same as the meditations of our hearts.
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).