Jesus enters Jerusalem as a king might enter with applause and fanfare. But he does not go to the Roman seat of power as if to protest their rule, nor does he threaten them in any way. He goes to the Temple and makes an inspection. If he is king then his kingdom is not temporal but spiritual, where the Temple and religion are central. It is late so he leaves to return the next day. On the next day he stakes his claim to the Temple. He purifies it of what he sees as filth and misuse of the Temple grounds. He stretches his hand out against it, as he did the fig tree and no one will eat of it again. This Temple is passing away, withering as the fig tree.
Prayer is not about cursing or blessing, but about asking with a clean heart. How hard is it to stand before God and ask when we have held back from others? Authority is a matter of perception and confession. Religious authority cannot accept nor deny Jesus because he does not fit their perceptions, as John did. They stand before Jesus, and God, in the Temple courts unable to confess the power of God which is present. They cannot pray with clean hearts. And this is just the beginning of their attempts to stand before Jesus and entrap him. But Jesus is in his element, his kingdom, and no one can stand against him.