“And whatever you ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14: 13, 14 Jesus couldn’t have make it any clearer. I have thought a lot about these two verses and have claimed the promise but I have to say God didn’t answer in the way that I thought He should. So, what was the problem?
Did you catch what I just wrote? The fact that God didn’t answer in the way that I thought He should is part of my problem. My requests to God are usually very specific and about me, my wants and my needs. I hate to say it, but the reality is that much of my prayer life is selfish. For example I might ask, God why do I have this disease or illness? I never stop to think however, that God has a plan for my life and in spite of my illness God still leads and guides.
Reading John 14: 13 I noticed something that I had never noticed before. God said, “whatever you ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (italics supplied) Whatever I ask of God, He will gladly give if it brings glory to the Father in the Son. This has revolutionized my understanding of prayer. Let me try to explain what I’m saying. Say I have a close friend who is in need of encouragement and needs to know God more fully. Would my friend coming to know Christ and becoming untangled from his problems bring glory to God? Yes it would, therefore we can claim the promise, “whatever you ask in my name, that will I do.” If on the other hand I prayed that God would give me a holiday in Hawaii, all expenses paid from the forth of January to thirtieth of March, I may find that prayer unanswered in the way I hoped.
We need to take our prayer life seriously and realize we are talking to God, the creator of heaven and earth. We are in the presence of Majesty and Power and we have been given the privilege to request anything as long as it is not for our glory and selfishness. God answers our prayers that His grace and love may be manifested through the Son. This is where faith comes in and we have to trust that God knows best and is looking after our interests in a better way than we could ever imagine.
Paul went to God three times about a “thorn in his flesh,” and God finally told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 13: 9 We don’t know what this “thorn” was, it might have been his weak eyesight, but regardless God said His grace “is sufficient.” When we pray we should remember that our prayers are for God’s glory through the sacrifice of the Son. Our prayers aren’t about getting stuff, but about glorifying the Son. When we pray in harmony with this understanding, God promises our prayers will be heard and acted upon. We can pray with absolute confidence that God answers those prayers when the Son is glorified.