"Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." ~ Jesus, John 16:24
When you think about it, humans are needy people. Every time we pray, it’s to ask for something. At times, we can feel like God must get tired of such needy people – always coming with requests. We can even find ourselves feeling guilty about it – sorry about needing His provision… again, needing His forgiveness… again, or needing His help and strength… again.
Relax. Jesus told us that it would be this way.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, the Son is not able to do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son likewise does these things." John 5:1
First of all, Jesus himself was our example. When he walked among men, he was fully human and made it clear that he needed a constant Heavenly connection. If he needed to rely on His Father, how much more do we ourselves!
Jesus said it bluntly in John 15…
"I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me." John 15:5
The question of whether God answers prayer is self-evident. It’s like asking whether a loving parent cares for their young child. Understanding what to pray for is similarly obvious – ‘whatever you have need of.’ Of course, we sometimes define things as needs that really aren’t.
James 4:3 ~ "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."
Jesus’ emphasis on the importance of our reliance on Him is for our ultimate good. The alignment of our hearts with His will not only brings joy and fulfillment but also directs our hearts to pray impactful prayers.
The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ. Jesus’ love is a flame that feeds upon the core and heart of our being, burns its way into the outer man, and shines there. The children of God are ruled in their inmost being by love -- the love of Christ constrains them.
John 15:7 ~ "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
It’s not a secret formula – It’s not about behaving in a proper manner, asking in a certain way, kneeling in a prescribed position, or being under the influence of divine inspiration. It’s not even about asking for the ‘right things.’ It’s simply about asking ‘in Jesus’ name’ – asking the way Jesus would, with His desire in mind.
It’s a little like singing. The tune and rhythm come from God’s heart, but the melody and verse are all yours. Sing it in tune, but ask what you will… ask anything you wish… make it the cry of your heart to God.
As we learn to live ‘in the vine,’ we find that the desires of our hearts begin to align with His desires.
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
~ Psalm 37:4