The Weekly Epistle 3/1/23

Hi Living Hope,
“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Really? I mean, Jesus said this, but did He promise too much here? Did Jesus just hand us a blank check to fill in as we wish? I can think of things I have asked God for and yet can’t see that they were given to me. What can we make of this promise?

I won’t be able to dig deeply into this but hope to shed some light on this amazing promise. We find these words in John 15:7. Of course, like real estate, understanding verses is all about “location, location, location.” Where are these words located in relationship to the verses that surround them? What is the context?

In that promise we love to claim, are also the words, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” The more we remain in Him and the more His words remain in us, the more that this promise will be fulfilled in us. That is the bottom line. The more we remain in Him and the more His words remain in us, the more that this promise will be fulfilled in us.

Isn’t this saying then, that Christ’s word in our lives directs us to what God’s will is in prayer? If that is true, then when we pray according to His will, the answer then comes. Isn’t this saying that as we are saturated by His Word that it transforms our thinking and transforms us spiritually that we walk in the path where God answers prayer rather than in the path of selfishness where He doesn’t answer prayer?

Church, let’s make it our aim to pray from the fullness of God’s Word. Let’s make it our quest to discover how prayer and His Word remaining in us work together.

Also, it is important to note that this promise is set in the larger context of bearing fruit and that fruit-bearing brings God glory. Check out John 15:1-8. There seems to be a connection between God getting glory, our bearing fruit, and prayer being answered. The way I believe it connects is that God gets glory when we bear fruit because we have prayed, and God has answered.

Something needs to be said, as well, about praying “in the name of Jesus.” This is more than simply adding his name at the end of your prayer as a sort of catch-all, you know making sure you include the postage stamp on your letter to God. I think it is fine to add “In Jesus’ name” as we pray if it keeps us mindful that we can only come to God through Jesus. But it is more than that. To pray in Jesus’ name is the idea that you are praying consistent with the words and will of Jesus. You are praying with Him in mind. You are saying that what you have prayed, Jesus can sign His name to.

In other words, think of Christ’s relationship to us. Think of God’s glory. Think of His word. Think of His will and purposes. Then ask anything!

Blessings, Pastor Brian