In John 15:7-8, Jesus promised, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (emphasis mine). Last week we saw that this promise assumes something very basic but extremely important, namely, that we must spend time with Christ. For the next few weeks we will meditate on another basic but important assumption, namely, that we must ask of Christ in prayer or our prayers cannot be answered.
In Matthew 6:8 Jesus said, “…your Father knows what you need before you ask him,” which begs the question, Why then must we ask of Jesus in prayer? If the Father already knows what we want and if he is disposed to give us what we want when we ask according to his will, why then doesn’t he just give us what we want? I see at least eight reasons.
First, we must ask of Jesus in prayer because he commanded us to do so. As those who have become his children by grace through faith, we begin with obedience and not questioning. As we do what he says and learn to walk in his ways, he increases our understanding and joy in him. The flesh must understand in order to obey; the spirit obeys in order to understand.
Second, we must ask of Jesus in prayer because we are in a relationship with him and communication is central to the health and growth of any relationship. Of course, he knows us much better than we know ourselves but the sound of his children’s voices is surely among the greatest delights of his heart. Think about the great lengths to which Jesus went to save us, bring us to himself, and make us children of the Father. Think then of how precious it is to him to see us actually relating with our Father through his blood and by the power of the Holy Spirit. So we ask of Jesus to delight the heart of Jesus because we’re in a blood-bought relationship with Jesus.
Third, we must ask of Jesus in prayer because it teaches us to live in childlike dependence upon him. It teaches us that he is the vine and we are but branches. It teaches us that he is the bread and fountain of life, and that we are but hungry and thirsty souls who need a source from which to eat and drink. And it also teaches us that he is eager to give the food and drink of himself to all who believe and ask in his name. So we ask of Jesus because it helps us to understand and feel our proper relationship to Jesus.
Prayer Focus: Pray that Jesus will persuade us that we must ask of him in prayer, and that he will teach us to actually ask of him in prayer day by day. Pray that he will teach us how to form and articulate our thoughts and affections in such a way that he will be glorified, that he will be pleased to answer our prayers, that others will be blessed, and that our joy in him will be increased.