Sunday, February 21, 2016

Why Must We Ask of Jesus in Prayer? Part III

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). Over the last two weeks we have seen that this promise assumes something very basic but extremely important, namely, that we must ask of Christ in prayer or our prayers cannot be answered. 

I see at least eight reasons why Jesus commands us to ask of him, five of which I have shared over the last two weeks. Specifically, I have said that we must ask of Jesus in prayer (1) because he commanded us to do so, (2) because we’re in a relationship with him and communication is key to the health of any relationship, (3) because it teaches us childlike dependence upon him, (4) because it teaches us to think, feel, and ask like Jesus, and (5) because it teaches us how to counsel and bless one another. This week I add three more reasons. 

Sixth, we must ask of Jesus in prayer because it is God’s means of glorifying himself by proving that we are in Christ. As Jesus said in John 14:12-14, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (emphasis mine). Indeed, the process and outcomes of a praying life are proof-positive that the gospel has worked; that light has overcome darkness; that life has overcome death; that communion with God has overcome alienation. 

Seventh, we must ask of Jesus in prayer because it forms faith in us as we speak to God and he acts on our behalf. There is no better way to grow in trusting God than to walk in intimacy with God and see him guide, answer, direct, and rebuke along the way. And the more we walk with him and ask of him in Jesus’ name, the more we will see various sorts of answers and grow in the sure knowledge that he is with us and that he is for us in Christ. 

Finally, then, we must ask of Jesus in prayer because the process and outcomes of a praying life serve to make our joy full in Christ. As Jesus said in John 15:11 and 16:24, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full…Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” 

So, Beloved, for at least these eight reasons, let us make a life of walking with Christ in prayer and of asking of him in prayer, as we abide in him and his words abide in us. Next week we will begin to ponder some of Jesus’ great promises to those who call upon his name.

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