John 14:13 contains an amazing prayer promise. Jesus says, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
It’s not an unconditional prayer promise. We need to ask in Jesus name. Now if you grew up in an evangelical church, chances are good that you do that. You pray your prayer and finish it off with the words, In Jesus Name we pray. Amen. Right? John 14:13 is the source of those words. By the way, how is the working for you? Are you getting what you want when you close with those words?
Here’s the problem. I think sometimes we treat those words like the magical words of an incantation. Like Abracadabra – there now you have to give me what I asked for Jesus.
In John 15:9 we have the same promise, but a different expression of the condition; “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you will ask for whatever you want and I will give it.” I think it’s not only the same prayer promise, it’s the same prayer condition expressed in a different way. Remaining in Jesus and letting his words remain in us is really what it means to ask in Jesus name. Adding certain words at the end of our prayers is not what Jesus is seeking. He’s waiting for us to add His words to our hearts. As his words remain in us, his prayers start to come out of us and when we pray what’s on his heart – the answer is on it’s way.
So we need to look at our hearts. Do we hang on his words? Do his words remain in us? President Obama spoke at Penn State today. People not only gathered to hear his words, they waited in line to get a ticket to hear his words. Do we hang on Jesus’ words?
Here’s what I want you to do for just a moment. Picture yourself with Jesus. You’re walking by a stream in Rothrock State Forest. Catching up over a coffee at Saints Cafe. (And it would be plain ol’ coffee because you know Jesus isn’t into latte double whipped, mocha peppermint whimpy sweet drinks. He drinks coffee.)
You’re sitting by a fire in a little cabin, or talking a walk in the afternoon with the snow gently falling, or like the disciples one Thursday night over 2000 years ago, you are walking through a vineyard, it’s evening. You don’t know it but Jesus is sharing his last thoughts before he dies on a cross (John 14-17). Do you hang on his words?
Maybe you’re thinking, well I would if he was here. He is and he still speaks. One good benchmark of whether or not we hang on Jesus’ words is to simply look at how often we read the Bible. It’s not the only way God speaks, but it’s the main way he speaks. So what has your interaction with the Bible been like lately? Are you hanging on his words?