Summary: Can we have whatever we ask for in prayer? In the gospel of John and in his first letter, 6 times we are told we can have whatever we ask for.
Introduction: Can we have whatever we ask for in prayer? In the gospel of John and in his first letter, 6 times we are told we can have whatever we ask for. Let us look at 6 conditions or 6 factors necessary for our petitions to be granted:
I The Glory Factor (John 14:12-13)
i) Jesus was going to the Father: From there He could help us do even greater things than He was doing. Greater in scope and extent not necessary in quality. Jesus was comforting his disciples to help them understand the purpose of His departure.
ii) Whatever we ask in His Name: To ask in a person’s name is to ask in all that the name represents: His sacrifice, His position, His authority, etc. It is to ask as if Jesus were asking.
iii) The purpose is that God gets the glory: e.g. Act 2 when the lame beggar was healed in the Name of Jesus, people began praising God. Isa 42:8 …I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
II The Relationship Factor (John 15:7)
i) If implies a condition: The condition is one of abiding or remaining in. It speaks of relationship. We need to abide in Jesus and His Word must abide in us. We get connected to Jesus when we accept Him and are born again. But, we must allow His Word to flow into our lives and transform us. (Rom 12:2)
ii) 7 Sons of Sceva: Act 19:14-16 tried to invoke the Name of Jesus without a relationship with Him. They tried to cast out an evil spirit in a man in the Name of Jesus. The evil spirit recognized that they had no relationship with Jesus and so beat them so severely that they were driven out naked and bleeding.
III The Production Factor (John 15:16)
i) Appointed to produce fruit: We have been appointed to produce fruit. We have been chosen for this purpose. We need to recognize that.
ii) Lasting fruit: Souls of men that are saved will last for all eternity. We have to produce this fruit in our lives.
iii) ‘Then’, implies the condition: If you fulfil the condition of fruitfulness then you can have whatever you ask. There is a primary (spiritual) and a secondary (natural) dream that God has for us. Often we miss the priorities: Mat 6:33 seek first the kingdom and then the things are added.
IV The Joy Factor (John 16:23)
i) Joy will be complete: God is interested in us being joyful. Our joy is made full as our prayers are answered and our needs are met. The command is to be joyful always (1Th 5:16)
V The Obedience Factor (1 John 3:21-23)
i) Answered prayer results from obedience to His command: When our hearts do not condemn us we have confidence before God. We are obeying his command.
ii) What is his command? Singular: faith and love not separate commands but indissoluble one. You cannot love Jesus without loving your brother and you cannot love your brother without loving Jesus.
VI The Will of God Factor (1 John 5:14-15)
i) This seems obvious: God only answers prayer which is according to His Will.
ii) He only hears that which according to His Will: Anything else God does not even hear! If God hears us He answers us.
Conclusion: We all would like our prayers to be answered. Are we willing to consider these 6 questions:
1) Who’s getting the glory?
2) How is our relationship with Jesus?
3) Are we producing lasting fruit?
4) Is our prayer going to increase our joy?
5) Are we obeying His command?
6) Are we asking according to His will?