Summary: Sermon nine in a fourteen sermon series based on the popular Bible study by Henry Blackaby.
We find Jesus speaking of prayer within the context of referring to His walk with the Father (vs. 10-11). As we have already seen, Jesus walked with the Father by prioritizing His love relationship with the Father.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” - Mark 1:35 (NIV)
As a result, He knew what the Father was doing in the world around Him and what the Father was calling Him to cooperate with Him in.
“I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing.” - John 5:19 (The Message)
Jesus tells us here that He expects those who believe in Him to walk as He walked (v. 12a). He also said that as we did as he did (in walking with the Father), we would do even greater things for two reasons:
Reason #1: His presence with the Father - v. 12b
Anything we do of value in the kingdom is by virtue of the victory won by Christ through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension!
Reason #2: The privilege of prayer - vs. 13-14
Jesus repeats Himself here, probably because He knew we would have a hard time believing what He said.
When Jesus said something once, we should pay attention; but when He repeats Himself, we should really take note!
Jesus tells us that through prayer, we can walk in the victory He won for us as we are led to walk as He did - in cooperation with the Father.
Let’s notice what Jesus tells us about prayer here and apply it to knowing and doing the will of God.
1. The measure of our praying - “whatever”
When it comes to prayer, no request is out of line, provided that we desire God’s will above all else.
“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”- 1 John 5:14-15 (Amplified)
As we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). In other words, he will give us desires that are consistent with His will.
When Jesus says, "whatever," He does so within the context of our co-operating with the Father - walking in love relationship with the Father.
“If you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
- John 15:7 (The Message)
The "whatever" results from an intimate walk with God. Prayer is not rubbing the magic lamp or punching the right buttons, but prayer is a means of relating with our heavenly Father.
Prayer does not change God, it changes us! As we go to Him in prayer, God conforms our will to His will so that we might pray as He directs and walk as He directs.
“The Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will." - Romans 8:27 (NIV)
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” - Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV)
"The highest motives possible from the highest beings possible are constantly reaching on our behalf, the highest throne possible.”
Our co-operating with God begins in prayer!
2. The means of our praying - "in my name"
Literally - "presenting all that I am"
Realize that God is all you need. His way is best, because He is all you need. Praying "in His name" is praying with the realization that our sufficiency is found only in Him!
The point is not how strong we are, but how strong God is!
How the Hebrew names for God reveal His character:
Elohim (God) - His majesty & creative power
Adonai (Lord) - His sovereignty & authority
El Shaddai (God Almighty) - His might & sufficiency
Jehovah (I Am) - His unchanging faithfulness
Jehovah-Jireh - The Lord our provider
Jehovah-Rophe - The Lord our healer
Jehovah-Nissi - The Lord our banner
Jehovah-M’Kaddesh - The Lord who sanctifies
Jehovah-Shalom - The Lord our peace
Jehovah-Rohi - The Lord our shepherd
Jehovah-Tsidkenu - The Lord our righteousness