Why pray when you can worry?

By , May 31, 2011

“Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” John 15:16

Is Jesus being reckless here when He makes such a comprehensive statement? Many of God’s people have puzzled at such an all inclusive promise. In John 14:14 Jesus makes much the same statement. Then in John 16:23 we see the third such promise from the lips of Jesus. What are we to make of it? Can we just go and ask for anything our hearts desire and it will appear on our horizon?

Well, it is indeed a promise that invites the child of God to come and make their needs known. This verse at least tells us that there is nothing good for us that is outside the scope of this promise. This is confirmed to us by such a statement as we read in Psalm 84:11, “…no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (NIV)

The child of God who is in pain or sorrow may come and seek what is needed to address their problem. Jesus taught us to address God as “Father” and therefore we have intimacy or closeness to God. Also this term speaks of a relationship with God. He is our Father and as such has a responsibility for our care. He has committed Himself to His people and will see to their needs when they ask Him and sometimes before they ask. Isaiah 64:24 “before they call I will answer”

So God is ready, willing and most certainly able to supply us with what we need to cope with our issues in life.

But there is one detail that is so often overlooked when we come to such a generous statement by Jesus. He adds the curious phrase “in my name”. Now what on earth does that mean? In order to understand this phrase we must think like a Jew of Jesus time. A Jew would consider the “name” of a person to represent everything about the person. In fact the “name” stood for the person. In Psalm 20:1 it says, “may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.” The Psalmist means may God Himself with all He is protect you.

When we make our requests known to God “in Jesus’ name” we are saying that Jesus wants us to have this. We use Jesus’ name as our authority to have what we ask. Therefore we need to be careful that we do not use the name of Jesus’ in a manner that is not worthy of Him. What we ask for must truly be what Jesus would desire for us. Certainly we may ask for grace to help in our times of need. We may seek from the Father wisdom to walk well in our difficult journey. We may seek for peace of heart in the context of a storm. We may also ask that the problem might be lifted from us.

But at all times, in all circumstances we need to pray that God will glorify Himself through us. We should pray for strength to endure, for a calm spirit, and pray that others would benefit from our trial. Can you pray in this manner for help? Or will you worry instead? Wonderful resources are there if we ask in Jesus’ name. Come and receive what you need. Jesus is ready to help. Come, and come now.

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