Friday, September 18, 2015

Praying in Jesus' Name, Part 2

Chuckle: "The man who is forever criticizing his wife's judgment never seems to question her choice in a husband!!"
Quote: "Don't pray to escape trouble. Don't pray to be comfortable in your emotions. Pray to do the will of God in every situation. Nothing else is worth praying for." --Samuel M. Shoemaker
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. . . If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:7-8 NIV).
Last time, we saw that it is only through Jesus that we have access to the Father (John 14:6). We heard Jesus tell us that whatever we ask for in His name He would give it to us. I posed the question: "Does this mean we can ask anything our hearts desire in Jesus' name and God is obligated to grant our request?" I then said the answer is both "yes" and "no."
In our passage for today, Jesus answers this question by laying out the conditions for praying/ asking in His Name and having what we ask given to us. If we meet this condition, we can pray in Jesus' name with confidence that our requests will be granted. That condition: "If you remain in me (joined to me) and my words remain in you."
Just as branches are one with the vine/tree, in Jesus' analogy, God desires that we be one with Christ. If we remain in Him, we will realize that all our spiritual sustenance comes from Him through his Spirit within us. We will learn to depend upon Him and grow to (1) Understand the mind of Christ and think more like Him; (2) Understand His will, His ways, and His words; (3) Pray the will of the vine which Christ will honor; and (4) Ask only for that which is consistent with His character.
Suppose you send your child off to college with a credit card for use in meeting legitimate financial needs. You would never expect that child to use the card for purchases that are not consistent with your character. You would not expect that child to purchase pornography, drugs, alcohol, etc. Likewise, if we remain in Christ, we will not try to use our spiritual line of credit for selfish requests not consistent will His character and His will.
If we remain in Him and He is in us, we will pray in His name, ask unselfishly, listen to the Vine, and we will bear fruit. James 4:3 NIV says, "When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your (selfish) pleasures." God will not grant requests contrary to His character (nature) or His will, and we cannot use His name as a magic formula to fulfill our selfish desires. If we are sincerely following God and seeking His will, then our requests will be in line with what He wants, and He will grant them.
Our motive for everything in our prayers should be to glorify God and help us bear fruit. Notice that Jesus said His granting our requests "is to my Father's glory." We bring glory to the Father when we pray according to His will. Because our hearts have been reconditioned by His Spirit, we can now pray for anything our hearts desire and we will receive.
Finally, when we get to this point in our relationship with our Lord (the Vine), we will pray with complete faith. Jesus said, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours" (Mark 11:24 NIV). James puts it this way: "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt" (James 1:6 NIV).
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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