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Posts Tagged ‘John 14:13’

Before my friend, Elizabeth, even spoke, I knew something was wrong.  The slump of her shoulders, the wrinkled brow, the tears welling up in her eyes–they spoke loud and clear.

“You know how Michael and I would like to have a little brother or sister for Ashley,” my friend said, dabbing at her eyes with a Kleenex.  “Well, it’s become more than just a desire for me.  I so desperately want another child.”  Her voice became tight.  “The waiting and uncertainty are becoming unbearable.”

We stood together, in the emptying sanctuary after church, arms entwined.  And I prayed for Elizabeth and Michael.

Psalm 113:9, a verse which had ministered to me years before, came to mind.  I included the promise in my prayer:  “God, you’ve promised ‘to settle the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.’  We are claiming that promise today for Michael and Elizabeth.  Even now we look forward to the day when they are holding a new, precious baby in their arms.”

Note the verse says children, not child.

The prayer came out of my mouth with certainty and brazen expectation, not in keeping with my cautious personality at all.  I have to admit, the thought crossed my mind, What if God intends for Elizabeth and Michael to have just one child?  You’ve gone way out on a limb with that prayer!

But I voiced no disclaimers, no caveats.  I let the prayer stand on its foundation of conviction–conviction that didn’t come from my spirit as much as from the Holy Spirit.

For the weeks that followed, I continued to pray that God would bless this couple with another child.

Weeks later, Elizabeth approached me once again.  Even before she spoke, I knew what she was going to say.  Her outspread arms, wide grin, and sparkling eyes spoke loud and clear.

“I’m pregnant!” she cried.

We hugged each other tight and noisily exclaimed our jubilation.

Would I have been as excited had I not been praying for this family?  Delighted, yes.  But jump-up-and-down-ecstatic?  Probably not.  My joy was greatly expanded because I had invested myself in the outcome—with the effort of prayer.

Yes, there are many reasons to pray, including these benefits:

  • Our wills are aligned to God’s will (Psalm 37:4).
  • Strength of character is developed through the discipline of perseverance (Luke 11:5-8).
  • We have the opportunity to bring glory to God (John 14:13).
  • Prayer is a means for fighting against evil (Ephesians 6:10-18, especially verse 18).

But the wonder of prayer, for me, is the privilege God gives us, to be part of the process, as he engineers circumstances to accomplish his will.

Every time God moves in situations for which we’ve prayed, he is giving us a precious gift:  the gift of participation with him–in a miracle.

Maybe two.

Michael and Elizabeth had twin girls!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Heavenly Father, thank you for the splendid privilege of participating with you in the healing, protection, provision, and guidance with which you bless others.  May I never get tired of bringing my requests to you, knowing that the joyful conclusion will be worth every moment spent in prayer!

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Why do we say, “in Jesus’ name,” at the end of our prayers?

Several scriptures instruct us.  Let’s begin with John 14:6.

Jesus spoke very plainly and firmly that the only way for us to be welcomed into God’s presence is through him, our Savior and advocate.  Jesus made access possible by his death on the cross, paying the penalty for our sin.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Based on our own right-doing, we could never enter into God’s holy presence.  Our good deeds are as valuable as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), because they’re stained with sin.

But when we believe in Jesus and allow him full reign in our lives, he exchanges those filthy rags for a dazzling cloak of righteousness—his righteousness.  And dressed in this glorious finery, we may enter into the throne room of the King of the universe with our requests.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:21).

When we pray in Jesus’ name, we’re praying by his authority.

Years ago, Steve and I enjoyed a VIP tour of Cape Canaveral, thanks to our acquaintance with an engineer who worked there.  Had we walked into some of those buildings on our own, we would have been turned away.  Immediately.  No discussion.    But Steve and I had been given special badges.  We were accompanied by a certified tour guide, and so we were given access.

Now think of such a privilege on a cosmic scale:  We are able to walk into the ethereal presence of Almighty God because we know his Son, Jesus.

John 14:13 says that we may ask for anything in Jesus’ name, and he will do it.  At first glance, it might seem that Jesus is promising to fulfill our every wish for a home worthy of Architectural Digest, a car that causes heads to turn, and a vacation each year in an exotic location.  Make that twice a year.

But could I really ask for those things in Jesus’ name?  He left the perfect splendor of heaven and angels to live in the squalor of humanity.  He died an excruciating death, to rescue me from the consequences of my sin.  How dare I behave like a spoiled child and request frivolous things, when he sacrificed so much?

No, what I want to do is line up my prayers with what Jesus values, what he would desire.  And his main goal is to bring glory to the Father.   Jesus wants to highlight the magnificence of our God in the prayers he answers affirmatively.

And when our prayers are in agreement with Jesus’ agenda, we can pray with confidence that we will be heard and God will answer.

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12).

Perhaps it would be wise to begin our prayers with affirmations of these truths.  It might sound something like this:

Heavenly Father, I come to you as one of your forgiven children, saved by your Son, Jesus.  It is only by his authority that I kneel before you to bring these requests.

Teach me what it means to pray in the name of Jesus, to align my desires with yours.  Remind me to ask, even as I begin, “Will this request bring you glory?”

I don’t want to trivialize the horrific price Jesus paid for my life, by asking for frivolous things.  I want my prayers to reflect what you value.  It’s just another way I can live my love for you, O Lord, my God.  And that’s the deepest desire of my heart.

 

(photo credits:  www.bestronginthelord.com , www.camanocommunity.net , www.menupix.com , www.barnako.typepad.com , http://www.capresbytery.org  )

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