“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites.”
Last night I was led to John 15. You know, that part of the bible that says this:
John 15:7-8 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
This promise has always fascinated me. Sure, I’ve had lots of answered prayer, and so have many people I know, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that God answers prayer. What grabs my attention is that Jesus says, “whatever you wish.” Of course, he also has the qualifier, “if you abide,” that prevents me from making a fool out of myself.
For example, Jesus says if I have enough faith, I can move a mountain. I believe that. I’m also pretty sure that I don’t have enough sense to know when to do such thing. Still, I know that in the right time and place, and if God instructed me to do so, I could command a mountain to be thrown into the sea. Who knows, maybe someday he’ll have me do just that. Maybe this is something I should pray for?
I don’t think so.
It’s interesting. I feel like a kid with $20 on vacation, trying to figure out how best to spend it. It’s not that God will only grant me one request, or so I think. I just have said some really thoughtless prayer and don’t want to keep doing that. I’m sure you know what I mean. How many times has he answered prayer, and I never think to thank him?
Honestly, it’s not easy to pray according to God’s word. Take salvation for example. We know that few will enter the narrow gate, right? That means most won’t be saved, so praying for everyone to be saved is counter to God’s own teaching. Besides, I don’t know how to reconcile prayer for the lost and the idea that God already chose his own before the foundation of the world.
The same dilemma happens when someone gets sick. We see God using illness, disease, death, and even demon-possession to glorify his name. Why should I assume that God wants someone to be healed from cancer? Besides, the death of a saint is a good thing because they will be with the Lord. Death isn’t bad. For an unbeliever, it’s the beginning of the lake of fire. That’s a different story.
I’ll leave it at that for now. I really enjoy pondering things like this. I hope you do, too. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant by, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you.”
Father, what a privilege it is to be counted among the saved. Thank you. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers