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Today’s Truth

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

John 14:13

Friend to Friend

Several years ago, I was on my way home from running errands. As I approached our neighborhood, my cell phone rang.

“Hi, Mom. It’s Kennedy. Where are you?”

“Hey, baby! I ran some errands and will be home in just a few minutes. What’s up?”

“Well, I wanted to see if you and I could go shopping for a new bathing suit this afternoon, and— don’t say no —I’d like to get a feather in my hair. Can we, Mom?”

Oh. No. She. Didn’t!

Don’t say ‘no’? I thought. Really? C’mon girl. I’m the parent. You’re the child. Get a grip.

“Honey, we’re several weeks away from swim season. I’m not sure that today is a good day for all of this. And you’re free to share your heart with me and to tell me your desires, but you do not get to tell me what I can and can’t say no to. I’m pulling into the neighborhood now and will see you in a minute.”

Later, as I considered the way my daughter positioned her request my heart leapt with conviction. How often do I approach God with a request wrapped up in a demand that He not to tell me no?

Jesus told His disciples that they could ask for anything. He even said that when we ask in His name that what we ask for would be given to us.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 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 14:12-14).

Let’s consider the context here. When Jesus said, “You may ask me for anything,” it wasn’t an open invitation for the will of man to reign. It was an invitation for man to participate in the will of God through prayer. It was about us asking for things that will bring glory to God the Father. Asking “in my name” is all about the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven – not the whim of mankind.

Is God obligated to answer our prayers in the way we want Him to? No, He’s not.

Does God want you to have a million-dollar home and drive a Lexus? Not sure.

Does God want you to be healed of that diagnoses, disease, or physical challenge? Possibly.

Is He able? Yes.

I don’t know His exact plan for your life, but what I do know is this: God is a good and faithful God. “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast forever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness” (Psalm 111:7-8).

When it comes to God’s character, faithfulness doesn’t mean that He will always come through for us in the way we expect. It means He will see His plans through to completion, that He will keep His promises, that He will continue to work in our lives for our ultimate good – not necessarily our immediate happiness.

If we think that God can’t say no to us, then we’ve put ourselves on the throne and not God.

Prayer is not about getting God to do what we want Him to do; it is about releasing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). It doesn’t change His mind and He’s not a genie in a bottle whose wish is our command. God is God—and He is faithful, no matter which way He moves.

I really love my daughter. But just because she asks me for something doesn’t mean that I’m going to grant her request. I love her too much for that. God is our heavenly Father. Our parent. He wants mature, wise children. Not spoiled children. He loves us too much for that.

He even told His own Son “no” in order to accomplish His great purposes. “On the night He was betrayed, Jesus was distraught to the point of sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Crying out to God, He “knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done’” (Luke 22:41-42).

God said no to Jesus because the request of His Son did not line up with His will. And because God said no, you and I can experience grace, forgiveness, peace, and salvation. In order for God to be glorified in His life, Jesus had to submit to the will of the Father. In order for God to be glorified in our lives and our prayers to be powerful, we, too, must submit to the will of the Father—and His will is always what’s best for us because He is faithful.

At times the wounds of life leave us reeling.

At times God allows trials and temptations that seem unbearable.

Even in tough and changing times, God remains the same and He can be trusted. We must choose to trust. And that choice is directly linked with the promise of blessing. “O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” (Psalm 84:12)

No matter what you pray for you can trust God, whether His answer is “Yes” or “No.”

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Faithful One, You are my Father and I know that You have a plan for me. Please bind me to Your will and teach me to desire Your heart above all else. Help me to hold unswervingly to the hope that I profess, knowing that You are faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

In spite of our wandering ways, God remains steadfast. Read and consider the following verse: “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). How does this verse encourage you? Have you been praying for the Lord to answer according to His will or according to yours?

More from the Girlfriends

We’re pleased to announce the new GRACEOLOGY with Gwen Smith podcast! Hang out with Gwen and friends when you go on walks, exercise, run errands or travel. Podcasts are also perfect to listen to as you do household chores! (Laundry anyone?) Each GRACEOLOGY with Gwen Smith podcast episode is filled with fun, faith-focused, grace-filled conversations that will help you know and trust God more. These discussions are going to encourage you in meaningful ways to live out and lean on the GRACE of Jesus in the midst of cluttered, messy days. CLICK HERE to listen on iTunes, or visit GwenSmith.net/Graceology for more information.

6 Responses to “The Most Powerful Way to Pray”

  1. Tonia says:

    Amen! What a great example of explaining God’s will.

  2. Pam says:

    This verse has been a tricky one. When Mom died I had prayed believing that mountain would be moved and it wasn’t. I was angry for about two years, a waste of valuable time and energy. I just didn’t get it and here is why. The verse says to ask anything in My name and it will be given. It Doesn’t say ask anything in My name and it will be given as long as it is My will. In my opinion, the verse just didn’t “work”.

    I presumed the problem was not with God, nor His word but with something I didn’t know or understand. He’s a pretty good Dad! (God that is.) I decided to look up all the times this appeared in the Bible. What I found was that Jesus was talking to his disciples and it pertained to their ministry in most instances. I resigned myself to this not being a “name it claim it” verse as it is frequently misrepresented.

    When quoting scripture we need to be careful to examine content and audience at the time. Did I have free reign to ask God not to take my mother? Absolutely! God cared. Did I have the right to believe just because I asked He would give it because of that verse? No. Did I ask according to His will? Nope. Dog-gone-it I just wanted my Mom to live. Was it O.K. to be angry at God. Yeppers. He can take it. We (He and I) got through it. But this verse has a prickle to it when I encounter it. That’s okay too.

  3. Carolyn says:

    I have been going thru stuff the last 7 months. My husband is still not here yet due going thru visa process but he is closer now to coming and I am in states since am American but he is Canadian. We have been part 7 months but we are both trusting GOD. I just had foot surgery on my rt foot and pins put in and trust him to get me thru it. My best friend and soul sister is here for a few days to hrlp me and my neighbor Roxanne has been been a great blessing yo me and a women from my church that I never meet has been a great help to me by taken me to surgery and home. I have learned some times to have trust others even though y want to do it all and can’t. I am trusting Him to get me thru it and his will be done.

  4. Yvonne says:

    Hi, thankyou for a wonderfully encouraging message.
    The thought i had was in regard to Jesus prayer to Father,& the thought that God said “no” to Jesus….Jesus is God & their will is One, Jesus would always have gone to the Cross, the OT prophets speak of His laying down His life in this way…Isaiah 53. He could not say no to Father, for this would make Him separate from God & we know that God is Triune. The Trinity, ‘plurality in Oneness’, Father Son & Holy Spirit, One God, each person of the Godhead taking the needful place in order that God’s honour be restored & for the suffering of death, that we might live.

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  6. ustvnow says:

    Hello all,

    I presumed the problem was not with God, nor His word but with something I didn’t know or understand. He’s a pretty good Dad! (God that is.) I decided to look up all the times this appeared in the Bible. What I found was that Jesus was talking to his disciples and it pertained to their ministry in most instances. I resigned myself to this not being a “name it claim it” verse as it is frequently misrepresented.

    Regards, Toy

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