“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13
Does that mean I can pray anything, and God will answer it? Is God just like a special vending machine that I can insert a coin/prayer, special phrase and then what I prayed for will pop right out?
I don’t think prayer moves God to respond like that. This gives me great peace because sometimes I am praying all the wrong things and I don’t know it…yet.
The key phrase in Jesus’ instructions on prayer in this verse is, “Whatever you ask in my name.” What I ask for must be consistent with God’s character and in line with His heart. When I accept Jesus’ invitation to pray, I spend time in God’s presence. If I choose to persist in prayer, the prolonged time in a humble posture of prayer can cause my heart to shift. As I begin to care for the things He cares for, I am slowly conformed to His will. Sometimes, I need to persist in prayer not because nagging is going to force God’s hand, but because the more time I spend with God the more I begin to sense His will causing my prayers slowly adjust to align with His greater plan.
If only I would arrive at prayer with an attitude of seeking His insight and not persist in unloading a long set of demands. How often have I insisted on continuing to pray for what I perceived as the best outcome? I only have limited perspective, and not the 360-degree view God has that is not even bound by time. His view is eternal. His perspective cannot even be contained by my earthbound mind.
When Jesus gave his disciples this teaching regarding prayer, he said that the primary purpose of answered prayers is for God’s glory. My prayers might be answered in some spectacular way, not to cause me to boast or take any credit but to show God’s power, grace, kindness and consistency. These answers to prayer in our broken world are small victories pointing to the ultimate victory Jesus had over sin. His death on the cross brought God all the glory.
When it comes to tending our souls, prayer is something we must persist in. Through prayer, we experience transformation as we are ushered into the throne room. We surrender burdens we were never designed to carry. Burdens He is more than able to carry. Persisting in prayer is truly an essential soul tending practice, and it can be some of the best self-care.
Do you persist in prayer? Do you experience transformation in prayer?