Things to Remember about Prayer - Lesson VIII
John 14:13 - Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that I will do.
These words were spoken to the disciples near the end of Christ's ministry. They speak to the responsibility they would soon take upon themselves to continue His ministry in His place. They have been taught all that the Father told Him to, and have become part of His plan, to further His Gospel and His kingdom on Earth. They are soon to go out and do the works of Christ in His power through the Holy Spirit.
Their working and prayer began a new work of God based on the New Testament of Christ's death and resurrection and ascension. It is the prayer of faith that brings the power for the work. Since Christ went to the Father, they were now His body on earth. As the Head, He works from heaven, for and through His body, the Church. It would have been natural to expect that only lesser works could be accomplished once Jesus was in heaven, but this was not what He predicted.
He said: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and he shall do greater works." Christ's death broke down the power of sin, His resurrection brought the power of an eternal life, His ascension brought for the believer the indwelling Holy Spirit. This also provided the closest possible relationship for communion and fellowship between all believers and The Father through the Son. The spread and growth of the Church for over 2,000 years certainly is a present proof of God working through disciples of His Son the greater work of spreading the Gospel to uncounted numbers of people all over the world and to continue each and every day.
During His earthly life, He was limited to time and location, reaching out to those around Him, having around 900 disciples. Since His ascension, He has worked through an ever increasing number of His disciples, answering prayer with power to do the works He did, and even greater, in His Name, granted by the Father. No matter how insignificant we may consider ourselves, we are all part of His body and worthy of whatever part we may play through the Spirit to further the spread of the Gospel. We must also build up and encourage other parts of the body, other believers.
All is to be done to the glory of the Father and the Son. The more we pray in Jesus Name, the more spiritual power is given. To complain of weakness or inability is actually to complain of our lack of prayer and depending on the power and strength and promises of Jesus and the Father. Who do we serve and how much is He able to do for us?
Jesus continues to tell us that the only thing we must do is ask, that the Father waits to pour out His blessings if we just communicate and spend time with Him, and learn of Him what He desires us to do. His blessings will not be limited or carefully measured out. The word "pour" suggests abundance and quick action. God waits upon our sincere prayer, believing that He is ready and able to grant our petitions.
We must maintain focus that the promise of answer is connected with the doing of His works. This means that anyone who has chosen to spend their best efforts in the Lord's work, seeks His will and glory. We serve Him, not the other way around. Prayer teaches and strengthens us to the Lord's work, and the work teaches and strengthens us to pray.
That Jesus wants to do great works through us is clearly stated. That He will give us the Holy Spirit to empower us is also. To ask in His Name is what He asks us to do. His answer to that prayer is: "that I will do." We must learn to live to pray and pray to live, all unto the Father through Jesus, and He promises to give us the power to do His works. Jesus also said that He has overcome the world.
These are all gifts – we don't have to work up to some level to be accepted. They are gifts because of the love and mercy of the Father toward us. We only have to believe. We must continue to pray to increase our faith that we may grow and mature in His work, and increase our power in prayer, that our work would increase in doing what He would do were He here. We must pray for forgiveness for our limits of both prayer, and faith, and works. We must practice working and praying in the most Holy and Wonderful and Precious Name of Jesus the Christ, Our Saviour, Our Redeemer, Our Intercessor, Our Helper and Shepherd, Our Head and Example, both now and forever.
All to the glory of the Father, in the Name of the Son. This is the ultimate object of all answered prayer. If there is no chance of this being accomplished, then that prayer will not be answered. The aim and result of our prayer must also be to this aim and end. These sentiments are often spoken by Jesus during His earthly ministry. "Father, glorify Thy Son, that thy Son may glorify Thee." Can we imagine any opportunity that God may be glorified that the Son would pass over? No. Therefore when we pray for something that will bring glory to God, then He will supply what is needed.
Unfortunately, our prayers are mixed with our own selfish, and therefore, sinful interests and miss the mark of effectual prayer according to God's will and to His Glory. We must be conscious of God's presence at all times so that we may not only do all to the glory of God, but also pray all to the glory of God. As God is the Light of the World, so must we constantly seek to live in that light, and put darkness behind us. Just as Jesus was the light of the world, showing the glory of the Father, so we are called upon to reflect that light before men, that God may be glorified in heaven, as the source and sustainer of the only true and powerful Light in the universe. That is why Jesus was crowned with glory and honor in heaven, and as our Intercessor granted power to answer our prayers, thus continuing to bring glory to the Father.
That the Father grants our petitions, relates only to His greatness, not any merit of ours. We must depend on His strength and power, not any of our own. Jesus is our teacher of how to live and pray to the glory of God. To Him alone belongs the kingdom, the power and the glory, both now and forever, amen.
To pray well brings glory to God, and brings the answer that glorifies the Father. If the object of our prayer is not God's glory, but some benefit to us, then we have no right to expect a positive answer. We must consciously give up our own desire for glory, that God may receive the glory. Our prayers will be according to God's will and His glory, as was all that Jesus did, said, and prayed while on earth – and continues to do in heaven.
We must realize how little we have attempted to live in the way of His Son as He lived for God's glory. We need to pray for the illumination of this glorious truth, that brings us into that wondrous Light of God's glory. Pray that it will bring us the joyful assurance that we can aspire to live to God's glory, because of Christ interceding for us and the Holy Spirit living within us. Trust and obey - there is no other way.
The Word and the Spirit will continue to inspire and enlighten us to His blessed will. Jesus promised to answer, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. We must continue to pray that we may learn and grow and mature in praying correctly and effectually. We must do so with the trust and faith that this is also His will for us. As He prays for us He also hears our prayers to answer to the glory of the Father. To glorify God is our highest calling as it is Christ's, so we must live accordingly, both in prayer and in our Christian walk. Amen.
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. View more lessons at his Bible Study Lessons page.