What is the biggest thing you’ve asked God for today?  This year?  In your life?  

Do you believe God is stronger than you?  That he has more time on his hands?  That he knows better what you and everyone you know needs today? 

Do you think God knows how to do your job better than you? How to be a better parent, spouse, sibling, or friend? How to share the Gospel better than you?  

Then why not ask for help?

All You Need Is to Ask

All you need to do is ask, but you need to ask with right motives as well.   Jesus was very clear when he said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8)

He also says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)

Lastly he says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing… And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

In Jesus’ Name

If Jesus really promised that we would have whatever we ask for in His name, then why don’t we get everything we ask for?  Doesn’t that make Him a liar?  By no means! 

James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

This indicates a critical conclusion: Praying in Jesus’ name doesn’t just mean that you say Jesus’ name when you pray (although, that is good) or that you believe God hears you because Jesus is our high priest (although that is true).  Praying in Jesus’ name refers to the motives in our hearts and the belief we have in Him to actually do what we asked him to.

The truth is that we often ask God for things which do not hallow His name, do not reflect His lordship, and do not line up with His revealed will.  When we pray, we are not praying in Jesus’ name or for His kingdom to come or for His will to be done.  When we pray, we are praying to make a name for ourselves (“God, make me successful so that others will honor me“), for our kingdom (“God, give me this thing I want”), and for our own will (“God, let me do whatever I want”).  No wonder he doesn’t give us those things!

His Will

The solution to this heart issue is simple.  “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).  This verse shows us that when our minds are made new, we will know God’s will.  He does not want us to be ignorant, but reveals His will to us in His Word.

So ask! Ask big!  Prayer is NOT wishful thinking or a Christmas list of all the things we wish we had, but a real supplication to a real King who has real authority and REALLY gives us what we ask for…in His name.

charlie_bwCharlie is a new campus coordinator for Campus Renewal at the University of Texas at Dallas.  He obtained a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and is recently married.  He is fluent in German and enjoys racquetball.