Ask What You Desire

June 4, 2022

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7).

This verse, as with John 14:13-14, cannot be taken out of context to mean that whatever the Christian wants, the Lord is obligated to give. That is not the promise there, and it is not the promise here. Context dictates the interpretation of the passage.

In John 15:4-5 the Lord had instructed the disciples to abide (continually live) in Him. In 15:6 He had warned them what the consequences would be if they didn’t abide in Him. Now He returns to the results that come from their obedience to His words. There are 3 such results: (1) God would answer whatever prayers they offered to Him, (2) the Father would be glorified in their request and His answer, and (3) their request and His answer would confirm in them and to others that they were true disciples of the Lord.

It has been stated earlier that the purpose of prayer is not to present to the Lord a list of things we want Him to do for us. Prayer is not a means whereby we strong-arm God into doing our bidding. “The popular interpretation of [these verses] is that if the Christian will only work himself up to an importunate pleading of this promise before the throne of grace, he may then ask God for what he pleases, and the Almighty will not - some go so far as to say He cannot - deny him” (Arthur Pink). Such has never been the case. (1 John 5:14-15) Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. Whatever we ask of Him will not be granted to us unless our will is subject to His will and authority.

So what is the meaning of this promise? Two conditions affect the promise: (1) abiding in Christ, which is maintaining constant communion with the Lord, and (2) His words abiding in us, which is the truth of God’s word capturing the mind, heart, and spirit of the Christian. (Matthew 4:4) It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” This is not an occasional exercise and experience, but a constant and habitual fellowship with God through His Word until His truth becomes the spiritual sustenance of the believer.

After the conditions are met, the promise is fulfilled, ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. What would such a Christian ask for? His desires. What would his desires be? The desires of Christ. The Christian’s desires will be conditioned by the truth of God’s Word that has saturated his being. He will be raised above the petty lusts of the flesh. He will bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), thereby proving what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). Such a view of prayer is glorifying to God and satisfying to the Christian soul. Amen.

G. Martin

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