Whatever You Ask
July 27, 2022
And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:23-24).
When I first learned that my mother had contracted ovarian cancer (at that time it was deemed terminal) I began to pray that God would heal her. It was in the early 1980s. We enlisted everyone we knew to pray with us for her healing. Her church had special prayer watches for her. The leaders of the church would come by and lay hands on her and pray. She underwent procedures and chemotherapy to try and eradicate the cancer. On April 24, 1985, she died at the age of 58. Needless to say, I had a major problem with such Bible promises as:
Matthew 21:21-22. Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
Luke11:9-10, So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
John 16:23-24, Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you . . . Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. This is the third time the Lord made this promise (John 14:13; 15:16). I wrestled long and hard over these and other verses like these. I couldn’t understand why the Lord didn’t hear us, or if He did, why He didn’t answer us. Sometime during the intervening years my understanding was opened to the truth of our Lord’s words. When that truth was revealed, my emotional, mental, and spiritual pain was calmed and a peace that passes all understanding filled my soul.
To pray in the name of Jesus is not to use His name as a spiritual formula to guarantee that what is prayed for will be answered in the manner in which it is prayed. To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray for, and in a manner consistent with His will and purpose, and to trust that His will and purpose will be done - whether it is consistent with my will or not. In the above cited texts, the promise that God will grant what we pray for is embedded in those passages that stress the will and work of God, not the will and work of man. In other words, when we read and understand that it is the will and purpose of God that is supreme in all things, then it is our will that must be conformed to His will - not vice versa. If God should grant us everything we ask, then we would have no regard for the sovereignty of God.
Now, as I think back on the time of my mother’s death, I realize God did answer my prayer. She received the ultimate healing. She is alive and well in heaven. Her faith has been made complete. She has no cancer. She will never have the weaknesses and frailties of age. And, I will see her again, along with my father, my brother Bill, Nancy’s parents and sister Judy, and a whole host of others who have gone to be with the Lord. Amen.