What’s the point of praying? Nothing is guaranteed

Nothing is guaranteed when we pray, eh? But that’s not what Jesus said.

He said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name,” John 14:13, and in verse 14, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

And if that isn’t guarantee enough, Jesus said it again in John 15:7, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you,” and again in verse 16, “the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” 

And if that still isn’t guarantee enough, he said it yet again in John 16:23, “my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name,” and in verse 24, “Ask and you shall receive.”

What more could Jesus say to hammer home that our requests in prayer come with a guaranteed answer? Which sounds great – but – we live in a world where warranties always have conditions attached. The warranty on a new fridge, for instance, only applies if we use the fridge for what it was made for, and any hint of misuse or improper care cancels the warranty entirely. So is that how it is with prayer too, that conditions apply as well?

Yes, but the conditions make total sense, like John 15:7 that says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, etc.” So, yes, there’s an “if,” a condition attached, but it makes the same obvious sense as not using a new fridge as a boat. Obviously we won’t ask for anything that doesn’t tie in with Jesus’ teachings, right? And obviously we’d only ask for something we know would please him.

And exactly the same conditions applied to Jesus in his prayers too. “I seek not to please myself but him who sent me,” John 5:30, and everything he prayed for was to bring “glory to the Father,” John 14:13 and 15:8, by Jesus always saying and doing only what the Father wanted said and done, John 5:19 and 7:16. In other words, Jesus stuck like glue to his Father’s teachings to please his Father because he loved him, just like we stick like glue to Jesus’ teachings to please him because we love him too. And with Jesus as our example, we know that’s what gets prayers answered. There are conditions, yes, but they are just as obvious in their reasons as the conditions attached to the use of a new fridge.

And all Jesus needs from us after that is John 14:12 – “I tell you the truth (it’s guaranteed, in other words) that anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.” Trust him, and that’s that, an answer to our request is guaranteed.

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