‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it. My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing a lot of fruit; and in this way you become my disciples. I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.’ (verses 7-10)
Read John 15:1-11
Here, in verse 7, it sounds as though we have a Father Christmas sort of God. Jesus seems to be saying that, as we stay close to him, we can ask for absolutely anything – and we’ve got it! It sounds too good to be true. It sounds as though God, with a click of his fingers, will heal us of our sickness, get us that job, and generally fix up all our problems.
Prayer, however, is not an open cheque that ensures we will get whatever we want. Prayer does not exist for the gratification of our personal desires. Prayer is, rather, a relationship between Father and child in which the child obeys the Father and seeks to bring him glory by bearing fruit for him.
Within this sort of relationship God will answer our requests: he will readily give us whatever we ask for in order that the glory can be his.
Holy Spirit, guide my prayer requests so that they focus on God and his will rather than on me and my will. Amen.
by Margaret Hunt in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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