I don’t know about you, but sometimes a single Scripture verse trips me up so bad I can’t get by it. It’ll keep cycling and cycling. Eventually, I roll on because I believe the Bible is true and I know God loves me. So, I just leave it…but not really.
Number one on my list of such verses is John 14:13…
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
Many prosperity gospel preachers quote that verse along with James 4:2b, “You do not have because you do not ask God.”
So, am I asking wrong? Is ‘name it and claim it’ right? If I ask God for my choice will I get a Rolls Royce?
It seems to depend on what I’m asking for and why. Check this out (from a guy who lived over 400 years ago)…
“The promise of God concerning prayer (that is the certainty of prayer being answered) is referring to the kind of prayer that is in faith and to the Holy Spirit. It is not, however, dealing with the prayers that come from the flesh or will or human wisdom. Therefore, the great care and concern in prayer is that it be of God in the quickenings and motions of his own Spirit. For the dead cannot praise God, nor can the dead truly pray to him.
We must not pray in a way that lacks life, that lacks God’s Spirit (who calls us to pray, teaches us to pray and makes intercessions for us). True prayer is not in the time, in the will or in the power of the person praying. Rather, it is a gift of God that resides in his Spirit. It is not ours, but it is given to us. Therefore, it is ours to wait upon the Spirit, to wait for the Spirit to move and breathe in us, and to give us the ability to call upon the Father and give us the power of prevailing with the Father, in the name and through the life of the Son.”
– Isaac Pennington (1617-1680)
So, when we pray from our flesh, our will or our human spirit, answers are hit and miss. God is God, and He does as He pleases, for our good and His glory. But when the Holy Spirit moves us to pray, and we’re praying in sync with the Father’s will, we bat a thousand! And, as our prayers are uttered and answered, our faith gets stronger. Over time, we learn what to pray for and why.
Scripture: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
This article originally appeared here.