I’m so excited to introduce you to Jim Wolstenholm. Jim is an unapologetic follower of Jesus who loves to help others strengthen their relationship with Christ through prayer.
At some point, whether by faith or desperation, everyone will throw up a word to God for help.
So, what can we expect when we pray?
There are three outrageous and identical promises Jesus gave his disciples:
And I will do whatever you ask in my name… You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.John 14:13–14
Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:23–24
Could we grab onto these promises and expect to win the lottery next week?
Or believe that everyone would be cured of cancer and that life would be so good from now on?
But is that what Jesus really meant when he gave these promises? Does the context of these promises matter or can we take them at face value?
There are 8 principles that come to light as we examine the context of these great promises.
- Active involvement in the work of the Kingdom of God. Jesus talked to his disciples about what they would do when he was gone and shocked them with these words: “you will do even greater things”. They had witnessed incredible miracles and life giving words from Jesus and he promised them greater things!
- Give God glory. The reason whatever you ask will be given is that God will receive all the glory. God must be glorified in what is asked and what is answered! The ‘whatever’ then must necessarily be so huge that when it is answered everyone knows only God could have done it!
- Love and Obedience. John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love me…” Our prayers must be motivated by our love for Jesus and our desire to live obedient lives. We cannot rebel against Jesus’ leadership and expect outrageous answers to prayer.
- Abiding envelopes the next three principles. Jesus says that we must abide in him (John 15:7) for these prayers to be answered. What does it mean to abide in Jesus? It means that we reside in the will of Jesus – in his mission, his purposes, his values, his ways, his leadership. When we live like that, you can ask and receive!
- We must also allow the words of Jesus to live (abide) in us. Imagine your life constantly recalling the words of Jesus in every circumstance you find yourself. What he wants is for us to take all he taught us and to live it out. When his words live in us like that, it motivates and directs what we think, do, say and pray!
- Live in his love. Understanding the love of Jesus and living in that love means everything. Jesus told his disciples to love as he loved (John 15:12-13). How did he love? He gave his life! When we live in his love, we regard the lives of others more than we regard our own life and comfort!
- Pray in Jesus’ name (John 16:23). When you pray in Jesus’ name, we pray with the values, character, mission, purposes and work of Jesus in mind. Any prayer contrary to what Jesus would desire is not prayed in his name. It’s not necessarily the words we say (in Jesus’ name), although it is fine to use these words, it is the attitude of the prayer that matters. We can say ‘in Jesus’ name’ to a selfish prayer and that does not make it a prayer in his name!
- Bring joy. When we live and pray as we have seen here, our prayer will bring joy to our lives. Ask for fantastic and outrageous things within the context of these conditions with one added – that it bring great joy to your life!
When you begin to live out these eight principles, you can ask for anything and experience the power of God working through your prayer lives.
But, to start with, these eight conditions form a strong prayer list for transformation in our spiritual lives that will only bring greater transformation in our prayer lives!
So, today, ask yourself which of the principles you just read do you need most in your life and begin praying for God to do that work!
Jim Wolstenholm is an unapologetic follower of Jesus. He blogs at jimthefollower.com and on Medium. He is also a writer for PublishousNow.com and the Ascent (on Medium). He helps people follow Jesus so they can live the abundant life and change their worlds.