29 October 2013

The blank cheque of prayer

In their book Praying, JI Packer and Carolyn Nystrom quote three passages from John.

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 14:13,14

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
John 15:16

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
John 16:23

Does God really give us a blank cheque? 

What is the message here?  Is Jesus giving his first disciples (and us with them) a blank cheque?  An invitation to write in whatever amount, so to speak, for whatever we want or think we want - and God will make it happen?... The thought from the text is that we should ask God for things that the Lord Jesus will also ask for on our behalf.  We are to make requests to the Father that the Lord Jesus will back.  Jesus will associate himself with us in our requests when our requests match what he wants for us.  That is the meaning of asking hi his name.  Jesus looks forward to his disciples asking for things that can only become a reality with his help and by his power, and that will make for his glory when they do.  That is what it means to ask according to God's will, the will of the Father which the Son knows and does.

From Praying by JI Packer and Carolyn Nystrom p. 154 (The underlining is my emphasis.)

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to my selfish gain. 
Psalm 119:36

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