Monday, March 25

"whatever you ask in my name..."

This morning, while reading in the gospel of John, I had an "aha" moment.  I love it when that happens.  I will be honest though, sometimes it is over Scripture that I have read over and over, and heard read often.  This morning, I decided to begin reading the account of "Holy Week" in the gospels. And today, I decided to begin with the gospel of John.  I started in chapter 11 verse 45 (just after Jesus raised his good friend Lazarus from the dead).  I read about how the Jewish leaders plotted to kill Jesus, how Jesus was anointed at Bethany (Mary poured a pint of expensive perfume on Jesus feet and wiped his feet with her hair), about Jesus predicting His death, about him washing his disciples feet, about predicting his betrayal, and then I came to chapter 14 where the title is "Jesus Comforts His Disciples".

Now this chapter, chapter 14, is a chapter I have heard OFTEN.  In fact, I have heard it a lot!  I have even used it, quoted it, spoke about it at funerals.  It is the chapter that begins with "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms, if it were not so, O would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a   place for you, I will come back and take you to be with  me that you also may be where I am."  And then I kept reading - and this is where my "aha" moment was.  It comes just after the part where Philip tells him/asks him "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."  To which Jesus responds:

John 14:9-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

It was right at this point, that I noticed a little "key" image beside the text, which means there is more for me on this portion, and I should look at the bottom.  It was there that my bible notes directed me to Luke 11:9 regarding asking for things in prayer.

Luke 11:9

New Living Translation (NLT)
9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

The little "key" icon took me to the bottom of this page as well, and this is what it said "the word translated 'ask' is aiteite which is used in describing a beggar approaching a generous person.  One should not think he has the right to demand anything from God. he will supply His children's needs' they simply need to trust Him.  Many times people ask for things that are not according to God's will, and must realize that He will only give the things that are "good" (agathon_ in light of eternity.  What God deems "good" may not be what the believer desires, bit it is that which God has chosen to carry out His Plan and bring the believer into a closer relationship with him."

Now, I don't know why, like I said, after reading this scripture and hearing people speak on it, that it was an "aha" moment - but when I read the "key" explanation in my bible, it was !!  I am sure that I am not the only one who has prayed a prayer and tagged on "if it is your will Lord" to the end of it.  I often think that is NOT bold praying, but have sometimes felt that by saying that, it is "giving God" the "out" in my mind, just in case He chooses not to answer this time.  I don't think I am the only one that has felt that (like I am the one to give God an out so to speak!)  We are supposed to pray believing - to pray fervently and without ceasing - to come boldly to the throne of Christ.  And sometimes I start off that way, and then somewhere during the course of my prayer, I feel like I wimp out.  (Am I making any sense?  Is there anyone who resonates with this feeling of wimping out?)

Don't get me wrong.  I believe that we need to come boldly but also with reverence to the One we are approaching.  I believe we need to pray that we are in God's will, but I also think that sometimes we come "unbelieving" that God will answer, and then we tag on "if it is your will Lord" and somehow we feel like that is the right thing, and walk away from our prayer feeling "phew, I have prayed, I have interceded, I have asked it and he will do what He wants for me, with that prayer."

I have prayed FERVENTLY often ... I have petitioned God.  I have "stood in the gap" for people who needed prayer.  I have "held up the arms" of people (referring to when they held up Moses arms while a fight was going on, and while his arms were up, the people were winning, but when down, the people were losing, so they physically held his arms up).  I have sat with someone who lost her child, and heard her recount how they prayed together before the family left that day, and yet there was an accident, and her son was killed, and others were hurt.  And how she told me that her husband said (in regards to prayer) that God is going to do what he wants regardless of us anyway.
I have questioned WHY GOD when the answer seemed so contrary to what seemed RIGHT for that instance.  I have thanked God - even when it was hard, because the answer didn't seems to fit.  I have also thanked God FOR answered prayers the way I thought they should be answered.  (note: I said answered the way I THOUGHT they should be).

I have talked to people about their use of prayer, as if God was this "lucky charm" that they pull out when they want something ... i.e. a close parking spot, a goal for their team, etc

I have responded/watched with so much joy, and tears, the answers to prayers that are literally MIRACLES such as the absence of a tumor when the doctor goes to operate, or a limb that "grows" in front of someones eyes.  I know, these things ~ we don't see as often do we?  Is it because as some people say "it just doesn't happen today" or is it because of our lack of faith, our lack of praying with boldness?  

Going back to the "aha" moment for me - it goes back to describing how the word that is used in the scripture - the word to ask - is depicted by thinking of a beggar approaching a generous person.  The beggar has no right to demand anything - but approaches the generous person.  Oh Lord .... that is me - often - a beggar.  I know that you will supply all my needs, I know it is about trust.  The part of my "aha moment" was when I read in my footnote: He will only give the things that are "good" (agathon_ in light of eternity.  What God deems "good" may not be what the believer desires, bit it is that which God has chosen to carry out His plan and bring the believer into a closer relationship with him."

Of course - it is God who deems the best, or the good - and it IS all about eternity.  It is all about what will bring me closer to Jesus, the lover of my soul!  It IS all about bringing God the glory!! 

Why was this "new" to me this morning?  Not sure, all I know is, it was.  Or maybe it was "new again" so to speak.  Just as Jesus spoke with his disciples, bringing them comfort, helping them to understand his relationship with his Father - and how if they believed HIM, they believed the Father - because they were one - I am thinking that perhaps this morning, JOY KLASSEN (me!)  needed this reminder to, a "refresher" first thing before I started my day!  And for that, I am so thankful again!  Thankful that the WORD of God is truth!!  It is living and active!  And it brings me "aha" moments as I read!  The eyes of my heart continue to be opened and enlightened!  To God be the glory!!

Now .... on to my day!

No comments: