Ask and it will be given to you. (Matthew 7:7)
It is an undeniable fact that we all want our prayers to be answered in the high court of heaven, yet we all know from personal experience that the answer to those prayers is often “No.” So the question is, What prayers are guaranteed to produce? I believe the Scriptures give us a clear answer. Let’s take a brief look.
When Jesus was teaching His disciples about the True Vine and the branches, He said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). “Ask whatever you wish” seems to be an amazing, open-ended promise to the believer that should keep us on our knees before God. But we cannot separate it from what Jesus said just before that: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you.” Clearly, prayers that produce are those prayers that align our desires with His desires; when they do, we can rest assured that when we ask, it will be given. Here is how James explained it:
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3)
The Bible makes it clear that the prayers that produce are the prayers that bring our lives into conformity with Christ and His will for our lives. Now, do not misunderstand what James was saying. He was not saying that our prayers should never be connected to our pleasures. Rather, our pleasures are to be connected to the will of God. We should take great pleasure in the expansion of the Kingdom of God, for the glory of God and the good of others. On the other hand, if we let the natural desires of the heart dominate our lives, we will miss God’s greatest blessings, because we are praying with “me-centered” motives, not God-centered ones.
The prayers that produce are the ones that keep us connected to Christ through His Word. The more we get into the Word of God, the more the Word gets into us; the more the Word gets into us, the more our desires are aligned with God’s desires for us. Remember, to want a pleasurable life is to want a good thing. God gives us good gifts for our enjoyment and our pleasure. God is not a cosmic kill-joy; He simply wants us to align our pleasures with His plan and purpose for our lives. When we do that, we will be pleasing our God by offering up prayers that produce.
What have you been asking for lately? Have you been seeking God’s will for your life? Or your own will? Let this reminder from John fill your prayer life with great expectation –
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. (John 3:21-22)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!