Pray and you will get everything?!
In the series “what questions do we often get” we now come to the next question that we really get very often. This time it was from C from A:
I’ve asked God so many times to give me job X. The bible says:
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.John 14:13-14
And I also closed my prayer with “In Jesus name” and yet, I don’t get it? What am I doing wrong that I don’t get what the Bible promises me? Or is the bible wrong?
To understand that scripture, we need to look at who Jesus said this to and when (the context). To understand that you should (minimally) start reading in chapter 13, where you will see that Jesus did not just say this to everyone, somewhere on the street corner, but He specifically said this to His disciples (minus Jude who had since left the premises), in a private conversation during which the disciples were very concerned about what would happen if Jesus were no longer with them.
Those same disciples had walked around with Jesus (literally!) for years on earth, had learned for years from what Jesus did and said, and so, Jesus knew exactly who they were and that He could trust them with this text. Because “being able to do everything” is quite a responsibility!
This text was therefore specific to the disciples and not generic to Robert, Patricia or William. So, not generic for you and for me either….
If we then go a little further to see how those disciples (when Jesus had left) were doing, we see that, for example, in 1 1 Timothy 5:23 that Paul (one of those disciples who was present at the meeting we were just talking about) his friend Timothy is sick and Paul does not heal him. Then why didn’t Paul not do that? After all, couldn’t Paul do anything if he asked God?
No, because you even see in Philippians 2:26 that Paul’s friend Epaphroditus was literally mortally ill and Paul did not heal him either.
So, the verse in John 14 was specific to the disciples who were present at that conversation, and the powers were given were also temporary.
Furthermore, we must not forget that God’s will is above ours.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.Matthew 6:10
And with that, we have put John 14:13,14 in the right context/environment. So, it is not a licence that we get everything we want. The verse was specific to Jesus’ disciples, time-bound, and God’s will is always above our will.
Does prayer have no purpose whatsoever? Because if that verse isn’t for you and me, why should I pray? God does whatever He wills!
No. The bible says clearly: (and this is just one example)
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”Matthew 26:41
Jesus himself prayed to God. To cite one more example:
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,Matthew 14:23
But even Jesus knew that the will of God is above all…. no matter how difficult that is sometimes… Below a part where Jesus prays, He already knows there that the people will crucify Him and kill Him…. and yet, there Jesus says:
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”Matthew 26:39
And with that, we have answered the question from C of A: yes, God Himself asks that you pray and talk to Him about really anything and everything! He LIKES to hear how you are doing, what you need and what you are struggling with. But prayer is not a magic lamp that you rub and poof… you get it.
And so, if you don’t get what you asked from God, there is after all nothing wrong with you or your question. Your faith is not too small, God didn’t punish you if He doesn’t answer your prayer, He didn’t punish you for doing something in your past, but He has a bigger plan somewhere… a plan that we may not understand yet… but which for His glory is the perfect plan. Do not hesitate and keep on praying and… Praise God for all He has already done for you…..