Daily D – John 14:13-14
You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! JOHN 14:13-14 (NLT)
On our recent Drive Across America, I listened to three books and at least a dozen podcast episodes. A fourth book was stopped because the information was too technical. I need to see the charts and graphs and tools the author describes.
One constant theme across the disparate messages was the vital importance of purpose. Education requires purpose. Parenting requires purpose. Business leadership requires purpose. Church leadership requires purpose. Jan once grew sick and tired of hearing all about her older sister Marsha on The Brady Bunch. She famously complained using three little words: “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” Sometimes life is like that. You hear one thing repeated so frequently either it sinks in with fresh clarity or drives you crazy.
When Jesus taught his disciples about praying in those last hours leading up to the crucifixion, he talked about the purpose of prayer. It is tempting to place a televangelist spin on this text. Along the line of saying, “You can live your best life now! All you got to do is pray and ask Jesus for what you need! He said he would provide whatever you want!” The only problem with this line of thinking, preaching, and book writing is that it is completely wrong. Jesus did not say any such thing.
Take a look at what he did say:
- You can ask for anything in my name
- I will do it
- So that the Son can bring glory to the Father
- Yes, ask me for anything
- In my name
- I will do it
The temptation is to break down two complete sentences into these six parts and emphasize only the parts that make it sound like it is all about getting us everything we want in life. This line of reading, thinking, and application sounds like this text is all about us living the life of our dreams. It is not.
I do not want you to live the life of your dreams. I want you to live the life of God’s dreams for you.
What God wants for your life is better than anything you could ever want for yourself. There is no experience you will ever participate in that begins to compare with what God has for you.
People have been talking recently about The Tiger King, a show on Netflix. I have not gotten around to it. Big deal. Daniel spent the night with a whole pride of lions (Dan. 6).
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned recently. Whatever. Jacob wrestled with God all night (Gen. 32:24ff). He told everyone he won, but he walked with a limp for the rest of his life.
The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ last championship is pretty good I hear. Mike went out on top. Nice. He beat the flu to win a championship. That was impressive. Jesus was tortured and crucified. He died. He was dead for days. Then he beat death. Can anyone top that?
Your best life now as dreamed up and executed by God is better than anything you could imagine.
Jesus said in the verse immediately before his two sentences on prayer, “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,” (v. 12). What does that mean for you and me? We need to couple this truth with what Jesus said next.
You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”
What do you see that needs to be done that when it is done it helps people see how good God is? Pray about that. Pray in a manner that is consistent with the will, ways, character, and purpose of Jesus. Pray in a manner placing all of the attention on God’s greatness. Pray in a manner leading to lives, families, communities, and the whole world changing for the better.
What are your burdens and passions about what is wrong with this world? What keeps you up at night and gets you up in the morning? Turn those burdens and passions into prayers. Keep them aligned with God’s eternal purpose to draw all people into a relationship with himself that is real and loving. That, my friend, is a pretty good day’s work. Those are the kinds of prayers God loves to answer with a heavenly Yes!
What’s your purpose in prayer? Is it all about making you look good? Or, are you focused on what God wants for you and for others for now and forever?
I will pray for those things which help people see how good God is.
Our Father, it’s all about you, your goodness, your grace and mercy, your kindness and compassion, your purpose for our lives and for our whole world. Teach us to pray so that we participate fully in the life of your dreams for us. Teach us to pray so that the whole world sees how good you are. Amen.
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2 Timothy 2:3-6 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. (NLT)