“Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you.” John 16:23b (ESV)
I prayed many years for my husband to be healed of his anxiety and depression, before fully recognizing my motive for this prayer may not align with God’s plans. It seemed like a wonderful and decent prayer, but why wasn’t God answering? Often found myself praying and pleading with God, “Why aren’t You healing, Oh Lord?” My faithful prayer was without ceasing and I continually poured out my heart to God. I was asking for what would be good, wasn’t I?
Ask and You shall receive – this is what Scripture tells us – also we need to ask, what is our motive?
It is good to question, reflect and ponder the motivation behind our prayers. I confess oftentimes my motivation was misguided and sometimes flat out wrong. Once I began recognizing this, my prayers began to shift.
Do we ask God for healing or blessings for our comfort and assurance or to give him all the GLORY?
Maybe we seek assurance of His sovereignty through seeing obvious answers to our prayers?
Is this what we base our faith upon?
Do we test God with our prayers or do we trust HIM through our prayers?
One thing I am most certain of is that God is faithful. Scripture confirms it and pastors preach it. But for me it is because I have experienced HIS faithfulness over and over, time and time again. I have experienced God working in and through hard circumstances in ways that only can be accredited to God. Often these answers are nothing like I was praying or could imagine. We can trust God is always at work on our behalf, even if the work is only happening behind the scenes.
“So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” John 16:23-24 (NLT)
Jesus’ name means, “God Saves.” Praying “In the Name of Jesus” is asking God to save us in a circumstance or trial. That is pretty powerful. When we trust His method and plans of saving us in a hardship or trial, that is where the beauty lies. God will give us what we ask, often in ways that are different than we imagine, when we ask in HIS name or by His will. Asking God for anything in the name of Jesus means to ask according to the will of God. Praying in the name of Jesus surrenders the situation to our Heavenly Father and peacefully accepting whatever the outcome or even the long delay. This does not mean God will necessarily remove the trial.
As my prayer life matured and grew, my focus changed. I began not asking for answers, instead asking for God to open my eyes and help me see His presence and His glory in every circumstance. I taught my kids an important value, to pray over a situation, by means of lifting it up to God and surrendering it, whatever the outcome it is the will of God. Our choices often affect the outcome. Our understanding is limited but God’s is not. When comfort doesn’t follow our prayers then we can look for His glory within it.
Trusting God with our prayer requests has some important components:
Praising Him: Isaiah 25:1, Psalm 103:1
Seeking His Presence: James 4:8
Opening our Eyes to Him at Work: Ephesians 1:18-19
Giving Him all the Glory in the Waiting: Psalm 130:5-6
Trusting Him for Working on Our Behalf… Even When We Can’t See It Hebrews 11:1
When worry creeps in, we can respond in a way that gives “God the Glory.” This happens when we thank Him for working on our behalf, when we cling to our faith despite our circumstances and praise Him for His presence in our trials. Acknowledge His faithfulness. When we “live out” trusting God and allow others to see it – – I believe these are practical ways to give “ God the Glory.” Thanking and trusting God continually glorifies Him and takes the focus off our desire for comfort.
Dear Father God,
Praise be to You, for You are always faithful. I ask for Your will in every circumstance and recognize that I don’t have the best answers most of the time. Help me Lord, to trust Your ways. Allow me the awesome privilege to see You at work in this and recognize Your holy presence. All glory and honor and praise belong to You. Thank you for what You are doing and yet to do with this prayer (insert your circumstance here) YES and AMEN!