Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, ...he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
So, don't bargain with God. Be direct.
Ask for what you need.
For this isn't a cat-and -mouse, hide- and-seek game we're in.
And so, this is why Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. Because people often give up after a few halfhearted efforts and conclude that God cannot be found. But knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow-through, and Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded. So, don't give up in your efforts to seek God. Continue to ask him for more, knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding. And he will give them to you.
And this is why, I tell you..., if you have faith and don't doubt, you can... pray for anything, and..., you will receive it. So, yes, ...if you embrace this Kingdom life and don't doubt God,... I tell you, that absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets involved as you lay hold of God.
Therefore, Jesus' statement is not a blank check. However, to be fulfilled, our requests must be in harmony with the principles of God's Kingdom. For the stronger our belief, the more likely our prayers will be in line with God's will, and then God will be happy to grant them. And that's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything,... . Yes, include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything. ... For, believing that receives is not something humanly produced; rather, it is a believing faith imparted to the believer's heart by God himself. For, sometimes the fulfillment that true faith desires is granted immediately; at other times it is not. Nevertheless, God gives the faith that the prayer has been heard and the request will be granted. Even tho', the uncertainty concerns the time of the fulfillment, not the granting of the request. And this is why Jesus said, "everything is possible [which means, ...may be or may exist; that may be now, or may happen or come to pass] for him [or her] who believes." (Mark 9.23)
Yet Jesus' statement must not be taken as an unqualified promise.
- Because, first of all the "everything" does not mean everything we can think of. For the prayer of faith must be based on God's will; it never asks for anything foolish or wrong.
- And then second of all, the faith required here must be received as a gift of God. By which, he implants in the heart of a sincere seeker who lives faithfully according to his will. Therefore, there are no 'ifs' among believers. Because, anything can happen.
So,... if you have faith as small as mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." And there is nothing you won't be able to tackle.
Therefore, true faith is an effective faith that produces results. .. For true faith is not a belief in "faith" as a force or power, but it is a "faith in God." So, true faith is a work of God within the hearts of Christians. Which involves an awareness divinely imparted to our hearts that our prayers are answered. Fir it is created within us by the Holy Spirit; we cannot produce it in our own minds.
So, since true faith is a gift imparted to us by Christ, it is important to draw near to him and his Word and to deepen our commitment to, and confidence in him. Because, we are dependent on him for everything;... .
So in other words, we must seek Christ as the author and perfecter of our faith. Of which, his close presence and our obedience to his word are the source and the secret of faith. Because, true faith is under God's control. Whereby, faith is given on the basis of his love, wisdom, grace and Kingdom purpose. And then, it is given to accomplish his will and to express his love for us. It is not used for our own selfish interest. So, this is why,... a man [and woman] can receive only what is given [them] from heaven. For Jesus says in John 14.13-14, From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it. That's how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I'll do.
And so, prayer in Jesus' name involves at least two things:
- First of all, it requires, praying in harmony with his person, character and will.
- And then, second of all, it requires, praying with faith in him and his authority and with the desire to glorify both the Father and the Son.
For praying in the name of Jesus,..., means that Jesus will answer any prayer that he would have prayed himself. There is no limit to the power of prayer when addressed to Jesus or the Father in holy faith according to his desire.
So this is why, Jesus said --
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with Me and I with you, the relationship is intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. [Whereas] separated, you can't produce a thing. So, anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my Words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is -- when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
And so, we have here the foundational principle governing the saving relationship of Christ and the believer, namely, that it is never a static relationship based solely on a past decision or experience. Rather, it is a progressive relationship as Christ lives in the believer and shares with him or her his divine life.
Therefore, three important truths are taught here --
- First of all, the responsibility of remaining in Christ is placed upon the disciples. Of which, this is our response to God's prior gift of divine life and power given at conversion.
- Then second of all, remaining in Christ results in Jesus' continued indwelling..., the fruitfulness of the disciple,... success in prayer... and fullness of joy.
- And last of all, the consequences of failure to remain in Christ are fruitlessness..., removal from Christ and destruction.
So, the secret of answered prayer is remaining in Christ. For the closer we live to Christ through meditation on and study of Scripture, the more our prayers will be in line with the nature and Words of Christ, and thus the more effectual our prayers will be.
So, ...ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. like a river overflowing its banks.
Therefore, here's what I want you to do, [with] God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life -- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life, place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you, is the best thing you can do for him. But, don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. Then you'll be changed from the inside out. And readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. For unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, [and] develops well-formed maturity in you. Therefore, it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Even tho' God's work is not one of compulsion or irresistible grace. For the work of grace within us is always dependent on our faithfulness and cooperation. And so, as Paul says in Philippians 3.8-15, ...all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master firsthand, [because] everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant... . I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. [For no], I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ -- God's righteousness. Therefore, -- I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power; be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. So, if there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. [For no], I'm not saying that I have this all together; [or] that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.
Therefore friends, don't get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward -- to Jesus. And this is why, I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So, ...stick with me, friends. And, keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. For, there are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. ... Yet, all they want is easy-street. Because, they hate Christ's Cross. But easy-street is a dead-end-street. And those, who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; and-all they can think of is their appetites. ... But there's far mar to life for us. Because, we're citizens of high heaven. ...
Therefore, ...true knowledge of Christ involves listening to his Word, following his Spirit, responding to his dealings with us in faith, truth and obedience, and identifying with his concerns and purposes. It also means, to be found in Christ..., to have a union and fellowship with Christ that produces a righteousness experienced only as a gift from God. It is also to know the power of his resurrection... to experience renewal of life, deliverance from sin..., and the Spirit's power to bring about effective witness, healing, miracles and finally one's own resurrection from the dead. And last of all, it also mean's to share in Christ's sufferings by self-denial, crucifixion of the old self, and suffering for the sake of Christ and his cause. And so, this is why, the righteousness of believers consists first of all in being forgiven, justified and accepted by God through faith.
- For it is a righteousness that is in Christ Jesus himself, living within our hearts.
- Then second of all, it is the ground for our salvation and our only hope of righteousness is the sacrificial death and shed blood of Christ... and his resurrection life within our hearts.
So although, throughout our lives all kinds of distractions and temptations, such as life's worries, riches and evil desires, threaten to choke off our commitment to the Lord. Yet, what is needed is a "forgetting what is behind," such as -- the corrupt and old life of sin..., and a "straining" for final salvation in Christ.
And so, just like David said in Psalm 73.25-26, Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. For, my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
So, don't let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don't let heroes brag of their exploits. And, don't let the rich brag of their riches. For, if you brag, brag of this and this only. That you understand and know... God, and ... act in loyal love. ... Because, ...no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God. So, no procrastination. No backward looks. For, you can't put God's Kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.
Therefore, do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? So, run in such a way as to get the prize. Because, ...when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. Or in other words, ...when the complete arrives, our incomplete will be canceled. So, run hard and fast in faith. ... And, let us... approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Therefore, take the mercy, accept the help.
And,... let's leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. By growing up in Christ. .. So, let's get on with it! By, keeping your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. And, study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed -- that exhilarating finish in and with God - for - he could put up with anything along the way; [such as] the cross, shame, whatever. And ow he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. So, when you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls.
So, if you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. For, he loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. So, ask boldly, believing, without a second thought. Because, people who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. So, don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options opened.
So, 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. So, ...let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're truly living; yes, living in God's reality. For, it's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
Composed by Ann Munro