In our Senior Staff meeting this week, we heard a number of stories of answered prayer within our church. Most of the stories were since we began devoting a specific time for prayer during our worship services. God has promised us that He will respond to our prayer, just like a good parent does to requests from their children. But also like a good parent, He isn’t always going to say yes! Understanding how this works can build confidence in our prayer. Our verse today is John 15:7. Here it is in the bigger context: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” John 15:5-8 (NLT)
Here are three things that Jesus wants us to understand regarding confidently praying:
1. We need to remain in Him like a branch to a vine. Prayer is for those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Prayer is not merely a personal discipline but an outgrowth of being firmly devoted to God.
2. Prayer also needs to come from a place of understanding, and surrendered obedience, to God. Our source of insight and direction here is the Bible. God has gone to great lengths for us to have the wisdom and teaching of the Bible. We need to align our lives with it.
3. If we are surrendered to God as our leader and have adopted the truth of the Bible as our guide for faith and practice, then we can confidently and boldly ask for God to work and act with confidence that He hears and will answer Part of this surrender is trusting that God has the final say on our requests, knowing that He knows best. If He chooses to not give us what we ask we can be confident that it is for our best. [See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10]