Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

28 The Scope of Prayer – Part 1

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John 14:13,14

13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Who is in charge of the Universe and who is the controlling force of the Universe? Whose will is it that decides the course that the Universe follows? God is the divine will that makes it happen; He is the one that makes the difference in the Universe, that is why we need to pray for God’s will to be done. Are you in agreement with Him that His will be done? Prayer is the vehicle that brings us into fellowship with God, it is our reaching up to Him and His reaching down in response to us. When we pray we have His attention, the very ear of God and all of heaven is behind us. What an incredible privilege that many of us are missing out on. We sometimes quote John 14:13,14 as the “I can have whatever I want verse” and in so doing we miss the real power and scope of what Jesus was saying.

  • The Range of prayer

 “Whatever”

Jesus does not limit the scope of prayer, we can come and ask for anything, we serve a big God who is plenty capable. So why do we limit prayer and so often shine the spotlight on ourselves? What else is out there that we can be praying about, is there something bigger than me? What is the scope of your prayer life, if I were to look through the sights of your prayer what would I see in the cross hairs? We serve not only a big God but a God of the impossible, one who can do “Whatever” whenever. So often we focus on our will and our welfare and we miss the worship of prayer. Whose Will are you focused on? Jesus taught His disciples to pray according to God’s Will Mat 6:10 “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” What if we expanded the range of our prayers to include His will, how big would our prayers be then?  This is not the praying from poverty to prosperity, name it and claim it garbage that has permeated our Christian culture. It is the praying from pathetic to powerful, it is opening our eyes to the scope of His Will.

  • The Requirement of Prayer

“ask in my name…”

Prayer is more than just saying the words and repeating ourselves, it is about relationship. In the Jewish mindset the name is the person, so to praise the name of Jesus is to praise Jesus Himself. To love His name is to love Jesus and to dishonor His name is to dishonor Him. To ask in a person’s name is to ask in all that the name represents: His sacrifice, His position, His authority, His power, etc. It is to ask as if Jesus were asking. A name is who we are, and when we pray in Jesus name we need to be reminded of Who He is, we are praying in the name of the One who conquered death.

Praying in Jesus name is not about the results but the relationship, praying in His name is about being in Jesus. John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” Prayer is not about getting but being, it’s not about reasoning with God but resting in Him. The relationship of prayer always affects the reflection of prayer, when it’s about the results the reflection is about me, but when our focus is on the relationship the reflection is about Him. Is your prayer life about you or Him? So often we make prayer about us but when we are focus on the relationship prayer becomes about conforming to His ways instead of trying to make Him to conform to ours. Prayer is not about getting but being and becoming. Because of prayer who are you becoming? Is your prayer life conforming you into His image? Who’s calendar are you operating out of, His or yours?

Today we hear prayers in everybody’s name but Jesus, why do so few endorse their prayers with Jesus name? Why are we to sign our prayers in Jesus name, because it is the only signature that God will recognize. In Act 19:13-17 they tried to invoke the Name of Jesus without a relationship with Him, they tried to cast out an evil spirit in the Name of Jesus. The evil spirit recognized that they had no relationship with Jesus and beat them so severely that they were driven out naked and bleeding. Verse 17 says “and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.” There is power in Jesus name and He gives us the authority to come in his name and present our prayers before His Father. How is your relationship with Jesus? Do you know Him by name? Do you hold His name in high honor or just throw it in to try and get what you want?

What does it mean to ask in “Jesus’ name”? Does it mean that we tack those words on to the end of our prayers, like some kind of magical formula or incantation? To ask in Jesus’ name is to come to God on the basis of His worthiness and His righteousness rather than our own. It is a recognition that the grounds of our acceptance before God, the reason that He is willing to hear and answer our prayers is this: that the separation between us and God caused by our sin has been bridged by Christ. He paid the price of death for our sins, our guilt was transferred to Him and His perfect righteousness was transferred to us. As a result, we are no longer excluded from God’s presence, but instead He welcomes us. We come to Him, not on the basis of our own merit or worth, but clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Is it time to stretch the scope of your prayer life and include His name – Jesus?

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