“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7).
I have a news flash for anyone who doesn’t know it: We’re supposed to be experiencing lots of answered prayer. I said lots of it. John 15:7 is an important part of Christian theology that is meant to be a Christian reality. If it’s familiar to you, read it as if you’ve never heard it before. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7).
I have a feeling much of the body of Christ feels like I did for so long. On a scale of one to ten based on the sense of God’s presence and apparent response, I could have rated my prayer life a pitiful two. Don’t misunderstand me, I prayed all the usual “bless and protect us” prayers, but my ordinary mode of operation was to pray things that looked like they were probably going to turn out anyway. Can anyone relate? Then God began calling me out of my unbelief.
My prayer life changed and matured gradually through the years as I sought God through His Word, but something dramatic happened that suddenly pitched it forward. I hate to admit it, but it came out of a sense in prayer one day that, frankly, God was bored with my prayer life. As I explained in Praying God’s Word, I sensed God saying, “My child, you believe Me for so little. Don’t be so safe in the things you pray. Who are you trying to keep from looking foolish? Me or you?" You see, sometimes I decided that I’d rather not ask certain things than risk a no. I reasoned that God was sovereign and I’d simply let Him do what He wanted. In reality, I was terrified that God or I would let me down and shake what little faith I had. The question I believe I heard from the Holy Spirit still convicts and chills me. That was the official Day One of my personal faith revival.
According to John 15:17, the key to answered prayer is sharing the mind of Christ over any given matter through His words actively abiding in us. The more His words roll around in our heads, the more likely we are to think with them. I doubt many believers ever grow to the point that they know the mind of Christ well enough to continually pray petitions He answers affirmatively. We can, however, mature in our prayer life enough to see far more affirmative answers than we have.
I often speak and apply Scripture when I vocalize my most serious requests. At these times I may sense a double portion of power and confidence, and for good reason. Combining prayer and Scripture is like tying together two sticks of dynamite. I’ve found no more powerful tool especially for warfare prayer and praying down strongholds. I also might use Scripture over matters that require long periods of time, such as the salvation of a resistant sibling. I often interject Scripture into requests for miraculous intervention as well. Each scenario I’ve named represents a time most tempting to dwindle in faith, energy, and longevity in prayer. When I use Scripture, I in effect transfer the burden to God’s Word rather than my ability to pray correctly or adequately. Remember: Because it comes from God’s own divine mouth, His Word has energy and power all its own. I let it do the work.
Lord, I desperately want to share the mind of Christ over any matter of prayer through Your words actively abiding in me. Please fill me with the desire to truly know Your Word. Then let Your words fill my mind constantly. In Your name and for Your glory, please bring my prayer life into maturity. Amen.
from Believing God, by Beth Moore