CHRIST’S SEVEN-FOLD INVITATION TO PRAYER!
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name I will do it.” (John 14: 13, 14)
By God’s grace, I will prove definitively and conclusively in this brief treatise, that God not only answers the prayers of His trusting children, but that He delights in doing so!
The Bible says: “Now unto Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph.3: 20,21)
FOUR THINGS NOTED HERE!
First: God has the ability to meet every need presented to Him in sincere prayer. Our Sovereign Lord is omnipotent, meaning all powerful. Nothing is difficult for Him. He spoke the worlds into being and upholds all things by the Word of His power. (Heb.1:3)
Jesus demonstrated His awesome power when He raised Lazarus from the dead. Before healing the paralytic, our Lord emphasized that He could just as easily forgive sins as heal the sick. He didn’t say, “Which is harder?
Second: Our greatest needs are miniscule compared to the greatness of His ability to answer. Third: He performs miracles in direct proportion to the Holy Spirit’s power that resides within us. Fourth: We will glorify Him forever by Jesus Christ!
Jesus said: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in Me, and I in Him, the same brings forth much fruit, for without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15: 4,5)
The Key to answered prayer is to “ABIDE IN CHRIST”. We know that God is more willing to give than we are to ask.
When you consider how much He has already given us, then it is not difficult to believe that He desires to continue giving and meeting our needs! Consider these Scriptures:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3: 16); “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us…” (1 John 3: 16); “I am the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep.” (John 10: 11)
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13); “But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom.5:8)
JESUS GAVE US THIS ANALOGY!
Jesus invited: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.” (Matt.7: 7,8)
Our Lord stated, no father would deny his son’s request for bread by giving him a stone (something useless) or instead of a fish, give him a serpent (something dangerous) to eat.
He concluded: “If ye then, being evil (carnal), know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven GIVE GOOD THINGS to them that ask Him?” (Matt.7: 11)
Only an ignorant or belligerent person would deny the willingness of God to meet the needs of those who cry unto Him in desperation! In the following parable, Jesus clearly made a case for determined and consistent prayer:
“And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not faint (cave in); Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man.
“And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto Him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, though I fear not God, nor regard man;
“Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge says,
“And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily!” (Luke 18:1 – 8)
JESUS CHRIST: THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF GOD!
It makes you wonder if any of today’s evolutionists, politicians or modernist theologians even have a clue of Who Jesus Christ really is!
St. Paul made it clear that they just “don't get it.” Here are the anointed words of that great theologian who brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentile world:
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect (mature): yet not the wisdom of this world nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, They would NOT have crucified the Lord of Glory.” (1 Cor.2: 5-8)
The One who made all these staggering statements about our Heavenly Father was Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, Redeemer of Israel and Saviour of the World!
The Bible says: “God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed HEIR of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person, and upholding all things by the Word of His Power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High.” (Heb.1: 1-4)
That Scripture make these things are very clear:
1. God had spoken to the world previously through His holy prophets, but He sent His Own Son to speak to us.
2. Jesus Christ is heir of ‘all things’.
3. Jesus Christ is the Divine Architect and Creator of the worlds.
4. Jesus Christ came to earth to reveal the Father to us.
5. The cosmos, solar system, planets, stars and universes are kept in their orbits and proper functions by Christ’s power.
6. Jesus Christ doesn’t need any help to save us. He alone shed His precious blood to purge us from our sins.
7. Jesus Christ is NOW seated on the right hand of the Majesty on High!
JESUS PERSONALLY INVITES US TO PRAYER!
We can trust His Word completely because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life…” (John 14: 6), Jesus Christ cannot change, fail or lie, because He is Holy, Righteous, Eternal, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and His Word is Immutable!
He ALONE could say: “…I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things. And He that hath sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone, for I do always those things that please Him.” (John 8: 28, 29)
Seven times in John's Gospel chapters 14, 15 and 16 our precious Lord Jesus Christ invites us to bring our requests to God in prayer. He would not invite us to pray if He were not prepared to answer!
There are hundreds of Scriptures that promise answers to our sincere, faith-filled prayers, as we call upon the name of the Lord in Jesus’ holy name.
I have chosen three chapters from St. John’s Gospel where Jesus specifically invites us to pray, because He declares that we will receive an answer to our prayers!
SEVEN INVITATIONS TO PRAYER!
Here are the seven invitations our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ personally initiated, together with the conditions necessary for their implementation!
NUMBER 1. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14: 13)
The language that Jesus chose to use in issuing this promise is easy to understand. There is nothing duplicitous about it. He had nothing to hide and He had no problem expressing Himself.
Our blessed Saviour is TRUTH personified and His words were straight forward and to the point! He uses the word ‘whatsoever’ which means exactly what it says. There are no limitations. It covers whatever our needs are!
He specifies, however, that we must ask in HIS NAME. Herein, lies the key
to receiving from Him answers to our prayers. We must understand the value of His NAME; the authority and power that is inherent in His Name!
NUMBER 2. “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14: 14).
Here, Jesus repeats almost word for word what He had said earlier. He stresses that nothing is too hard for Him. We can bring Him the most difficult problems we have and He is able and willing to help us solve them.
It staggers the imagination that the Creator, Life Giver and Great physician promised: “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I Will do it.”
St. Paul quoted Isaiah: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.
GOD HATH REVEALED THEM!
“But God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor.2: 9,10)
The nation of ISRAEL was terribly backslidden and Prophet Isaiah called upon the Lord for mercy. In Chapter 63, he rehearses how the Lord had delivered them through Moses and asks for God’s deliverance again.
“Oh that Thou would rend the heavens, that Thou would come down…to make Thy name known…that the nations may tremble at Thy presence.”
Then, Isaiah stated: “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.” (Is.64: 4)
The great Baptist preacher, DR. VANCE HAVNER, writes: “Paul quoted that in 1 Corinthians 2: 9, and he had in mind not only heaven but the riches of God’s grace for us here and now. It is impossible to imagine, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, what God can do to us and Through us and For us when He can find a man who really cares enough to be His instrument. That is indicated in verse 5: “Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in Thy ways. God will meet any man more than halfway if that man is in dead earnest and means business with heaven.”
Here is the Big Question?
Who among us will be that man whom God can use to bring His people back into fellowship with Him? To bring the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ into repentance and faith, in order to see His power in revival fire with forgiveness, divine healing and deliverance in His Church again?
Again, our Lord teaches us the value and power that is inherent in His Name! Here is the reason the incomparable name of our Saviour Jesus Christ is so influential, so powerful and life giving!
JESUS’ NAME IS ALL POWERFUL!
St. Paul declared: “Christ Jesus…Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (He is God the Son): But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
“And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:
“That at the NAME OF JESUS every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil.2: 5-11)
In the Great Commission, Jesus gave His Church AUTHORITY and POWER in HIS NAME to speak in new tongues, preach the gospel, cast out evil spirits, heal the sick and be protected from the devil and his cohorts!
He said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature…And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-18)
Some unbelieving theologians, using some lately discovered older manuscripts with a few missing verses from St. Mark’s Gospel chapter 16. The same manuscripts have missing verses and entire chapters from other parts of the Bible yet that information has been withheld from the population at large!
In his powerful book, ‘Bodily Healing & The atonement’, DR. T.J. McCROSSAN wrote: “A few scholars have denied the authenticity of the verses in Mark 16, but IRANAEUS quotes these verses as a part of Mark’s Gospel, and remember he was a pupil of John the Apostle. This is positive proof that these words are genuine.”
NUMBER 3: “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15: 7).
Jesus makes it plain that there only two things necessary to get an answer to our prayers, namely, abiding in Christ and His Word abiding in us. Every born again believer is abiding in Christ, if he has genuinely repented and received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour!
That means believing God’s Word and inviting Him to live in us. And secondly, we must allow His Word to find a lodging place in our hearts, which then creates faith to receive Christ’s miracle.
The BIBLE states: “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a New Creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5: 17); “For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col.3: 3)
NUMBER 4: “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bare forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in MY Name, He may give it you.” (John 15: 16)
Here the Master makes it plain that we have not chosen Him, but that He has chosen us, therefore we should bear fruit for Him and His Kingdom. And then, we should expect Him to answer our prayers.
NUMBER 5: “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you.” (John 16: 23)
Here, Jesus is specifically speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit after His resurrection. He introduces us to the truth of the Holy Spirit’s power in the Church after His departure to Heaven and the great power inherent in His Name!
They must rely on the Great Power His Name has when asking the Father for something. And the great authority it has with the Father as He will answer our prayers when it is tied to the Name of Jesus!
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16: 24)
Believers had asked Him personally for miracles of healing and He had responded in a gracious manners. Great multitudes had felt His touch and been healed and blest. Now He was leaving them and He would send the Holy Spirit to lead them.
He had, however, told them of His kind and loving Heavenly Father whom they could approach using His name. Jesus wants us to ask our Father for all our needs using His exalted Name so that He may answer and our joy be full.
NUMBER 7: “At that day ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.” (John 16: 26-27)
Herein lies a great truth. There is so much love between the Father and His Son that if we love Jesus, the Father automatically loves us! All we must do to get the Father to love us is to believe that Jesus was sent to this earth by His Father to redeem us through His vicarious death and glorious resurrection! We are then invited to ask for whatever we need in His Name and we will receive. Amen.