In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. John 16:23-27
Once, when I was preaching from John, a man came to me and said, “I wish these verses weren’t in the Bible. I know this is meant to strengthen my faith. Instead, I find that my faith is weakened as I read Jesus’ words, because what I read here doesn’t seem to be happening in my life:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:5-8, 16-17
Jesus says here and in other places in Scripture that we can ask whatever we desire in His name and it will be done for us. He also says that those who are His disciples will bear much fruit.
Jesus says, “If you have faith, you can say to this mountain, ‘Get up and be cast into the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Jesus is not suggesting that we embrace what might be called “Tinkerbell Theology.” Faith is not a matter of thinking positive thoughts and trying hard to believe so that wishes can come true. It’s not magic!
Jesus says in John 15, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.” In Chapter 14:31 we read: “…but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”This is Jesus’ secret. If God says for a mountain to be cast into the sea, we can tell the mountain to be cast into the sea and it must obey – not because we commanded it, but because it is responding to the proclamation of the word of God.
When we proclaim the word of the Lord, His word has the power to shatter strongholds. It has the power to move mountains. If God says it, we can believe it. It’s going to happen. Biblical faith is not about taking God’s name in vain with our little carnal lists of what we want in order to satisfy our selfish desires. In Jesus’ name is not a magical incantation that we use. Praying in faith is praying with confidence in the word of God, praying with confidence that God will do what He has promised, because God cannot lie.
I John 5:14,15 says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
Jesus has already told us that He only does what the Father says to do and He only says what the Father says to say. If we go to God and ask for something outside His will, He won’t do it. But, if we ask for something He does want, He’ll do it. So, what’s the point in praying?
Jesus is our example, and He only does and says what the Father tells Him to do and say. We need to let God change the way we think so that we begin to desire what God desires and want what God wants. We need to be repelled by what repels Him. In the context of humbly depending on God – wanting His kingdom, His glory, and His will – everything else will be taken care of. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything you need will be given to you.”
Wears Valley Ranch is the result of a burden placed on our hearts years and years ago. Susan was in Louisiana, I was in North Carolina, and both of us were teenagers. Both of us became aware of tremendous needs of young people, children from families in crisis. Both of us began to cry out, “God, you’ve got to do something about this.” As we prayed for God to do something, God told us what He wanted us to do.
The history of Wears Valley Ranch – how it came about, the way we got the land, the way the houses have been built as well as other buildings, the program development, the staff God has brought there – is an absolute, undeniable miracle story. It’s one miraculous answer to prayer after another after another after another…People who work at the Ranch can tell story after story of the things God has done since they came.
People often comment on God’s obvious work at the Ranch, but God is not sitting up in heaven waiting for us to tell Him what to do next. This is not the way it works The reason we see miraculous answers to prayer is because we are taking our orders from God. We don’t have a plan we are begging God to fulfill. We want to hear His plan and participate in it.
One of the first things that happened after God miraculously gave us the land was to send some people to us. We didn’t go to them; they came to us and said, “Were excited about the children’s home idea. We would like to build the first home.”
These people volunteered to build the house. I never asked them to do it. Normally, when someone says they want to do a project like this, the standard marketing advice is to follow up with a letter and seek a definite commitment. Because you don’t want to give them the opportunity to back out, you get things in writing.
I did not do that. I just prayed and said, “God, this is good news. Please, continue to work in their hearts.”
A few weeks later, they asked to see me again. “What do we have to do to build that house?”
I was convinced that they had a burden from the Lord akin to the burden we had been carrying for this vision for a place for children, so I took them some house plans. They chose the house they liked best but with modifications to make it even nicer.
Building this house was not a project they were doing for me. This was not even a project they were doing for hurting children. This was a project that their loving heavenly Father had told them He wanted them to do. They were doing this for Him.
Honest faith involves a loving trust relationship with the Father. We come to Him, not to tell Him what we want, but to say, “Lord, what do you want? I’m your servant. I want to do your will.” This is what He wants of every single one of His children. This isn’t just something for extraordinary people. And, He causes us to work together beautifully.
If you don’t remember anything else, please remember this: Elijah was a man just like us. God loves using ordinary people, just like us, every one of us. But, it begins with a servant’s heart. “Lord, not my will, but your will be done.” Jesus offers to live His life through you. When you are obedient to His word, you have authority to do what, otherwise, would be impossible. Do you want what He wants?
An excerpt from “Calling Him Daddy” by Jim Wood