TODAY’S READING: PSALMS 28-33
“To you, O Lord, I call…Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.” – Psalm 28:1, 6
“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” – Psalm 30:2
“Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily!…But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.” Psalm 31:2, 22
In these three psalms, and many others, the psalmist makes a direct plea to God and later acknowledges that God indeed heard his cry and answered.
I believe it is helpful to remember that Jesus constantly got alone to pray. And, I believe that psalms were given to us to show us what his prayer life was like.
Therefore, in these three psalms, and many others, we can see that Jesus was regularly crying out to God for help. Jesus was not about trying to do things on his own apart from his Father.
It’s out of the example of his own prayer life that Jesus said to the disciples:
- “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do.” – John 14:12
- If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” – John 14:13
- “If you abide in me, and my words abide in your, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7
- “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” – John 15:16
- “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” – John 16:23
- “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” – John 16:24
At least six times in his dissertation with the disciples at the Lord’s supper, Jesus told the disciples to ask – whatever, anything – in his name, that is according to his character, and he and the Father would do it for them.
If Jesus had said this once, then we might be excused for overlooking it. We might get away with saying that’s not what he really meant. Perhaps if Jesus said it one time we could put qualifiers on his statement.
But, Jesus made the basic statement “ask whatever in my name and I will do it” six times.
We cannot overlook this. We cannot say, “He didn’t really mean that.” We cannot say, “Well, maybe in the days of the apostles.” We cannot say, “But, in reality, Jesus really meant…”
To pray and get answers like we see recorded in the psalms, to pray and get answers like Jesus, we have pray the way he instructed us.
Ask anything according to his character and he will do it!
So, why aren’t more prayers answered?
I believe there are two primary reasons.
First, we haven’t taken the time to find out if what we are asking for is according to his name and character.
Second, we doubt these six statements that Jesus made. We tell ourselves it can’t possibly be true. And, so we pray in unbelief. But, it is unbelief that prevented Jesus from working in his earthly life and it is unbelief that continues to prevent Jesus from answering prayer today.
The church needs to start taking Jesus at his word when it comes to prayer. Then we will the Father’s will done on earth as it is in heaven.