“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)
There is a very specific caveat that must be applied by us if you want the fulfillment of the last part of this verse, if you want to ask anything of the Lord and receive it, you must abide in Him, and His Word must abide in you.
Charismatics, Pentecostals, give them whatever name you desire, the name it and claim it group really like the last part of this verse, they attempt to hold the Almighty to His promise without either of the first two pre-requisites, abiding in Him and His Word abiding in them. It is the fallacy of the emotion-based religion, it is wanting without effort. There is a third prerequisite that must be at least understood here, what we ask must be in the will of God, and if you do not study the Word of God, you will not know His will.
Abiding in one sense means to rest in the full assurance, and that assurance must not waver. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:6) Here is where the intellect must master our thoughts, emotions can be modified by circumstances, truth cannot be modified no matter what is occurring in you or around you, it remains the constant.
Another verse then must be brought before us, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25) The flesh does not pray, as it were, like the mind does, it seeks self-gratification, and “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)
The mind serves Christ, the flesh does not, yet without attempting to burden you with too much on this subject, I will add yet one more verse to the equation. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
If you are not abiding in Christ, if His Word is not abiding in you, you may ask anything you want of Him, but you will receive little or nothing of what you asked for.
Now the question must be posed, how do we abide in Him, for having His Word abide in us is much easier, so to speak.
My beautiful wife has the ability to memorize verses of the Scripture, many more than I could ever hope to, but they mean little in reference to her asking anything of the Lord if she does not abide in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that abiding, that unquestioning assurance is hindered not just in her, but in all of us by the flesh, by our emotions, by the current circumstances in our lives. The old man in us, our old sinful nature that will not be removed until we are glorified does not trust God. So, with the mind that serves the Lord we ask, understanding that what we ask must be in His will.
This one single verse is the hinge point of our prayer life, if you are suffering from some physical ailment, and yet are fulfilling the first two prerequisites, and you ask for it to be removed, yet it remains, then you must accept that suffering as His will for you. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
If you are being persecuted for His name’s sake, yet prayer does not alleviate that persecution, then you must hear 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Asking anything in His name and accepting the answer you receive is one of the surest signs of an obedient and willing servant of the Most High God.
My friends, what we want is not always in the will of God, we must understand and accept that, our will must be transformed into His will. The flesh will fight you at every step on this path. Asking anything in His name must always be asked solely for His glory, and four words that many of us do not fully understand must be the end of every such prayer,
“Thy will be done.”