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What If I Got Everything I Prayed For?

What If I Got Everything I Prayed For?

If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:14

As a child, I viewed this passage with awe and hope. You mean you will give me anything I ask for, God? It sounds absurd now, but I wanted to fly like superman. So, I prayed. When my prayer wasn’t answered, I wasn’t entirely surprised, but still, I felt cheated. You said ask anything in your name Jesus. Well, I asked in your name and nothing happened. Looking back, I’ve come to realize that this passage isn’t simply about adding the magic words of Jesus’ name on top of whatever I want.

Still, I’ve repeated this mistake many times in my adult life. In the misery of my addiction, I wanted freedom, so I prayed, asking God to magically remove my destructive appetites. I knew that asking in Jesus’ name meant something about being in his will. God, how could you not want me to stop using drugs? Make this go away – now! Again, I got no answer.

Eventually, in the disastrous consequences of my addiction, I prayed the right prayer, asking God what I must do to be obedient. It was only at that point that my prayer became truly aligned with God’s will and that he answered.

What if I got everything I thought I wanted? When I was seven or eight, I prayed for diabetes because I was jealous of all the attention bestowed upon a classmate with diabetes. Even when I’m convinced that I truly want something, I’ve learned that my desires are frequently wrong. I’m often still that child, praying for things which, in the end, would be disastrous for me.

God answers those prayers that are asked in humble obedience to his will. Today’s passage says this is what asking in Jesus’ name means. So, are my answered prayers simply things that were going to happen in God’s plan anyway? Is prayer just about me being transformed into wanting what God wants?

Every day now, I pray that my appetites and desires would be transformed so that I desire the things that God desires. I do believe that prayer changes things, but even if the only thing it ever changed was me, then it would be worth it. If prayer meant I got everything I wanted, my life would be an epic disaster. Learning to pray in Jesus name though, means that my will is transformed, as I begin to pray with the heart of God himself.

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