SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 06/08

Promises About Prayer

Reading: John 15

1. Introduction

Believers often complain that their prayers are not answered. You'll hear them say: These are common queries: perhaps you have even raised them yourself: but I can assure you that God does answer prayer. Indeed, many of the greatest promises ever made by the Saviour concern answers to prayer. This morning we will consider of few of those promises. I'm sure that when we have finished you will see that, contrary to popular opinion, astonishing answers to prayer are still obtainable.

To begin with let us understand that answered prayer does not depend upon vain repetition, personal enthusiasm or human intelligence. To obtain meaningful results in prayer we must first recognise certain divine conditions. Meet those conditions and you will get results, spectacular results! Fail to meet them and your prayers will reach no higher than the ceiling: you will be as 'one who beats the air.' Also remember that more can be accomplished by prayer than we believers remotely imagine. So many times we pray without results: all because we do not understand and meet those mandatory conditions: many of which are not even known by folks in the church. So let us without further delay learn what those conditions are.

2. The Believer's Potential

Let me begin with the Master's instructions about a believer's potential in this matter of prayer. It is a promise which is prefaced with the words "verily, verily," which means "truly, truly." In other words, what the Master is saying is absolutely true. It is guaranteed. It is an unequivocal promise which has the backing of the Son of God! It cannot fail. Were it to fail, the Almighty and His Son would lose credibility in the courts of heaven; not to mention the doubt that would overflow the church. Here is that promise. It comes in two parts: the first part outlines a believer's potential and the second specifies a mandatory condition which applies to prayer.
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
verse 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14: If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Pause awhile, dear believer, and try to appreciate the astonishing, yea almost incredible, twin facts outlined in that divine assessment of a believer's potential:

During the next few weeks and months, think about this promise. If possible, memorize it and then act upon it: because here is invaluable information about a believer's future role, a promise dependant initially on the Master going to his Father: which he has already done;
and that 'the Father may be glorified in the Son.'

What this message implies is that the followers of Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) are potentially the most powerful beings on earth: for they can - if they so choose - do greater things than the Master himself! What are those greater things? Are they waking on water, feeding thousands with literal loaves of bread, raising the physically dead, or what? We are about to find out.

3. Ask in the Master's Name

The second part of the Saviour's promise is particularly important: that's why it is repeated in the Gospel of John. Here it is:
John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 16:23 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.

Here we are presented with an amazing condition concerning answered prayer. Again I ask you to concentrate on these verses and, if you can, memorise them. Notice the three mandatory parameters in prayer: ASK in the Saviour's Name. To ask in the Saviour's Name does not mean that we must tag the name Yeshua, Jesus, Emmanuel, Yahshua or Yahoshua (or any other variation of the name) onto the end of every prayer to guarantee results. Try doing this and see how far you get. Oh no; to ask in Messiah's Name means: In other words, to ask in the Saviour's Name means to ask as he would ask, with the right motives, the right attitude and for the right things. Only when this compulsory condition is met, will you receive astonishing, yea unimaginable, results; and - dare I say it! - greater by far than the physical miracles the Saviour performed during his earthly ministry!

4. Unanswered Prayer

In his famous Sermon on the Mount the Master says this:
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

How well known these words are: but how few find in them a living reality. Why is this? The answers are legion, but here is, arguably, the most probable:
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

In other words, people ask for the wrong things and with the wrong motives: for personal gain, glory or pleasure. I will not expand on this thought, simply because everyone will think that it doesn't apply to them. The fact is, most of us have little or no idea how to assess our own motives. We delude ourselves into thinking we have pure motives: but He who weighs the soul knows better. The fact is we ALL ask amiss and don't even know it. This is the number one reason why most prayers go unanswered. Yes, we all ask amiss!

5. Abiding in Him

Strange as it may seem, a believer may appear to meet these mandatory conditions and still fail to get meaningful results. Why is this? The answer - and I hesitate to say it - often lies in the area of personal holiness.
John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.

To abide in Christ means to be constantly in tune with Him; to be faithful and obedient. In other words we must not expect results from the Almighty if we waver in our faith and doubt His word or His love. Nor will we ever achieve any meaningful results if we cling to sin.
His 'words' mean His Message, His law. For His 'words' to abide in us, we must obey His message, His law. As a result the more we abide in Christ, the more righteous will be our lives and the more spectacular will be the answers to our prayers. Righteousness, and I cannot repeat this too often, is a mandatory parameter if you want spectacular answers to prayer. The apostle James reminds us of this fact.
James 5:16 ...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

6. Fruitful / Lasting Results

Yahweh's main reasons for answering prayer is the salvation of souls and that believers may exhibit the fruit of His Spirit in their lives, fruit that will last for all time.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,
that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

This text links those guaranteed promises about prayer to the salvation of souls: "that ye should and bring forth fruit." In other words it directs all intercessors to the true purpose of prayer:

7. Joyful Results

The Most High wants His people to be happy. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy. Answered prayer brings a quality and quantity of joy far beyond anything this world can understand, let alone offer. Here is the promise of Christ.
John 16:23 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.
24: Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

8. Believe

The first step in getting extraordinary answers to prayers is to build up one's faith. This is done by a daily study of the Bible. The Word of God is clear about this:
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Mark 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23: For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24: Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

To be sure the Most High will always answer basic prayers, i.e. for 'forgiveness of sin' and for 'life's essentials,' even when a person's faith is weak. But when extraordinary things are requested, those 'greater things,' (the high level spiritual realities which the Saviour's physical miracles merely symbolised) then faith is of paramount importance. That is why it is vital that we build up our faith. Daily Bible study is the answer.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17)

9. The Father's Love

There is coming a time, and I somehow suspect that it has already started, when the Father will so tune our attitudes, aims, performance and prayers that we will begin to ask for the right things, with the right motives, for the Father's glory and in the Saviour's Name. The results will astonish us all. Methinks that day has already come!
John 16:26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

10. Summary

Let me here summarise the almost incredible - but absolutely true - facts about prayer I have mentioned this morning. Facts which we, who call ourselves believers, would do well to ponder, memorise and put into practice. Also remember the Father's love. Yahweh is more anxious to answer prayer than we are to pray. It is His pleasure to answer prayer. It brings Him great joy. Indeed He is anxiously waiting for His followers to pray for extraordinary results! He marvels that so few believe enough to ask for them. Alas! there are so few intercessors in His church. Most believers pray for themselves, their families and their friends. Comparatively few pray for the salvation of souls, the furtherance of the Gospel, the welfare of the church and the glory of God. This is why the truth is making so little progress in the face of evil's onslaught.
Isaiah 59:15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
16: And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.

I'll end with an invitation to join me in prayer - for extra-ordinary results, for greater things!
These will include: You have the Master's promise that all these things are possible if you ask in faith, with the right motives and for the father's glory! Now go to it and pray. Amen.

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Placed on Internet March 1997 ... Updated August 1999