In John 14:14, Jesus says "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."
In modern western "Christian" culture, the idea of praying in Jesus' name is often understood to mean appending "...in Jesus' name" to the end of our prayers.
Using this reasoning, one may perhaps come to the conclusion that if I want a shiny red Porsche because I like to drive fast and look good doing it, then I can simply pray, "God, please give me a shiny red Porsche in Jesus' name" and He is then obligated to do so.
But is this really what Jesus was referring to in this passage?
In studying the scriptures, as in studying any kind of writing, taking statements out of context can be hazardous to properly understanding them. To properly understand Jesus' statement in John 14:14, we need to first look at the rest of John 14, then the rest of the entire book of John, then the rest of the complete Bible. Taken together and kept in context, the meaning of Jesus' statement becomes clearly apparent, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with appending His name to our own self-serving requests.
First, John 14. The content of this passage involves, primarily, Jesus explaining His own divine identity to His followers. He makes some fantastic statements such as "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me," and "He who has seen Me has seen the Father".
When He says "I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me," and then "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word" and finally "the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me," it becomes apparent that in context, Jesus is claiming that the things He does and says are not of His own invention, but rather come directly from His Father.
In this sense, Jesus is acting in His Father's name.
He further says to His followers "I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you," thereby equating the way that He acts in the name of the Father with how we should act in the name of the Son. As Jesus does nothing apart from the will of the Father, so we are to do nothing apart from the will of the Son.
It is in this same sense that we are to pray in Jesus' name. This means we are to pray as Jesus would have us pray. Verse 14 then guarantees that if we pray for the things that God has planned, they will be done.
This certainly does NOT mean that if we DO NOT pray for the things God has planned, then they will not be done. God's plans will be accomplished with or without us. What it does mean, however, is that the only things that we ask for that we have any basis for expecting to receive are the things that are in accordance with God's will.
Thus, John 14:14 is not a blanket permission to get whatever we want -- rather, it is a limitation to the kinds of things we can expect to receive.
Looking at the greater context of the Book of John, we see the same kinds of things often repeated. In John 1, we are told "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." This yet again connects the Son with the Father.
In John 12:23-33, Jesus makes it plain that He Himself does not desire death on the cross, but rather is going to willingly die in submission to His Father. He also makes it clear that His followers should expect the same kind of persecution and should react with the same kind of submission. This hardly sounds like a free Porsche.
Looking at the greater context of scripture, we see a verse in the book of James that could not make things any more clear. James 4:3 says "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures".
There are many more scriptures that could be referenced here, and they should all be researched by the studious Bible student, but I believe the Biblical explanation of the verse in question is now clear.
Thus, through a contextual study of scripture, we see that rather than John 14:14 saying we will get whatever we want, it actually teaches the ONLY things we will get are those that are in accordance with God's will.
I believe you've misunderstood me, though I do not doubt that the fault is mine. You say that "the only time God will listen to any prayers is if it's what he was going to do anyway, hence prayer is useless". I believe what you are effectively saying is, "My prayers cannot change God's mind, hence prayer is useless". If I have understood you correctly, your conclusion is false.
When God causes us to pray, our prayers are not useless. They may not change God's mind, but that is not their purpose. Prayer is an excellent way to acknowledge our complete dependence on God. This glorifies Him. Sometimes God uses the prayers of the saints as a means to accomplish other tasks, such as healings, revelations, and a more intimate fellowship with Himself. These things are not to be dismissed -- they are useful as well!
God causes our prayers to exist for His own purposes. This alone makes them useful!
Regarding your specific situation, I obviously have no idea what exactly is going on. But remember that Paul did not receive an answer immediately (2 Corinthians 12:8), Daniel did not receive an answer immediately (Daniel 10:12-13), and Jesus, God the Son, in response to His own prayer, received a big fat "no" (Matthew 26:39). You are not alone in not receiving the things you ask for.
Additionally, if it is true that you have faith in Christ's gift, then keep in mind that, at least in some sense, Christ did not want to give it to you (Matthew 26:39) -- it was the Father who wanted it to be given to you (Isaiah 53:10; John 5:19). Christ was simply obedient to the Father's command (Philippians 2:8), which was for your benefit!
It is the Father's gift through His Son Jesus that we've received.
I have prayed for a lot of things throughout my life and have never been answered. I have had to move forward and get things done on my own. So I don't acknowledge a complete dependence on God, if so I would probably be dead by now. I have had no experience where God has proven himself to be trustworthy enough to give me the things I need, much less bless me. I have had to do all that on my own.
Through reading other verses in the Bible I have come to the conclusion that despite my desire to have a relationship with Christ and God, They have not chosen to reciprocate, which is frustrating. My only hope is that God makes different choices with my children so that they can live forever in His presence one day.
I understand the frustration, and I get what you mean when you say you have to do things "on your own". But please note that "on your own" always means using things God has given you via an intellect that God created, ideally for purposes that God approves of.
Even "on your own" is all about God. You are completely dependent on Him. If He didn't provide air for you to breathe, food for you to eat, hands for you to work with, skin to keep your muscles protected, eyes for you to see with, etc, you would certainly be dead by now.
You can glorify God for anything and everything in your life, and He truly deserves it.
Hope this helps.
When my kids ask for something I was already going to do or give them, it isn't "wasted prayer" ... it further develops out relationship or dependence, love, provision, etc.
Hope this helps.
Hope this helps.
First, if the Bible is true then Jesus came not to get us to understand that God is God, who on earth needed that? If God wants us to know how God he is, he hasn't many ways.
No instead Jesus ca,e to reveal our Father, the Father who said, "if you being evil lavish gifts on your children how much more Me...the God Father!"
Jesus said the point was that we have his glory He in us, us in him, thus us united with God. Not more human works....we can do nothing...remember...than why more demands?
I believe what Jesus taught in John, the teaching not to the world but to his intimate brothers in the Father. You cannot read John chapters 14-17 and come away with prayer as a works...that is nonsense.
But like you other fellas....God has been awfully quiet. I don't care about cancer, or fancy cars, I want to live in the Joy he promised. If you have Joy...what else is there.
Jesus said the point was that our needs/desires be met, and our joy made complete, that this is baring fruit. He said the thief comes to kill and destroy, but that He brings life in superabundance. Where is It?
"The one thing..."
Faith in God is believing, obeying and trusting what He said. I can no longer believe in His faithfulness and truthfulness regarding Hid promises regarding prayer.
If we can't pray believing God for our sick newborn grandson, what can we pray for. The argument about defending the non-answers to prayer with comments about a Porsche is juvenile and helps no one who has had his faith shattered by believing and trusting God's prayer promises.
Hollow be your name
Your king dumb come
Your twitter page be done
On Earth as it is Burning in Australia
we prayed for rain
it did not come... Hell-elujah.
I'm not perfect but I have experienced some of his blessings, mercy and love. I've also been granted many of my request. I wish I had time to name them. We should pray one for another and not be selfish and when we are in frustrating situations just to name one we are free to take another course of directions with God's spiritual guidance and faith.
Some of you I'm guessing lack faith... just mustard seed faith is all you need. Again I am deeply saddened that some of you feel as you do. Please don't mock God, not everything is meant for every body and God has His reasons. God is Love and I pray all of you will experience it one day. Praise His Holy Name. God bless you all and this is not a judgement statement that I humbly submit.