“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.” John 14:11-14
Sometimes when we read this passage in traditional translations, we only hear Jesus say, “Whatever you request, I’ll do it.”
That can produce a lot of skepticism! You hear people say, “Oh really, so if I want a Mercedes Benz, all I have to do is ask Jesus, and I’ll get one?” Or, “I can pray to win the lottery, and if I really believe I’m going to win, then I will?”
This translation from The Message helps clarify things. In this translation, we clearly hear Jesus say that we are supposed to carry on His work, and He will give us whatever we need to get the job done. All we have to do is ask. So when we pray for cars or lottery winnings, we need to ask, why we are asking for those things? I think that’s the first part of any prayer. If you look at the context of this promise Jesus made, you’ll realize that God will give you what you ask for because you are doing His will. If you’re going to do His will with that Mercedes or those lottery winnings, then pray for them.
I believe it is God’s will to prosper you. But prosperity does not always refer to finances. God might prosper you through your family’s good health. Maybe He will give you peace at your job. There are a lot of different things involved in prosperity. But they all have one thing in common. Prosperity is an issue of the heart.
God looks at the heart of all people. Men and women alike, He looks at your heart. And if you sit there and say, “God, I pray for a million dollars,” I’m going to guess that the first thing God’s going to ask is why you want a million dollars. If you want a million dollars so that you can gloat about being rich, then I don’t know if He’s going to give it to you.
I pray for finances. I really do. I pray for them, and I believe I’m going to get them. I can’t necessarily tell you why God grants my prayers, but I can tell you the reasons in my heart for asking. I can see all the good I can do with them.
My wife and I tithe and offer because we know that the money is not ours. Any money that we’ve been given was given to us because God allowed us to have it. And I believe that He asks for some of that money back.
I think God looks at your heart when it comes to everything. If your prayer is birthed in sin, it will never happen. Why would God do that? But if your prayer is birthed in the understanding of bringing hope and grace and power, and the empowerment of people to believe in God, then yes, I can fully believe that you’re going to receive what you pray for.
Now, there was that story of the rich young man. You know the one. Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. Is that what we should all do? More on this next time. See you Thursday.