“For the Sake of Love” Scriptures on Love, Prayer from L.Willows (Grace, Loving One Another, God’s Spirit)

Walking in Love is walking with The Holy Beloved.  We have been given a decree to love one another as we have been loved (John 15:12).  When we live and step forward for the sake of love it means that we make a promise to live with hearts that are devoted, forsaken – given up in surrender to the will of God with a gaze set beyond what the mortal eyes can see.

When our own hearts are “forsaken”, it means that we renounce and leave behind whatever we cling to that would separate us from the Love of God. We place whatever must “die to self” (Galations 2:20) with gladness and pray that sacrifice is granted. We cannot move forward while grasping to what is behind us.

When we do something for the “sake” of another means for the benefit of another or on the account of another. In the Bible, the words “for Jesus sake”, refer to the truth that all is done on the merit of Jesus, that we have none of our own.

In the same way, when we long to move forward in Love and walk in The Love of God we need to renew our Hearts. Yet we cannot “see our own hearts” by our own ability. This is one of our greatest obstacles to walking forward. We need the Power of The Holy Spirit that enables the wisdom of God to help us. We ask for revelation in prayer and seek redemption so that we can walk more closely with the Lord. David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23 (Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my concerns) is a perfect example of calling to God for the ability to know one’s, own heart.

It takes courage to encounter this kind of bold truth. Yet how can we live with anything less than truth? We pray for the strength and courage to rise above our dependency on false strength, the kind that pulls us back into a sense of power over circumstances and our own abilities rather than being true warriors of The Spirit, ones that serve God. (Romans 8:5, John 3:30, Deut. 6.5) This servitude is one that lives with hearts “forsaken” to the Truth.

because only The Truth will ever set us Free.

John 8:31-32
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Scripture on Loves’ Decree

John 17:21
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Leviticus 19:18,34
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD…

Matthew 5:44
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

John 15:17
This is My command to you: Love one another.

Romans 12:10
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.

Romans 13:8
Be indebted to no one, except to one another in love, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.

Romans 13:10
Love does no wrong to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.

Galatians 5:14
The entire Law is fulfilled in a single decree: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Ephesians 5:2
and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.

1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now about brotherly love, you do not need anyone to write to you, because you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.

Hebrews 13:1
Continue in brotherly love.

1 Peter 1:22
Since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth so that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart.

for The Sake of Jesus Christ

Holy Father,
I run to you in worship today with awe.
My heart offers praise that lifts all to the Heavens that You alone have made.
I cannot fathom the beauty of the worlds that Your eyes can see
or the vastness of life that Your heart beholds.
I am small and here- and Father, You from the Throne of All.
Your Love is planted within my own heart and promised from the beginning.

You are my Redeemer, the Faithful One, our Healer, the Restorer of our Souls.
Your Love is more powerful than all of the tides of the oceans at sea.
It weathers all of the storms of life.
It is my rock and my fortress. You sustain me through all seasons.
I pray that you hold my heart, all hearts with protection against the forces of this world.
Father, Lord keep us safe with you in every hour.

Give us pure hearts, Lord.
I pray that Your Spirit reveal new ways that I need to grow; help us all to see.
Show me the impurities of my heart in this hour, keep us apart from what binds us to sin.
Help me in my need to repent and surrender, let us find humility as we bend to You.
To return with gladness and rejoicing to your lap of Love.
Renew my faith and give me the perseverance to walk with courage and leave behind all that would keeps me apart from You.

You are our watchtower, our protection night and day.
Your strength upholds us, the righteousness of Your heart gives direction and boldness to ours. Your Spirit indwells and prompts as our cause.
Lord, we stand, walk and move only because of You.

Fasten our Hearts to Yours.
We walk forward with You and for the sake of You.
Our hearts beat and breathe because You. You have given us first breath.
I praise and breathe gratitude from all that I am.
For the sake of Christ Jesus.
Let Love Be. Let it walk forward in me.

In the Name of Jesus


“Prayer in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ” by Dr. John F. Walvoord

Prayer in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ by Dr. John F. Walvoord

Dr. Walvoord, one of evangelicalism’s most prominent 20th century leaders, was a man of remarkable depth and breadth. Though best known for his encyclopedic grasp of Bible prophecy, he was also a man who understood and taught the core of Christian theology with unusual clarity and conviction. Wikipedia/ Dr John F Walvoord


The Gospel of John is singular in many ways. One of its characteristics is that about half of the entire content is devoted to the last few days  of Jesus on earth.

In this portion of Scripture we have a revelation of the parting message of the Christ to His disciples which transcends the other accounts. It is to be expected that in these last important words Christ should not only sum up His previous teaching to them, and endeavor to impart to them what they needed for the coming trying days, but also that new revelation should be given for which their years together had been the preparation. In this revelation, Christ looks forward beyond His death and resurrection to this age. It is not surprising, then, that we should find in such a place the key to availing prayer.

The disciples had gathered for the last supper and had finished their celebration of the Passover feast. Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet. Judas Iscariot had left the company of the disciples. Jesus begins His parting address to His disciples. It was the intimate fellowship around the table, with the background of their years together. Christ proclaimed the new commandment, that they should love one another; He had told them that He was to go to prepare a place for them; He had shown Himself to be the revelation of God the Father. He had given them a vision of their coming task: the greater works that they should accomplish.

Then, as if coming to the heart of His message, as indicative of how these greater works should be accomplished, he solemnly speaks these words,

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13,14).

We learn from John 16:14, that the disciples had asked nothing in the name of Jesus up to this time. It was a new command; a new challenge; a new revelation. The statement was clear.

There was only one condition: “in my name.” There is no greater revelation concerning prayer, nor a greater challenge to enter into and claim God’s promise than in this verse. Here, then, is the key to availing prayer. But what did Christ mean by asking “in my name”?

A. The Meaning of the “Name.”

The name by which the disciples knew their Lord was Jesus. This was the name which had been given Him by the angel at the time of the annunciation. ”Jesus” represents for us the work of Christ as Savior, meaning in itself “Savior.” As ”Christ” emphasizes His kingly and messianic character, and as ”Lord” points to His deity and eternity, so ”Jesus” points to His work as Savior.

It is this name Jesus which exalts Christ.

We read in Philippians 2:9, 10, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth.”

It would not be so unexpected that all peoples should bow to Christ as King, or Christ as Lord, but the use of the name “Jesus” here stands out in emphasis. It will further be noted that the disciples did their miracles in the name of Jesus. Sometimes the name “Jesus” is used with “Lord” and sometimes with “Christ,” but “Jesus” is used in every case but one. By the use of the word “name” then, the idea centered in the name of “Jesus.”

It is significant that the emphasis is on this title of Christ. It was nothing new to do things in the name of the “Lord.” Christ himself is said to come in the name of the “Lord.” “Lord” simply meant God, the God of the Jews.

Only once, as far as I know, is the phrase “in the name of the Lord” used referring specifically to the second person of the trinity. This is in James 5:14, where the elders are told to anoint the sick with oil “in the name of the Lord.” In verse 10 of this chapter the phrase “in the name of the Lord” is used clearly referring to God without reference to person. It is not at all clear that verse 14 refers specifically to Christ, but it could be easily understood when taking into consideration the Jewish atmosphere of this book, that the Old Testament usage should creep in.

In any event, the reference to the name “Jesus” in the phrase “in my name” is well marked, whether or not this positively excludes other titles. “In the name of Christ” is no where found. This can be explained by the fact that the manifestation of Jesus as the Christ, the King, is still future, and related to the millennial rule. Without dogmatic assumption, then, we can take the phrase “in my name” to refer to Christ largely as the Savior, Jesus. Prayer in the name of Jesus is, then, based first on His office as Savior.

The general significance of “in my name” can be comprehended partially from common usage.

When an individual does something in the name of another, it indicates union which may be of different kinds.

Andrew Murray has pointed out that this union may take three different lines: legal, life, or love. Legal union is a part of our everyday life. Men in partnership in business are joined so that what one does is done in the name of the other and vice versa. The employee who runs a business for his employer constantly acts in the name of his employer. He may have extended to him all the privileges going with the power of his name insofar as the business is concerned. He can buy or sell with the power given him through his use of his employer’s name.

This is a common example of legal union. Another type of union is that of father and son. The son bears the father’s name and because he has that name there fall to him certain privileges. The union is one of life: there is blood relationship. Then there is union in love. The bride takes the name of the bridegroom. She then has certain rights and privileges in virtue of the fact that she has taken a new name. These modern analogies come far from representing what Christ meant by “in my name.”

He meant legal union, life union, love union, and yet more than all of this. The central fact lies in the power of the “name.”

B. Significance of Prayer in His Name.

The basis of our prayer life, it is evident, is our union with Christ. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray. This first of all has its relation to our position before God. We are joined in “legal union” with Jesus. We are His partners, His servants. We are working in His name. This is our position in virtue of our redemption and new birth. We are carrying out His task in His name. We are joined in “Life union” just as the father is with the son. Our position is not that of one outside the family of God, but one of God’s kin; we are sons of God. We are joined vitally to God through the new birth. Then, there is the “love union.”

We are the bride of Christ. In one sense we have taken His name. We are betrothed. We are joined to Christ as the object of His love in this age as well as in the future consummation. This all can be said to be part of our position in Christ. It does not depend on our spirituality or the quality of our life. It is grounded only on our salvation and our new birth. It is certain that this aspect was included when Christ told His disciples to ask “in my name.”

While it is certain that these positional aspects form a part of this truth, it is also evident that this supreme condition in prayer dealt with more than our position before God. In the discourse recorded in John 14, in the 15th verse, immediately after the reference to asking in His name, Christ continues, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

The condition of the believer is evidently vital in availing prayer. Obedience is a part of asking “in His name.”

But it is not simply a battle to do the Lord’s will that wins answer in prayer. It is not a barter of our good works for what we want in prayer. It is infinitely higher than this. From the teachings in the parting counsels of Christ, we learn that the key to the condition of the believer which corresponds to being “in my name” is found in the ministry of the Holy Spirit and in our abiding in Christ. It is evident that these two features are bound intimately together.

After exhortation to obedience which followed the revelation of the supreme condition in availing prayer, Christ immediately proceeds to the revelation of the coming of the Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Holy Spirit was to be the key to all their work for Him, their obedience, and their prayer. While it is not possible here to treat the subject of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we can take without discussion the conclusion that the essential ministry of the Holy Spirit to believers which concerns us here is the “filling” of the Holy Spirit. The disciples in Acts are constantly being “filled with the Holy Spirit.” It is clear that this has a vital relation to the condition of our spiritual lives.

While each Christian possesses the Holy Spirit and has all the ministries which are accomplished incident to his new birth, all Christians do not continually experience the filling of the Holy Spirit. It is not that the Holy Spirit leaves the Christian and comes back again, but the Scriptures teach that the Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit when he is in the complete charge of the Holy Spirit: when the Holy Spirit has all of him, filling his life, governing his activity. It is evident that this has a vital relation to availing prayer. Praying in the name of Jesus is only possible in the condition of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

As we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are praying in the name of Jesus. As we examine the Scripture revelation concerning the part the Holy Spirit has in the prayer of the believer, we easily establish this idea. Romans 8:14 tells us that the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. The Spirit leads us in prayer, guiding our requests that they may conform to God’s will. We learn, too, that the Spirit makes intercession for us in Romans 8:26. While the Spirit makes intercession for every Christian, it is only possible for the Spirit to lead those who are yielded to His leading. To those who are grieving the Holy Spirit, it is necessary for the Spirit to leave His work of ministering to take up the work of reproving.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit in filling the believer is, therefore, a most vital part of praying in His name. In all true prayer, the work of the Holy Spirit is inherent. When Jesus told His disciples to pray in His name, He was most certainly contemplating this ministry of the Spirit. It was the Spirit who was to inspire them, guide them, fit them, for praying in His name. It was only as their mortality was lifted into the realm of immortality that they would be able to pray in His name. This ministry of the Spirit depended on their yielding to the Spirit in all things. As such it forms a great conditional element which not only determines the spirituality of a Christian, but also the effectiveness of his prayer.

Companion to this essential feature of praying in the name of Jesus, is the exhortation of Christ that His disciples abide in Him. In the 15th chapter of John we have an analogy teaching the intimate relation between Christ and His disciples. In the opening verse, Jesus speaks of Himself as “the true vine.” In contrast to Israel, the fruitless vine, Jesus was the true vine. In the fifth verse of this same chapter, repeating the fact that He is the vine, He adds, “Ye are the branches.” It was an analogy which should have been clear to each one of the disciples.

They were the branches of the vine. They had been cut off the fruitless vine, Israel, and had become joined to the true vine, Jesus. It was a forerunner to the revelation of the church as the body of Christ, joined in organic union with the head. In the fourth verse in this chapter, Jesus bids His disciples to “abide in me.” “As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” The logic was inexorable.

If the disciples were to bear fruit, they could do so only in virtue of their union with Christ. It was necessary for them to draw their strength from Christ just as the branches drew their strength from the vine.

It is evident from the very command of Christ, “Abide in me,” that this is a conditional feature and not a part of the Christian’s position in grace. Yet it is an interesting question whether it is possible for a Christian to do anything else than “abide” in Christ.

It is clear that every Christian is a living part of the vine. Why then did Christ bid His disciples to “abide in me” if it is impossible for a Christian to do anything else? This argument has been advanced by those who believe a Christian can be saved and then lost.

The source of the trouble lies in a too literal interpretation of this figure which Christ is using. The obvious purpose of the figure of the vine is to make clear the secret of fruitfulness. The subject of salvation is not being dealt with at all. Christ is talking to Christians. Judas Iscariot was not in the company when these words were spoken. Christ was clearly speaking of a conditional element in the lives of Christians.

“Abiding” is not the condition of being a branch, but the condition of a branch. According as the branch abides in the vine, it brings forth fruit.

Rev David Brown comments on this verse, “As in a fruit tree, some branches may be fruitful, others quite barren, according as there is a vital connection between the branch and the stock, or no vital connection; so the disciples of Christ may be spiritually fruitful or the reverse according as they are vitally and spiritually connected with Christ, or but externally and mechanically attached to Him.”

It is obvious, then, that “abiding” in Christ is an essential condition of fruit bearing, and also has a vital relation to effectual prayer.

In the seventh verse of this same 15th chapter of John, we have a definite link with our problem of praying in the name of Jesus. It is another great prayer promise with a condition clearly parallel to the condition of praying in His name. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

The condition here is twofold in character. First, it involves abiding in Christ. This connotes our drawing our strength and nourishment from Him, living in organic union with Him, and bringing forth fruit accordingly. The second condition in this prayer promise is if “my words abide in you.” It should be noted that there is a change here from the previous statement in verse four, “Abide in me, and I in you.”

The fact that Christ is in us can hardly be said to be conditional. The change from the indwelling of Christ in the believer to having His words abiding in the believer was a preparation for the promise of answered prayer. It is necessary not only that we draw our strength and nourishment from Christ, but also that His words purge the vine and cleanse it (verses two and three).

It is only as Christ’s words and the words of the Scripture abide in us that we are able to pray according to the purpose of God, and according to our purpose, if we are Spirit-filled.

The promise that “if ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you,” clearly is parallel to asking “in my name.” Each interprets the other. To pray in the name of Jesus involves as an essential characteristic, then, not only the filling of the Spirit, but what that filling involves: our abiding in the vine of Christ Jesus, and His word abiding in us.

C. Conclusion: Praying in His Name in Relation to God’s Program.

It is the clear testimony of the Scriptures that God is carrying out an eternally planned and decreed program. Every element is foreordained and foreknown. The salvation of every Christian is predestinated and a part of God’s plan from the beginning.

How then can prayer be said to really change things? What is the solution of the problem of the relation of effectual prayer and God’s eternal decree which cannot be changed? The solution lies simply and clearly in “praying in His name.”

It is difficult at best to correlate man’s will and God’s eternal purpose. It is difficult to comprehend that God’s plan is unchangeable and yet that man is a free agent. It is not so much that it is contrary to reason as that it is above reason. It is in a realm for which man has little capacity. It is outside our realm. But, clearly, praying in His name solves the problem, insofar as we can solve it. Just how is the problem solved?

It is evident from previous material that praying in the name of Jesus involves first of all the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as He fills the Christian not only teaches and guides, but prays through the believer what has been in the eternal counsels of God from the beginning.

In this condition of being filled with the Spirit, in which all the fullness of abiding is realized, the Christian literally prays just as Christ would pray. Insofar as this end is realized the Christian prays in the name of Jesus. He stands not only in his position as a child of God, but he stands in a condition where he is a free channel for the Holy Spirit to speak through him the prayer which God wants him to pray.

This praying is a marvelous reality. The free agency of man is in no wise taken away, but the will is definitely given over to the will of God. It is an entering into not only the position of partnership, but the condition of partnership.

We become literally, fully, God’s partners in His work on earth. This, then, is what Christ meant when he spoke of praying “in my name.” The wonder of this privilege of praying in the name of Jesus is something beyond human expression. It speaks eloquently of God’s love, of His provision for our Christian lives, of the opportunity in prayer which we all have.

It brings us face to face with the unrealized possibilities in praying in the name of Jesus. There is no privilege which is more blessed or speaks more of the grace of God.

The secret of an abundant, fruitful life lies in prayer; the secret of prayer lies in praying in the name of Jesus. Enough could never be written on this theme, nor could it be adequately treated. Praying in the Name of Jesus is infinite in its possibilities, infinite in its privileges; it is at the center of God’s gracious provision for our lives on earth.


Prayer, then, can be said to be a pivotal theme of the Scriptures. God has a definite plan for prayer as revealed in the Scriptures. Prayer is an essential part of God’s program. Prayer rests both on a Christian’s position, and his condition.

As to his position, God has wrought completely for every Christian all that enters into his position, and thus opens to every Christian equal opportunity in prayer.

As to his condition, the Christian is hindered in prayer by his inherited sin, by his acts of sin, and by the person and work of Satan. Restoration into fellowship with God lost through sin is complete for the Christian by simple confession of sin. Prayer in the name of Jesus is the key to overcoming the hindrances to prayer.

This is found first in the character of the “name,” in that it rests on the work of Christ as Savior. This involves all that Christ did and is doing. Prayer in the name of Jesus is characterized and conditioned by our abiding in Him and our being filled with the Holy Spirit.

In relation to God’s eternal decree, predestination, and all that enters into the immutability of God, prayer in the name of Jesus solves the whole problem in that such prayer is just as Jesus would have prayed it. Prayer in the name of Jesus is therefore the means for accomplishing on the part of the Christian and on the part of God what would not otherwise have been accomplished. It is the highest work of every Christian; it enters into the loftiest privilege; it is the key to every spiritual treasure.

Dallas, Texas
for more information and biblical teaching from Dr. John F. Walvoord go to http://www.walvoord.com

“Four Truths about Prayer”, from John Piper


Four Truths about Prayer by John Piper  Scripture: John 15:7 

Our focus is John 15:7: “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”

The verse has two halves, a condition and a result. The condition — the if clause — is, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you . . .” the result — the then clause — “then ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

We talked about the condition — especially the meaning of Jesus’s words abiding in us. If we are to have consistent answers to prayer, the words of Jesus must abide in us. That is, as we saw from verses 4 and 5, Jesus himself must abide in us speaking. We do not just stock ourselves with dead ideas which he spoke once, but we receive and believe and remember and meditate on the truths that he spoke once and is speaking now as he abides in us.

Four Truths About Prayer

Today I want to focus on the result clause of verse 7 — “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” If the words of Jesus abide in us, then the result will be that you pray with power and effectiveness.

There are four truths about prayer that come from meditating on this verse in its wider context in the writings of John.

1. Prayer is for fruit-bearing.
God designed prayer to give his disciples the joy of bearing fruit while God himself gets the glory. We can see this in the connection between verses 7 and 8 and then in verse 16.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.

“God gets glory when we bear much fruit because we have prayed and God has answered.” 

In John’s way of writing the phrase “by this” at the beginning of verse 8 probably refers backward to verse 7 and forward to the rest of verse 8. “By this is my Father glorified” — that is, by your asking him for things and his giving them to you. He gets glory as the one who is rich and good enough to answer prayer. But also “By this is my Father glorified” — that is, that you bear much fruit. The implication is that God gets glory when we bear much fruit because we have prayed and God has answered. Therefore, the primary point of prayer is fruit-bearing. Prayer is for fruit-bearing.

This is confirmed explicitly in verse 16. Jesus says to his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he may give to you.”

The logical connection between the two parts of this verse is tremendously important. Jesus says that he chose and appointed his disciples that they should go and bear fruit that remains “that [in order that] whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” Shortened down it says, “I have given you a fruit-bearing mission in order that your prayers might be answered!” This only makes sense if prayer is for fruit-bearing.

You would expect the verse to be just the reverse: God will give you what you ask in order that you might have a fruit-bearing mission. But Jesus says it the other way around: I give you a fruit-bearing mission in order that the Father might answer your prayers. The point: prayer malfunctions when it is not used in fruit-bearing. Prayer is for fruit-bearing. Therefore, since I want you to pray and to get answers to your prayers, I chose you and I appointed you to go and bear fruit. Because prayer is for fruit-bearing. If you are not devoted to fruit-bearing, you have no warrant for expecting answers to prayer. Prayer is designed for fruit-bearing.

2. Prayer is not for gratifying natural desires.
Now I know that Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” And what could be more natural than the desire to eat? And I know that there are dozens of instances in the Bible of people praying for desires as natural as the desire for protection from enemies and escape from danger and success in vocation and fertility in marriage, recovery from sickness, etc.

My point is not that those desires are wrong. My point is that they should always be subordinate to spiritual desires; kingdom desires; fruit-bearing desires; gospel-spreading, God-centered desires; Christ-exalting, God-glorifying desires. And when our natural desires are felt as a means to these greater desires, then they become the proper subject of prayer.

Just before Jesus said to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” he said, make it your heart’s desire that God would hallow his name and that the kingdom would come and that the will of God would be done on earth. When your heart is caught up with those great desires, then having something to eat is not merely a natural desire, but a means to some great God-centered end. And then it is the proper subject of prayer.

Prayer is for God’s name and God’s kingdom and God’s will — it is for fruit-bearing in all those great things. If our protection, and our escape from danger, and our eating and having clothes and houses and lands and education and vocational success leads to those great God-centered ends (the name of God and kingdom of God and will of God), then we pray about them with confidence.

This is what David meant when he said in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The desires of the heart cease to be merely natural desires when the heart delights above all else in the Lord. Delighting in the Lord — in the hallowing of his name and the seeking of his kingdom and the doing of his will — transforms all natural desires into God-related desires. They are transposed up into a different key.

Prayer is not for gratifying natural desires. It is for fruit-bearing, for the glory of God. Another way of saying it is this: if you want God to respond to your interests, you must be devoted to his interests. God is God. He does not run the world by hiring the consulting firm called Mankind. He lets mankind share in the running of the world through prayer to the degree that we consult with him and get our goals and desires in tune with his purposes.

The evidence for this in the writing of John is 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence which we have before him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” Prayer is not for gratifying our natural desires. It is for gratifying our desires when those desires have been so purified and so saturated with God that they coincide with his plans. “If we ask anything according to his will.”

“Prayer is for satisfying the desires of people who are devoted to God’s desires.” 

John puts it another way in 1 John 3:22: “Whatever we ask we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.” In other words, prayer is not for gratifying natural desires. Prayer is for satisfying the desires of people who are devoted to God’s desires.

James put it yet another way in James 4:3: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Prayer is not for gratifying natural desires. Prayer is for fruit-bearing.

If we want to have power and effect in praying, we must devote ourselves to getting our desires into alignment with the fruit that God means to produce through us — and that fruit always has to do with the hallowing of his name and the coming of his kingdom and the doing of his will the way the angels do it in heaven.

3. The words of Jesus abiding in us prepare us for fruit-bearing prayer.
If prayer is not for gratifying natural desires but for bearing fruit for God, the major challenge of prayer is to become the kind of person who is not dominated by natural desires (to become what Paul calls a “spiritual person” as opposed to a merely “natural person” or “carnal person”). The key to praying with power is to become the kind of persons who do not use God for our ends but are utterly devoted to being used for his ends.

This is why Jesus says, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” The words of Jesus abiding in us make us the kind of persons who are not dominated by natural desires, but are devoted to fruit-bearing for God’s glory.

Let me give you a few examples that show this from John’s writings.

In 1 John 1:10 he says, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” If the words of Jesus were abiding in us, we would have known ourselves better — that we have sinned. The words of Jesus abiding in us is the key to a true and humble assessment of ourselves that keeps us in line with God’s purposes.

In John 17:8 Jesus prays, “They have received [my words] and truly understood that I came forth from thee.” In other words, receiving the words of Jesus is the key to a true and exalted assessment of who Jesus is — the Son of God sent from the Father. And no one can pray in accord with God’s purposes without a true grasp of who Jesus is in the world and what his purposes are in coming from the Father.

In 1 John 2:14 John says, “I have written to you, young men, because . . . the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” So the words of Jesus abiding in us triumph over Satan and free us from the deceptions that would put us at odds with God and make natural desires dominate our lives.

In John 14:24 Jesus says, “He who does not love me does not keep my words.” So if we keep the words of Jesus — if they abide in us — they will define for us the path of love. And that is precisely the path where prayer was designed to bear fruit.

In John 8:47 Jesus says, “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason, you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” In other words, if the words of God abide in you, you know that you are chosen of God (see John 8:31). The abiding of Jesus’s words in you is evidence of your election and a ground of your assurance. And that assurance is indispensable in praying with faith and hope.

In John 15:3 Jesus says, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you,” and in John 17:17 he prays, “Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.” When the word of God abides in us, we are made clean and holy. And that means: in line with the fruit-bearing purposes of God.

Other examples could be given, but these are enough to show that the words of Jesus abiding in us prepare us for fruit-bearing prayer. It’s the Word that gives us

“The more we are saturated by the words of Jesus, the more our prayers will be answered.”

a humble view of ourselves,
an exalted view of Jesus,
triumph over the devil,
a knowledge of the path of love,
the assurance of our election,
and the power of holiness.

In other words, it’s the abiding word of Jesus that puts us in tune with the fruit-bearing purposes of God to glorify himself. So the fourth and final truth about prayer is this.

4. The more we are saturated by the words of Jesus, the more our prayers will be answered.
Or to put it in a rhyme:

More saturated by the word
More surely will our prayers be heard

The Challenge of Prayer

The challenge of prayer in 1993 is the challenge to become the kind of people who do not live at the level of mere natural desire, but who live to bear fruit for God — to hallow his name and seek his kingdom and do his will. And the key to becoming that kind of person is letting the words of Jesus — the word of God (John 3:34; 14:10; 17:8) — abide in us. Being filled and saturated by the words of Scripture brings us so close to the mind of God that we pray in tune with his purposes and receive whatever we ask.

I think this is a progressive experience, not a once for all one. That’s why the final point is: the more we are saturated by the words of Jesus, the more our prayers will be answered.

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.

More saturated by the word
More surely will our prayers be heard

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Why I Love the Apostle Paul: 30 Reasons.