Monday, December 13, 2010

Prayer, two kinds

I have thought a lot about what Jesus said, that we could ask anything in His name and He would give it to us. This is one of those passages that people take issue with, because there are so many anecdotal rebuttals.

But this is the word of God: "I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name" (John 15:16). If Jesus said it, it can't be discounted. There are several passages like this that I label "too big to understand," place them at the throne of God, and mull over them until God chooses to give me insight.

Something dinged in my head the other day. Notice that Jesus said in John that we will produce fruit...and here is why grammar is important. What is the conjunction in that sentence? "So that" in the New Living translation. "Then" in the New International. I don't know Greek, but these two English translations use a connecting word that implies consequence. Not a strong link, but a somewhat loose, "well, once this happens, then this follows." What comes first? Fruit. What comes next? Ask whatever you want, and I will give it.

Whoa! What? Produce fruit and then have a powerful prayer life? Isn't this backwards? Don't we teach people that they should develop a powerful prayer life in order to produce fruit? This thinking was really messing with what I have been taught in church. So I asked do we produce fruit, if we are not to pray that you do it and poof, you do?

If you go back a little in John 15, there is the answer: "Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit" (verse 5).

And I really need to summarize here, because I have to get to work. But think...there are two kinds of prayer here. The prayer that is cuddling up to your Daddy and learning about Him. Being with Jesus, just hanging out, to listen to Him and get to know Him more. That's abiding. If you abide, you bear fruit. And once you bear fruit, you are to the point where you can ask for anything in His name. First, I suppose you have to learn what His name represents, and then you will have the power to ask.