The Challenge to Pray Without Fear
Ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. — John 15:7
Some parts of the Bible are simply more difficult to believe than others.
And I think John 15:7 is certainly a challenge. Strangely, in many ways I think we find it more difficult than even miraculous accounts like Lazarus coming back from the dead at the command of Jesus (in John 11).
Perhaps it’s easier for us to imagine there was a special time very long ago and very far away where dead bodies could come back to life, a man could walk on water, and lunch for 5000 could spring into existence from a handful of loaves and fishes. Maybe these miracles in the pages of the Bible are easier for us to believe because they are not touching our lives in a palpable way.
But this promise about prayer in John 15:7 is different. It leaps out of the ancient text and challenges our faith where we live right now. It is truly an amazing promise that is very difficult to brush aside as something only meaningful to ancient Bible characters. Jesus was speaking not only to his closest followers at the moment, but to all generations of Christians that would follow—including us today.
My new book, Fearless Prayer: Why We Don’t Ask and Why We Should brings this remarkable verse back to life for our time and attempts to address all the reasons that we don’t take this promise seriously. Jesus said it, and he really meant it. I found that apprehending this promise in its proper context and overcoming the objections has been one of the most fruitful endeavors in my
Here is a brief summary of my exciting findings:
- It is a conditional. Jesus said, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” But I make the case that most Christians I know fulfill this conditional and hence ought to expect the result.
- I often hear “we need to be careful with verses like John 15:7 because it is sometimes abused by ‘word-faith’ or ‘prosperity’ preachers who have wandered into heresy.” Although this is true, my response is that I’m not going to let those who might abuse this passage rob me of gleaning the wonderful promise that the Lord himself had in store for us.
- We often find this promise difficult because we are immersed in a culture that simply does not think supernatural things (like answers to prayer) happen. This affects us all—no matter how spiritual we are. But the Lord can help us overcome it.
- There is an important context to this passage. Jesus speaks this promise in context of giving his famous “vine and branches” discourse. The thrust of the whole passage is about being plugged into Jesus (the vine) and bearing his fruit for his kingdom.
The conclusion, then, is this: if you are abiding in him, and his words are abiding in you and you want to serve him and bear his fruit, then you can take this to the bank, you truly can ask for anything and it will be done for you! This is based on the authority of the infallible words of Jesus himself.
I urge you to try this today. If you have any need in your service to the Lord, ask him boldly and prepare to praise him for his amazing provision.
These words were spoken by Jesus and recorded faithfully in the Gospel of John (15:7).