“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
When we compare this promise with the experience of most believers, we are startled by a terrible discrepancy. Who could count the prayers that rise and bring no answer? Why?
“If ye abide in Me.” As the union of the branch with the vine is one of unceasing growth and increase, so our abiding in Christ is a life process in which the divine life takes ever fuller and more complete possession of us. Entire consecration to the fulfillment of our calling is the condition of effective prayer. The surrender to God’s supremacy, His glory, His will, and His pleasure, ought to be the first and uppermost thought in our life. To those who abide like this, the promise, “ask what ye will,” comes as their rightful heritage.
“And My words abide in you.” As the words of Christ enter our very heart, become our life and influence it, our words will enter His heart and influence Him. In His words His will is revealed. As the words abide in me, His will rules me. In the exercise of obedience and faith, my will is brought into deeper harmony with Him. He can fully trust it to will nothing but what He wills, and is not afraid to give the promise: “Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
The reason we have not had power to prevail in believing prayer is that our life was not as it should have been. Obedience is the only path that leads to the glory of God. Take the words in 1 John 3:22: “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” Or take the oft-quoted words of James: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Later in Jesus’ lesson on abiding in the Vine, He says, “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you” (John 15:16). Let us seek to enter into the spirit of what the Savior teaches us here. The one thing He commands us as branches is to bear fruit.
Let us live to bless others, to testify of the life and the love there is in Jesus. Let us in faith and obedience give our whole life to that which Jesus chose for us and appointed us to—fruit-bearing. It is the man or woman who, in obedience to the Christ of God, is doing what the Lord wills, for whom the promise of answered prayer is given.
—Adapted from The Believer’s School of Prayer by Andrew Murray.