Amen, amen I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give youJesus Christ, John 16:23 TLV
This is a solid promise that Jesus gives us. He doesn’t leave any room for failed prayers, but specifically says “anything you ask for will be given” – Yet, we see so many prayers going without action while there are times indeed God does answer prayer. So we are forced to wonder why sometimes God does not answer our prayers .. and why should we be afraid to ask?
A good name is to be chosen rather than great wealth, and grace rather than silver or goldProverbs 22:1 TLV
This proverbial wisdom says that we sometimes have to make a choice where our choice may lead us to give up a good name for the sake of wealth. It is a warning too, that even though we have wealth, if the world does not think well of us when our name is spoken, it would be more troublesome to us than if we had not been lured into disrepute by that wealth.
A name is a label that is used in language, to identify a person. Whenever that name is heard, the character of that person comes to mind in the hearer, and the hearer’s mind begins to think according to their opinions of that person. Sometimes a person’s mood can be lifted when they are reminded of someone, and other times they can become upset and not want to hear that name spoken.
The name of Jesus has a tendency to produce that behaviour in a very powerful way.
So a name is more than just the sound of the syllables spoken or the shape of the letters on paper. A name is the whole reputation and belief of the expected behaviour of a person we have come to know.
So it leads us to consider that sometimes a person has not got the right idea in mind of who Jesus is when they pray, and James 4:3 confirms this: although they ask as people with a Christian faith, their motives are so unable to glorify Jesus that he goes right on to name them adulteresses! Even though they would speak the words “in the name of Jesus”, because they believe that is God’s prerequisite, they have yielded themselves as adulteresses to an inferior spirit, so they are praying in the name of a counterfeit.
That shouldn’t really surprise anyone, because just as there are many who have named their child “Jesus”, so also there are many who have taught lies in His name. They have never truly known Him (Matthew 7:21-23, John 14:21, John 15:18-21).
Words are the same as names, because in fact names are words. The functional difference is that names identify a person while words identify a concept. So what is a concept?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary has defined the word “concept” as “something conceived in the mind”. A concept is literally the picture that comes to mind when the word is spoken. So when I say the word “boat”, your mind remembers a concept that was once formed when you saw a thing that is made to float on water.
Things are the basic building blocks of language, because whenever we communicate, we are cooperating in an exchange of conceptualisations – that is to say that we speak primarily for the purpose of living together. The words we use to describe things in the world, are called “nouns”: “people”, “places” and “things”. But we can conceive of non-physical things too, such as joy, patience, endurance, or love. Those things are said to be spiritual concepts, because they pertain to the spiritual rather than the physical.
Surely spiritual things can become manifest into the physical, but they are of themselves spiritual until they are manifest into the physical. A rock or a chair does not have a spiritual quality, because they are simply nouns, and yet there is a spiritual element in the difference between the words “chair” and “throne”.
So this word “spirit” is a very important word in our vocabulary, because it is the essential force that manifests through living things, thereby being a part of our reality that is incredibly important to understand – for it is in the spirit that the war between good and evil vies for power over the minds that ultimately bring forth the actions into the world, creating conditions that can be described as “heaven” or “hell”.
Jesus said “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth”. He also said that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:42-44), and as He was saying that, He was telling them that they were unable to hear His speech because they were of their father, the devil.
Now there is spiritual language in action!
Although they were born of a human father, Jesus is not saying that their earthly father is the devil. Instead He is speaking about their way of thinking by saying that they had taken on the form/likeness of the one who begat their way of thinking, and that their way of thinking was preventing them from hearing His speech. It is not that they were physically unable to hear the words He was saying (because they did return dialogue), but that their mind was stuck in a mode of thinking that was prejudiced to oppose Him and thus resolved to not receive the concept He was attempting to convey by His speech (eg John 10:24-27).
That happens a lot to us in our discipline, doesn’t it?
So that is where love and sin are made distinct, and that marks the sinners apart from the godly. Love will cause us to listen with a genuine interest – to offer our mind to the one who is speaking so that they may lead it to conceive of the knowledge that they wish to impart. Those who are sinful, perhaps being motivated by pride, wrath or fear.. fundamentally they have decided to despise the one who is speaking to them, and so their mind becomes focused only on calculating the words to say that will deliver the outcome they seek – that is, to refuse the speaker the opportunity to make his point, and regardless of whether it is honest or fair to do.
That is where quarrels and conflicts arise. It is through the desires of the flesh to wage war for selfish interests that they close up their heart against the one who needs them to listen. To justify their callousness in the face of love, they have no other means than repentance. That is why they lie and that is how the devil wins them over.
So lay aside lying and “each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.St. Paul, Ephesians 4:25 TLV
Being truthful with each other is more than simply being respectful – it is the only way Christ can remain in us!
If we say we have fellowship with Him and keep walking in the darkness, we are lying and do not practice the truth.St. John, 1 John 1:6 TLV
What makes a person unable to do the truth? Is it fear? Is it distrust? Is it pride? Is it spite? …
So remember that any time there is disunity there is suffering. When we love others enough, we will notice their suffering and we will care. It is through love that He is able to heal a broken spirit, and as we keep giving ourselves to love for Him to work through us, our confidence increases.
We know He is for us, and we have no doubt that what we ask for He is pleased to give.
For He who spared not the own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, with Him, grant us all things?Jesus Christ, Romans 8:32 DARBY