Dear Peddie Church Family,
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). These are some of the boldest words that our Lord Jesus spoke on prayer.
In this verse, simple yet so rich in meaning, is God’s amazing willingness to answer our prayers. Who are we that the Almighty God promises to answer whatever we ask? What are mortals that the infinite Creator of the universe cares about our concerns? (Psalm 8:4) We need to pause for a moment here and allow ourselves to be astonished by God’s readiness to hear our concerns and answer them, however small or big they are.
Yet this verse also asserts that prayer is not a one-sided relationship. It is much more than asking God in order to get whatever we want. God’s promise to answer whatever we ask is contingent upon our abiding in Christ and His Word abiding in us.
It is then vastly important for us to understand what it means for us to abide in Christ and for His Word to abide in us.
First, to abide in Christ is to abide in His Word. His Being and His Word are inseparable, for Christ is the eternal Word (John 1:1). We do not know Christ apart from His Word revealed in the Scripture. Without the Word guiding our prayers, whatever we think of Christ is but a figment of our imagination. Our prayers must be formed by the Word.
Second, to abide means to dwell continually. It’s not stopping by at a church service or listening to sermons, but dwelling continually in the Word moment by moment. It is to make our home in the Word day and night.
You might say, “We don’t live in a monastery where we can read the Bible all day long. How can we abide in the Word as we work, study, or interact with people?”
Abiding in the Word does not mean a nonstop reading of the Bible. Instead, it is to be mindful of the Word as often as we can, to remember the Word in the midst of our ordinary activities, and to obey His Word as we become aware of it.
The kind of prayer our Lord Jesus speaks about in John 15 arises from the heart that is thoroughly soaked in the Word.
As we abide in Christ and His Word in us, we are nourished by Christ Himself. Increasingly, we take on His character, and our will becomes conformed to His will. And the amazing promise that God will answer whatever we ask will become ours.
In the service of Christ,
– Pastor James