So....what's the official cop-out "explain-it-away" answer to this one? How come I could ask Christ for a bunch of things but in most, if not all, cases, my prayers go unanswered? He never threw in any if's, and's or but's in this passage. Thus, I don't see why nothing we ask for in His name happens. I like to ask for freedom to do what I want without any repercussions, but it doesn't happen.
James, I'm in no shape spiritually to give you an answer that will be true. . .but I will answer what I've experienced and hopefully it will help. I hope He will bless these words with His Mercy. (and what every I ask in His Name, He will do) - in the Name of the Father, the Son, Jesus the true Christ, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
When I was seven years old I prayed my first true prayer from the heart. It was honest, it wasn't selfish, it was a true prayer from a true heart. My first two years in elementary school was horrible. I was terribly bullied. I remembered a lesson I was taught by a nun about how Christ didn't complain when He sent to the Cross. He went willingly, He didn't complain. So I tried my best to be Christ-like during this time. . ..I didn't complain. I tried with everything I had to turn the other cheek. Children, really do have a ton up on us who are older and 'wiser'.
Then came the straw that broke the camel's back. My lunch money disappeared every day, no matter where I put it. Someone was stealing it. I would have to charge my lunch then go home and tell my mother. She was an abusive parent - so I got in trouble for it, every day. She threatened me that if it disappeared one more time, then I would get the hairbrush. This was a metal hairbrush that had air vents. It hurt like no tomorrow to get hit by it.
The next day, it was stolen again, but this time I saw who was stealing it - and confronted the boy. I begged him to return the money, and told him all would be forgiven, but if he didn't return it, I was going to get beaten for it. I was in tears. He finally relented and gave the change back. He never stole it again.
But that wasn't the prayer. The prayer was that He would strengthen me to continue to endure and turn my cheek . . . I asked for forgiveness for not turning it this time. For crying, for complaining to the boy that stole my lunch money about my mom.
The rest of the prayer was this: To please stop the abuse at school. . .and to bring these kids to apologize to me and to recognize their wrong. . .that they might turn to Him.
Children. . .I envy them, now. I envy myself as a child, now. I long for that same . . . beautiful . . . trust in Him.
I was in the second grade when I prayed this. For the first time, in my heart, I KNEW He heard my prayer. I KNEW IT. So, I didn't pray it again, I didn't worry about it.
The third year went by, the fourth year went by, the fifth year. . .and all the years where just like the years previous.
Then, my father, a Marine, who NEVER got orders because he was such an excellent instructor at the Naval Base where we were stationed - got orders, and we moved to Florida.
The abuse ended.
I made new friends, I had a four year break.
Then he got orders BACK to the same base. I would go to the same school. I would be surrounded with the same kids.
SEVEN years later - three years after we moved back, I was eating my packed lunch, alone - and this same group of kids walked up to me. I could feel myself tighten up in anxiety as I saw them walking up. This was about twenty kids. Then one of the boys spoke for the group and said, "I want to apologize, and all of us want to apologize for the way we treated you when we were in elementary school." All the other kids nodded with him. Then he continued. "I want you to know that I've turned my life to Christ because of what I saw in you. We bullied you, you constantly turned the other cheek. You never told on us, you never got mad at us, you never treated us badly. You just kept turning the other cheek."
He started to cry. I was never filled with so much joy than at THAT MOMENT.
This 'boy' grew up and became a pastor.
This was my first answered prayer. It certainly wasn't the last.
I turned 50 years old the other day. As I said, I will tell you what I've learned about answered prayer, from my experience. . . and you can take what you can use, and leave what you can't. It's free.
I learned that every prayer that has ever been answered is prayer that I KNOW He's heard. If He doesn't hear it, then He doesn't answer it. Asking in the VERBAL NAME is not what He means. Asking in the SPIRITUAL NAME is what He means. Christ IS THE NAME. It's not the title, it's not the letters someone writes to form a sound. . .HIS NAME IS BEING. HIS NAME IS CHRIST. . .HIS NAME IS DIMENSIONAL. Living, breathing, moving, acting, CHRIST.
You don't ask Him to do something 'in His Name' by words from your mouth or from thoughts in your mind. You ask Him for something by and THROUGH - dying. Christ. Christ IS dying to self. To live is CHRIST to die is gain. . . Your actions are CHRIST. Your actions are HIS NAME. Your actions, your choices, to die to the flesh and to live to CHRIST is CHRIST. To ask for something in His Name is to become ONE with HIM.
If you speak his name verbally and expect an answer, you will never be heard. If you LIVE HIS NAME, He will hear you and ask what you will, it will be done for you. I've seen this over and over and over and over and over again. Living in His name protects your heart. You ask correctly and selflessly. You ask with hope and with true faith.
I hope this makes sense. I'm asking you to forgive me for anything that doesn't, as I'm really struggling with living in His Name right now. . .and I'm seriously not one to talk.
But I know this as truth, because I am a witness to it.