If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7, NKJV
Armin Gesswein called it, "One of the rarest prayer promises in the Bible," referring to the words of Jesus to the disciples in the Upper Room when he said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).
Think of it for just a minute: Ask whatever you want, and you get it! No wonder Armin Gesswein, a great man of prayer whose seven-decades-long ministry of encouraging people to pray for revival, calls this one of the rarest prayer promises in all the Bible.
The word that Jesus used means more than just casually asking for something. The actual meaning of the word aiteo means, "to ask or request; to require," or "to demand." Of course, demanding something is a great deal stronger than making a casual request for something. Saying to a neighbor or a friend, "When you can, would you mind returning the cooking pot you borrowed last month," is a great deal less intense than saying, "I want the money you owe me returned by five o'clock Friday night. Do you understand?"
Asking and demanding are on the opposite ends of emotional intensity. So the question needs to be confronted, "Is it valid to demand things from God?" After all, who are we to be so blunt and forceful with a Sovereign God who is still in control of planet earth?
Campbell Morgan, the British expositor and Bible authority, translated that phrase saying, "you shall demand as your due whatsoever you are inclined to, and it shall be generated unto you!" So he believed the verb Jesus used is stronger than just casually asking, more than saying, "God, it would be nice, when you can get around to it, to answer my prayer."
Ah, just a moment. Before you join the company of a lot of people who do think that we can order God around, thinking that He will do exactly what we request when we say the right words, be reminded of the condition attached to "asking" or "demanding." It is this: Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you!" Here is the key to the whole issue. There are two "if" clauses attached to this great promise, and the Greek means, "If you do this, then this is what is going to happen." Condition #1: Abiding in Christ. Condition #2: His Word remains in you.
Abiding in Christ means a relationship. The word means “to live, or dwell, to continue,” or simply "to remain." It embraces a relationship of obedience, of fellowship, of being in touch. The second part means that God's Word dwells in your heart and life. You aren't a casual, Sunday-only Christian. Your relationship with God drives your life and you strive to let His Word provide your guidelines for life and living.
Then, says Jesus, God honors your prayers, and you see direct answers because you are His Son and He is your Father. Morgan explained it: "If we are abiding in Him, and His words are abiding in us, we shall not be inclined to anything out of harmony with His will."
Prayer doesn't change God's mind, it changes ours; and when we pray as Jesus instructed, we sense what God wants and pray intensely--yes, you could even suggest we demand what He wants--and it happens.
It is sad that so many believers today are spiritually impoverished because they neither know Christ in a deep and full measure, which He intends, and not knowing His Word are often unaware of the spiritual resources which are ours for the asking.
Make sure you are spending time with Him and His Word and then pray with confidence in our God who loves to give good gifts to His children!
Resource reading: John 15:1-8.