Wednesday, May 30, 2012

John 14:12-14

I’ve been preparing a slide show for Open House, which is tomorrow night. As I’ve been editing the slideshow and adding sentimental music, I’ve been tearing up looking at the cute faces of my students! Open House signals the end of the year! I love this night! It’s a time to celebrate the time we’ve had together in our classroom and to reflect on all they’ve accomplished. Yet, it’s a sad time, too, because these 30 students have truly worked their way into my heart this year (nine of them I’ve had for two years). It’s hard to say goodbye.

I can identify with the urgency Jesus had in wanting to impart last minute teaching to his disciples. When my students leave me, they are headed to middle school, with so many pitfalls and dangers awaiting them! I want them to be prepared - not just academically, but also emotionally, socially, and morally. They will be faced with so many important choices in middle school - many that will determine who they eventually will become. So I want them to be ready. I’m thinking about what more I must teach them before they leave me. This is how Jesus was feeling as He continued to prepare them.

So far, He has comforted them with the assurance of their place in Heaven with Him. And yesterday we read that He promised them that they can know the Father if they know Him. In today’s passage He talks with them about the privilege of prayer:

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12-14) 

Jesus, our one and only Mediator (1 Tim 2:5), lives to intercede on our behalf with the Father. Because He is at the Father’s right hand, we can be assured that whatever we pray in His name, He will do. Now, the key is the phrase, “in my name.” This doesn’t mean that if we just tag, “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers that we have our wishes granted! Praying in Jesus’ name means that we acknowledge Who He is and all that His identity encompasses.

So, if you are praying for a new Lexus “in Jesus’ name,” are you praying in line with His teachings on priorities (“Seek first the kingdom of Heaven...” )? If you are praying that the LORD will take vengeance on your nasty neighbor, is your prayer full of mercy, grace, and forgiveness?? :) You get the idea! The better we know Jesus and His nature, the more our prayers will be in line with His will, and we can trust that He hears us and answers our prayers. Jesus’ presence before the Father guarantees that we will receive mercy and grace when we go before the throne. Therefore we can approach the throne boldly (Hebrews 4:16).

It’s not about taking a shopping list to God for all the goodies we need - it’s about praying for His Kingdom to come and for His will to be done. It’s praying for others to come to Christ. It’s praying that they may grow in Him and be protected from the evil one. It’s praying for healing - both physical and spiritual. It’s praying that the 30 students in my class will know His perfect will for their lives. Those are prayers that WILL be answered! Jesus guarantees it!  

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