Extravagant Promises: What About Whatever?

All the dealings of God with the soul of the believer are in order to bring it into oneness with Himself. (Hannah Whitall Smith in The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, 1875)  I wish sometimes I could staple Hannah’s great quote to my brain.

A reader of my post, Prayer Is, asked me to share my thoughts on John 14:13 & 14:

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Some years ago, I taught a study called Live a Praying Life by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. It changed my concept of prayer. The 12 week course starts with this premise:

The purpose of prayer is to release the power of God to accomplish the purposes of God.

 No my will.

Not my (unruly, tenacious) will.

My task, as a believer, is to be so surrendered to God that His desires become mine. Believe me, this is not easy. My will has muscles I didn’t even know existed.

In the study, Dean includes a section on the “extravagant promises” of Jesus. Not surprisingly, the John 14 verses appear in that section. Those texts prompt an obvious question:

Is this a carte blanche statement?

Well, yes, with one important condition. Every “whatever you ask” verse has what Dean calls a “relationship requirement.” Complete (as in “complete”) surrender to the will of God, abiding in the True Vine.

Addressing this point, South African pastor and revivalist, Andrew Murray, wrote: “The whatsoever is unconditional except for what is implied in the believing. Believing is the exercise of a soul surrendered to the influence of the Word and the Spirit [emphases mine].

God, he says, then breathes into us our praying.

I love that thought.

When we are unconditionally surrendered to the will of Christ, He is able, when necessary, to:

  • correct our petitions
  • alert us to the corrections
  • thereby making our prayers more answerable.


When we learn to pray His heart, we recognize His answers as exactly what we need.

And that will be whatever enough.

What is your greatest need in regard to prayer? Time? Desire? God has all the time in the world and can help us set aside the time we need to be with Him.


2 responses to this post.

  1. and speaking of “Whatever!” In the non Biblical context …. could you please sic Word Mistress on it. “Whatever!” is not a declarative sentence. Carolyn xo

    On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 7:14 AM, Debra Celovsky


  2. Posted by Barbi on February 9, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Debra, I agree. Don and I have had this same conversation. But I still struggle with it. For example, when my dad had cancer it was very hard to line up my will of physical healing with possibly God’s will of healing through death. I guess if our will is so lined up with God’s then I think the asking would change. However, like you mentioned, Jesus did ask to have the cup pass from him but was willing to surrender to God’s will. So there is nothing wrong with us submitting our request but yet being in submission to God’s will. So my prayer could have gone..Lord, I ask that through your power you bring physical healing to my dad but if that is not your will then may he be blessed with entering into your presence. I think this is where even new believers are confused. They see us pray earnestly, and in Pentecostal settings, very earnestly and loudly, declaring and requesting healing. But is this right? Should we not simply make our request known and submit to his will? This subject leaves a lot to chew on. Thanks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: