“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
Jesus gives us here the secret to authority in prayer. When we truly abide in Him by His Spirit, and allow His word to abide in us, our desires are transformed in such a way that what we want will be what God wants. Then we only need to ask with faith, so that heaven’s will can be done on earth. The difficulty of course is that no one perfectly abides in Him, nor does His word perfectly abide in anyone, so we are confined to a process of transformation. As we walk with Him there is more and more authority in our prayer life because we become more and more filled with His desires.
This truth also gives light to another remarkable promise: “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) Some have thought this to be a simple matter of tagging the name of Jesus on to your prayer and you will get whatever you ask for. After praying in this way, you will find that this isn’t how it works and may conclude that Jesus exaggerated in His promise because you “… prayed in Jesus name according to this promise and it didn’t work!” Praying in His name means more than a postscript to a request we make of God. It means to be in union with Him, it is in fact a matter of the vine (Jesus) giving life to the prayer that comes out of the branches (us). As we live in His name, we will find increasing confidence to pray in His name.
The Old Testament scripture that underlies this truth is found in Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When we delight in God by allowing His Spirit to dwell in us and His Word to be our daily food, He gives us His desires and puts them in our hearts, so that what we want is what He wants. True freedom is not just having the power to do what is right; it is having the desire to do what is right. As we become one with God through Jesus our life becomes easier and easier because our own carnal desires are put down and His desires become stronger in us. As Paul said: “It is God at work in you, both to will (desire) and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)