The Blank Check Prayer Promise2
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Christian philosopher and author Dallas Willard was often fond of saying “God’s goal in our lives is to so shape our character that he could empower us to do whatever we wanted to do, because it would always be good.”
Jesus was that surrendered, that empowered. He was so in step with the Spirit and so in concert with God the Father he declared at one point, “I only do what I see my Father doing.” Surrendered. Humble. Wide awake to spiritual realities that most of us steamroll right over with our agendas and worries and hurries and anxieties. And not only was Jesus awake to them but actively taking them up and absorbing them into his moment-by-moment activity.
When we’re remaining, abiding, rooted, and the life of Christ is flowing through us to shape our hearts and our character, our desires and passions start to match up with God’s. God’s goodness becomes our goodness.
This passage does, of course, lend itself to some amount of consternation. Christians throughout the centuries who are much more faithful than myself haven’t experienced this level of “blank check” prayer granting from God.
If we’re at all confused about that, all we need to do is look at Jesus’s own experience. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus himself both expresses his own desires and then surrenders to whatever the Father wants of him—the Father’s will wins out, as Jesus wanted it. But it was not without some struggle
But this does not negate the good news. Jesus invites us into a process whereby we might be so conformed to who we were made to be in the first place—genuine image-bearers who faithfully reflect in our personality a small but perfected slice of God’s character—that we might get to the point where our requests matched his will at all times. Perhaps this will be a part of the perfected bodies and souls we’ll inhabit one day.
My guess is the benefit of always getting what we asked in prayer would be just one of the many dizzyingly glorious benefits of reaching that place of maturity. But in the mean time, how do we take that next step to get there?
Remaining, remaining, remaining in the love of Christ.