John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me”, that is, if you are following the Lord, remaining in the Lord, doing what God wants you to do, and you are up to date with your obedience to God, and, “My words abide in you”, then you can ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. What does this mean? If we are abiding in Christ, and His words are abiding in us just like Paul says in the book of Colossians, this means we are one with the Lord. When these things are true, you can say God is asking in our asking, or God is praying in our prayer. Another way to say it is we are praying or asking the prayer of God. If you are one with the Lord, you are obeying the Lord, you are abiding in the Lord, and His Word is dwelling in you, then you are one with the Lord, and what the Lord wants to pray, you want to pray, what the Lord wants to ask the Father through your prayer, you want to ask the Father. So who is really praying here? Is it us praying or is it God praying? It is kind of hard to understand. When we abide in the Lord and just stay with Him, this is the best way to pray.
Jesus’ Instructions on Prayer in John 15
We come to the New Testament and we want to look at a verse in John 15. John is one of four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Chapter 15 is actually part of a sequence of chapters. Chapter 15 is a kind of a conclusion to chapter 13ff. In chapter 13, Jesus was telling His disciples some troubling things. He was telling them how He was going to die on the cross. He was talking about how one of His disciples was going to betray Him, and He was telling them how one of His disciples was going to deny Him three times.
Then you come to chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17. In those four chapters, Jesus was trying to comfort His disciples. Right in the middle of that, in chapter 15, Jesus was talking about abiding. He was talking about how we need to be like branches on a vine. He was the true vine. Some people say this describes kind of an organic relationship between Jesus and us, or between us and the Father. Without getting into the rest of the context, there, John 15:7 says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” That seems kind of like a blank check where you can expect God to do anything you ask of Him. Some people look at that verse and they wonder why God doesn’t answer when they pray for something. There is a condition in this verse, though. It says, “If you abide in Me and My words aide in you”. Being a computer programmer, I am familiar with logic. There is a “condition and statement” in that verse. It requires the first condition or statement to be true and it requires a second condition to be true before the result can be true.
The first condition, there, is, “If you abide in Me… “ Without getting into the context, there, one way to abide is to stay in the Lord, to rest in the Lord, or to remain in the Lord. I would even say it means to do the things God wants you to do, to obey the Lord. He says, “If you abide in Me”. Then He says, “And if My words abide in you”. This passage in the book of John says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you”, you can ask whatever you will and I will do it. What words is He talking about when Jesus says, “And My words abide in you”? I believe He is specifically talking about the word He is speaking. I believe it also has to include the words of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
In James 5, Elijah is mentioned. He was a man who saw a situation, prayed and obeyed God. His prayer was in the middle of doing what God is doing. The story of Elijah in James 5 is from the Old Testament of Elijah in 1 Kings chapter 17 and 18.
God is concerned that His people can experience definite answers to prayers if they will be as obedient as Elijah was. Elijah had frustrations, wonderings, doubts and feelings just as we do, yet he was obedient to God’s word. That obedience gave God an opportunity to answer his prayers.
In the gospel of John 15:7, Jesus says: “If you live in me and what I say lives in you, then ask for anything you want, and it will be yours.”, in the KJV it says: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. So look at the sections in this verse. First it says to abide or live in God, this is the obedience. Second it says to let His word live or abide in us. Third it says what you pray will be answered. So what a promise when we just choose to obey God.