January 28, 2019

By Paul J. Banta

John 14:12-15 says, “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. If you love me, obey my commandments. – NLT

Jesus spent some of His time on earth praying and then teaching about how to pray.  As Christian coaches, we need to be committed doing the same things Jesus did. Why are we told to pray without ceasing?  It then seems quite apparent that Jesus wanted this to be part of the central role in a believer’s daily living. Our Lord promised that He would be listening to our petitions and we be getting the answers when we meet specific requirements. A lot of Christians are confused about what happens when we have those big chats with God so we can get our reasonable request met. Be careful when asking for a 20-0 season when you don’t have the right players and you’re not able to coach them to the standard that’s needed.

A condition that is mentioned in John 14:14 is that we after receiving Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are asked to present requests to God in Jesus’ name, which means praying something that the Lord Himself might pray. Whenever we exercise this privilege, we must come to the Father, depending not on our good works or character but the merits of Christ uniqueness. Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and saying you can be asking in my Name for your prayers are the basis for approaching our Heavenly Father being assured of receiving an answer to our requests. So, start by knowing you’ve got that special connection with God through what Christ did through His death for you and His ears are wide open.

A second thought we have to understand is separation from all the sin we’re doing and asking forgiveness. It would be like plywood covering up the entire goal. We can’t score because the board stops from getting a win. Sin is that thing that will prevent us from reaching our prayers from being heard and taken care of according to the Lord plan for them.  Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”  This refers to our behaviors for at times for each committed Christian do ungodly things. Remember, God looks at our entire outside and inside of what we think, what we stay and how we live things out. If we struggle against our sinful ways, grieve over them, and ask for forgiveness, He will hear our cries and respond positively as it says in 1 John 1:9. But when He sees a hard heart, He is not obligated to listen. If you’re not sure about this, check to see when He last answered your payers when your heart is hardened and did not repent.

Next time you pray, start with words of praise to God for His sacrificial love (1 John 4:10) and gratitude to Jesus for dying in your place. Express to Him that you understand why your prayers are heard because you have a relationship with the Father through Christ and being empowered to do so by the Holy Spirit, not because of anything you have done. Confess all known sin and ask for forgiveness. Then, present your requests to God with anticipation that He will answer.

What’s your next move?