The Purpose of Answered Prayer, Part 1 (Praying Through the Bible #178)

TEXT: John 14:12-14

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 177 messages in this series.

This is message #178 titled, The Purpose of Answered Prayer, Part 1

We often think of prayer as something that is solely for our benefit. But, when we look at Scripture, we see that God answers prayer for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, answered prayer is a reward for faithfulness as it was with Hannah when she faithfully prayed to God for a son. Sometimes, answered prayer is a means for God to show His power to those who do not believe in Him as it was with Pharaoh who repeatedly refused to acknowledge the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Sometimes, answered prayer is a way to advance the story of redemption, as it was with Zechariah and Elisabeth whose son, an answer to prayer, became the forerunner of the Messiah. Today, we are going to look at how answered prayer brings glory to God.

Our passage for today is a part of Jesus’ address to His disciples at the Last Supper. Therefore these are some of Jesus’ last words to His disciples before He died, and, as such, they carry a special weight.

To fully understand why answered prayer brings glory to God, we must also understand the will of God as it relates to what He desires to accomplish in the earth. Jesus did not leave His followers behind just to worship Him and commemorate what He had done. Rather, Jesus told them to continue His works. He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.” We are to be imitators of Christ. What did Jesus do? He preached the Gospel, He embraced the outcasts, He fed the hungry, He healed the sick, He comforted those who mourned. Christians ought to be in the business of doing the same. This is God’s will.

Jesus goes on to say, “And greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Jesus, like any good leader, knows that His greatest legacy is not in what He does by Himself, but in what He inspires others to do after Him. Jesus knew that the disciples would not reach their full potential as long as He was around. He could have stayed on earth, but He didn’t. He wanted His followers to take up the mantle and spread the Gospel message far and wide.

Now, what did Jesus mean when He said we would do greater works than He had done? The Bible Knowledge Commentary states, “The apostles would not necessarily do more stupendous miracles than Jesus did (such as feeding 5,000 people), but that their outreach would be greater (for example, Peter in one sermon had 3,000 converts).” The “greater works” that we do are greater in scope, not in substance. It is highly likely that none of us will ever walk on water, feed 5,000 people from a single lunch, or raise somebody’s child from the dead.

But get this: Jesus’ ministry was extremely limited. He did not have the internet, television, radio, or print media to spread His message. He did not have trains, cars, or planes to go different places and reach the masses. Jesus lived, ministered, and died in the narrow strip of land known then as Palestine. But, today, we have a plethora of mediums to get the message of the Gospel out. We must take every means at our disposal and use it to preach the Gospel. We can reach in one week’s time the number of people that Jesus reached in three years. This is the “greater work” that we must do, and this also is God’s will.

Jesus continues: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Some think that praying “in Jesus’ name” is some kind of magical formula that will get our prayers answered in Heaven. It is not. When we pray in Jesus’ name we are staking our claim before the throne of God. We are saying that we have a right to boldly approach the throne of grace, not because of who we are, but because of who Christ is and what He has done for us. When we approach the throne in prayer with a pure heart and pure motives, it is almost as if Jesus Christ is approaching the throne. God looks down, and He does not see our wretched, sinful selves; He sees His only begotten, beloved, and obedient Son. And what father would not grant the requests of such a child?

Praying in Jesus’ name also means praying in the will of God. Would you walk up to a police officer and ask him to help you rob a bank? Of course not. Robbing a bank is outside of the will of a representative of the law. Thus, we must not go to God and ask for things that we know are outside of His will, tacking on “in Jesus’ name” at the end for good measure. Bob Utley said, “The more like Christ one is, the more likely the prayers are to be answered in the affirmative. The worst thing God could do spiritually to most believers is answer their selfish, materialistic prayers.”

A good test of our prayers is to ask, ‘Can I make this request in Jesus’ name? Is this something that would be pleasing to Jesus? Is this something that would bring glory to God?’ That is the purpose of answered prayer — “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Every answered prayer is a testament to who God is — to His love, His mercy, His grace, and His power. He is glorified when Jesus’ name is lifted up on earth through our words and deeds. When the world sees Jesus’ people praying to an invisible God and having those prayers answered, God is glorified and Jesus’ name is made even more famous in the earth.

We ought to desire not just that our prayers be answered so that we might receive a blessing. We ought to desire that our prayers be answered so that we can do great works on the earth, so that Jesus’ name would be lifted up, and so that God would be glorified.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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