Quickly, think of the last thing you prayed about—were you devoted to your desire or to God’s? Were you determined to get some gift of the Spirit or to get to God? “Your heavenly Father knoweth what things you have need of before ye ask Him”? Then what is the point of asking? Good question. That you may get to know Him better. We should pray not only to get things from God but to get a better understanding of God Himself and His will for our lives. Do not stop praying! I repeat, do not stop asking for whatever it may be you are praying or asking of God.
As a person who has tried his hand at learning multiple languages, more successful with one than another, I appreciate the English language. Especially, the poetic yet definitive style used in the King James edition of the Holy Bible, that is not to say other versions of the Bible are of less value, not true. My Christian foundation is tied to the KJV and I studied Old English in school to get a better understanding of Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be.” I chose the “to be” and many years later Shakespeare’s Old English helps me to understand the Word of God in a different context.
Take for instance the words “whatever” and “whatsoever” only two letters distinguish their spelling, but in the Bible their meanings are very different. Contextually speaking whatever refers to “any thing” available, and whatsoever refers to “any thing at all” that may become available. “And whatsoever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). Jesus makes the point to His disciple that you can have things that are not immediately available. How? Ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. Shakespeare eat your heart out.
There is a deeper underlying message to be found in Jesus’ statement, He is offering a guarantee; “And whatsoever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). If asking in prayer and believing is not enough for you ask in “My name” and I will do it for you personally. This is Jesus’ way of saying if you really want to get my attention, ask in my name and I will respond to you and your prayer request. Jesus leave little room for doubt in the believer’s mind, He is committing himself, “that I will do” for you.
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatsoever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:23). The ruling disposition in Jesus’ life was I can do only what the Father allows me to do, I am here to do His will and His will alone. Jesus is saying to his disciple, the day is coming I will no longer be with you physically, but be assured “whatsoever” anything at all, that you ask of the source, the Father, in my name He will give you. Every believer should rejoice knowing that Jesus is our intercessor and the Father is the source of all things hoped for, all things asked for.
This is the disposition that allowed Jesus to understand that the Father is the source and control the distribution of everything; “Whatsoever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I-John 3:22). This same disposition should rule in the Christian’s life, and prayer and asking is our way of understanding the relationship between the source and the recipient of whatsoever we ask.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen”. (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ