5th Sunday After Easter – Rogation Sunday St. John xvi. 23
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be always acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord my strength and my redeemer
Text: “VERILY,Verily, I say into you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
I dare say that this passage could be one of the most misunderstood messages of Jesus. Once again you cannot take a verse of scripture and use it without understanding the context in which Jesus made the statement. And let’s make it clear at the outset what Jesus was not saying; He did not say that ‘If you pray to God the Father, in my name, that you win the Florida lottery, He will give you the winning ticket so you can be happy’. You may find that prayers for material things of this world like this seemingly go unanswered. God gives you what you need not what you want.
So what was Jesus telling the disciples and what does that mean for us today?
Jesus is talking to the disciples about what is going to happen when he ascends into heaven. There is going to be a new relationship with God. In this new relationship where we really and truly know God the disciples and those who believe that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah will be able to go to God through prayer and ask for God’s help. For those who truly believe this door will always be open. God will be our Father in heaven. For the children of God, those who truly know and believe in Him we will be like children who never doubt that their father delights to see them and that they can talk to him about anything. In this new relationship, Jesus says we may ask for anything and our Father will give it to us because he wants his children to be full of joy and happiness. So if we can’t expect God to give us the winning lottery ticket what can we ask him for? Here are just a couple of examples. God has given each of us certain gifts. He expects us to use those gifts to further his laws and commandments. Through prayer we can ask God to help us and guide us on our journey through this life. We can ask God to bring his healing power to the aid of a sick friend or to make safe the journey of someone we love. In other words we can ask God to help us fulfill our Christian duty and we can ask Him things for the benefit of others.
But lets’ face it not everyone has a relationship with their father or mother here on earth like Jesus is saying we can have with God the Father. For some their father was not present in their lives, for others their father was not approachable, loving and caring like Jesus has said God the Father will be. Even when children are blessed with loving and caring parents whom they trust they know quite well that sometimes their parents will say no. The parents do so because of their wisdom and love. As Mick Jagger and Keith Richards said “You can’t always get what you want, But if you try sometimes you might just find, You get what you need.” And that is true about what we ask for from God. Because of his wisdom and love for us we don’t always get what we ask for from him. Sometime we get something different because HE knows that it is what we really need at that point in time. We need to understand this and acknowledge at the end of our prayers “Thy will be done”. Not our will, God’s will.
This new relationship with God is made possible by Jesus; it exists in his name. It is because of him that our joy is indestructible and perfect, that our knowledge is complete, and that the new way to the heart of God is open to us. All that we have has come to us through Jesus Christ. It is in his name that we ask and receive, that we approach and are welcomed. It is through prayer that we achieve our confident and joyous access to God. Let us pray.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vain-glory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience and godliness. Knot together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh; turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we be evermore kindly affectioned with brotherly love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And now unto God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost; be ascribed all might, majesty, power and domination as is most justly due this day both now and forever; world without end.