During the Civil War days, a soldier had three brothers who had already been killed in the war, and he was the only one left. His mother was dying, and he wanted to attend to her during her last days. So he asked several high-ranking Union officers for his release papers. He was repeatedly declined.
Desperate, he decided to go to the White House and hope for the best. When he arrived, there was a stroke of luck! On the other side of the property fence, he could see President Lincoln’s young son Tad frolicking around within earshot. The soldier got the boy’s attention, and called him over. And then came “the big ask.” He asked if the boy could request for his dad to come outside and meet him. “Why don’t you come inside?” Tad responded. So the two of them marched through the guarded gate, across acres of lawn, and straight into the White House. Immediately the soldier was face-to-face with the President in his living room. His request was quickly granted, and the soldier went home to be with his mother.
The point? When he was alone, gaining an audience was impossible for the soldier. But through the son, access wasn’t only granted. It was easy. His heart was listened to, and answered in the best possible way.
This is a picture of prayer! Alone with our sins, we have no right to ask God for one single thing. Our sins alienate us from him. They only offend him. God will never hear the prayers of the one with sins in their soul. But through his Son Jesus Christ, access is granted. His pure blood has washed our souls clean. We stand before God as one who is sinless and white as snow. Our hearts are listened to, and answered in the best possible way. We have the privilege of prayer! And it’s a privilege, not an entitlement.
That’s what Jesus was talking about when he said, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask for anything in my name, and I will do it (John 14:13-14).'” Notice that “whatever” means “whatever!” Don’t be afraid of the “big ask!” Be bold in your prayers, and trust that God always listens. Have confidence he will respond in the best possible way with the best possible timing. Pray more, and worry less.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, your will be done. Nothing more; nothing less; nothing else. And when my prayers are not met with an immediate, obvious response, keep my soul from doubt and discouragement. Help me to trust in you with all my heart and never lean on human understanding. Amen.