A man came home one day to find his wife had hung a new plaque on the wall.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

It read, “Prayer changes things.”  Within twenty-four hours, the new plaque had been removed.  The confused wife asked her husband, “What’s wrong?  Don’t you like prayer?”  He responded, “Sure, I like prayer.  I don’t like change.”

Indeed, prayer changes things.  Prayer changes us.  Prayer changes others.  Prayer changes circumstances.  Prayer changes the church.  Prayer changes the world.  Prayer works.  But it doesn’t work because we are saying some words (like a magical incantation), but because the Father is listening.

In the last few hours before His death, Jesus is encouraging His disciples.  He has taught so much, but their sadness was heavy in the room.  They understood that He was going away.  They knew He was going to be betrayed.  Then Jesus continues in John 16:23-28:

 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name.  I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.  No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”  

John 16:23-28
New International Version

Many times, phrases like “in that day” or “that day” refer to “the end of the age” or the end of history, but here, He’s referring to the period we’re in NOW: the time after the resurrection.

From our perspective, we can say, “NOW we don’t ask Jesus for anything, but we ask the Father in Jesus’ name.”  We use the authority given by the power of His name to ask the Father.  When people pray, and they don’t conclude it in “the name of Jesus,” I sometimes wonder by whose authority are they approaching the Father?  Jesus makes it very clear that it is the power of the Name of Jesus giving us access. 

Jesus begins blowing away the fog for the disciples in that room (and us). 

Dearly loved in Christ, do you understand the power of what Jesus is saying? 

God the Father is not waiting for you to mess up so He can zap you. The Father is waiting for your request for help, strength, forgiveness, and power.

This is one more reason why we MUST include prayer in our personal worship time.  We have such a resource waiting for us if we simply seek Him through the name of Jesus.  The Father is waiting…listening.  The God of the Universe waits for you to talk to Him.

What in the world do you have to do that’s more important than Him?

As Jesus told them (again) in verse 28, He came from the Father and was returning to Him.  He has already told them that His return to the Father was to our benefit.

Jesus wasn’t going back to the Father in Heaven to beg the Father to hear our prayers.  Sometimes we think of our prayers as “petitions.”  A petition is what a representative carries to an authority or judge in hopes of a positive result.  This is not how our prayers work.

Jesus isn’t pleading for the Father to bless us.  The Father longs to bless us.  But it’s not because of us.  The Father loves His Son, and we come to the Father because of the Son.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

If you are praying, friend, in any other name than Jesus, I can assure you, based on the authority of Scripture, those are wasted words on wasted breath.  But the prayer of a follower of Jesus Christ lifted to heaven moves the hand of the Father.

Indeed, prayer changes things.  Don’t live off of prayers prayed long ago or a single prayer prayed over and over.  Talk to Him.  He’s waiting.  He’s listening.  Jesus told us to.

Proverbs 15:29 instructs, “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.”

Because of Jesus, beloved, we can approach our Heavenly Father ourselves.