What is the purpose of prayer? Why ought we to ask God for things?
One answer to this question is that prayer is meant to prove me. This answer is found in John 15:7-8.
We love brackets and arcs because God uses them to open up to us doors of understanding in the Word, in which we long to abide.
Jesus has been explaining to his disciples that he is going away, and encouraging them that this is actually a very good thing for them. One reason for this is that in the new arrangement, Jesus will be teaching them from within as he and the Father make their home in the disciples (and us) via the Spirit. The second reason that Jesus’ going away is for their good is found in the fact that he is going to the Father’s side, he explains. Returning there, no longer confined by the emptying of himself in taking on humanity, the Son of God (along with the Father) will sit ready to answer our prayers with sovereign power.
With that context (i.e. chapter 14), we meet this surprising and glorious purpose for prayer. As we abide in Jesus, we may ask God to produce fruit in our lives. Why? Because this is how God the Father is glorified, by us being proven true disciples through our fruitfulness. Or to put it another way, God’s glory shines forth as we are filled with Jesus’ joy (see verse 11). And so for this we pray!
Doesn’t sound like a bad deal, does it? Perhaps this is new to you, and perhaps not. Either way, please let me encourage you to stop and pray—i.e. now—for Jesus’ joy to fill you today, to the glory of God!