“Ask, and receive, so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.” (John 16:24b)
The fullest possible joy! Sounds good. As do other translations: your joy may be complete; abundant joy, overflowing. And all we have to do is ask!
So ask, ask and ask again. But interestingly, Jesus does not tell the disciples or us what to ask for. He simply says ask in my name, and the Father will provide.
Ask in Jesus’ name! Don’t just add it to your prayer as if it is a magic formula. But add it to your prayer, knowing who Jesus is and what he has done for each one of us. Broken down barriers (between God and us, between us and others); provided healing (physical, mental and spiritual); changed society totally; invited us to live humbly and practise justice; to have the fullest possible joy.
When we pray, it is not actually about us; it is about being open to God’s working in our lives, living in his forgiveness and grace and blessing, so we can forgive and be gracious and bless. Mmm, prayer is even beginning to sound exciting!
And when our focus is on God and what he wants to do for us, when we pray in Jesus’ name, it is exciting and full of promise, hope and joy. It’s not about getting what we want. It is about opening up to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And looking forward to the fullest possible joy overflowing into all areas of our life.
Lord, as you have taught us to pray, let us pray so that we receive the full gift and joy that you promise. Not so that our will is done, but Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.