Anything you want – you got it :-)

Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

What does it mean to ask for something in another person’s name? Is it a blank check for whatever I might want? I’m not sure …

Suppose that every day, you and your dad go to the AM-PM mini-mart and get a snack. One day, your dad can’t go with you, and he says, “Go by yourself, and ask for whatever you want in my name.” So you go, and see something you want – a nitrate-tainted mystery-meat weiner (hey, I’m a vegetarian 🙂 – but the store clerk will not give it to you …. why not? Because you stood in the place of your dad, who was gone, and asked for something “in his name” – asked for something he himself would have requested for you …… that weiner wouldn’t make your joy completer.

Maybe asking for something in Jesus’ name means asking for something he would want for you … something that will align you with what God desires for you. But how can doing what someone else wants, even God, make one’s joy complete?

I asked Fr. Marsh once about God’s will and he wrote …

We tend to think of God’s will as a blueprint we can follow or ignore, but it can’t be like that. God’s will has to be as responsive to the moment as ours is. When Ignatius was writing, the whole idea of “will” was rather different than ours … back then, will was the aspect of the soul associated with love and with desire … instead of God’s will, God’s deaire is how I think of it. What is God desiring right now for me?

I think (on my good days) that God’s desire for me is the same thing that I most deeply want for myself … so if I ask for something that sends me in that direction, in J’s name, God may well give it to me and make my joy complete 🙂

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13 responses

  1. “What does it mean?”, Crystal; it means a dozen things to a dozen people, and you have expressed very well what it means to you.I think you and Fr. Marsh have gotten it exactly right.Marsh has humanized God’s will for us, puts it in the category of a personal relationship instead of a machine handing down orders to which everyone is required to comply.God won’t ask me to do the same thing he asks you.

  2. Hi Larry. I was always afraid god’s “will” would be for me to work in a leoer colony in Zimbabwe, so I never asked him about it … still haven’t, too scared and selfish 🙂

  3. That’s the one thing I never can do. Ask God or Jesus for something. I rather if he listen to somebody else. Their need are more than mine. I will thank them for a beautiful day but never ask.

  4. Hi Cathy. Some things I have to ask for … when my loved ones are ill, I really bug Jesus/God a lot. But I have managed not to ask for the winning lottery numbers so far 🙂

  5. I would be very comfortable with the idea of not asking God for stuff if it weren’t that the clear witness of scripture and the vast majority of Christian tradition all affirm prayers of petition and intercession. Its there. Its commended and commanded.What do we do with it?

  6. Hey Crystal!Why don’t you ask God tos end you to the lepers in Zimbabwe and see waht happens. I know whenever I get high notions of mission and far reaching minsitry and start praying about it i get this strong urge to do laundry or wash the dishes or peel potatoes.But who knows — maybe God only sends people to Zimbabwe who don’t want to go. Better buy suinblock just in case.

  7. So many great comments.I think the whole idea of ‘God’s will’ has been a bit misrepresented. I also used to be afraid of surrendering to God’s will, for the same reason: something terribly distasteful might happen. I have come to realize that God’s will (for me as an individual) is pretty simple: God is willing to give me this life to do my purpose. God is supportive of my accomplishing my purpose in life… he is willing to do that.

  8. David, there isn’t enough sunblock in California to save a paleface like me if I end up in Zimbabwe :-).The online retreat I took was very encouraging about people doing “heroic” missions … one example was a suggestion to go to the Dominican Republic and work among the poor. Which is a really good thing to do, of course. Instead I send $ and feel guilty.

  9. Hi Mark. Yes, I agree. The guy who was my spiritual director during that retreat I mentioned said that though God generally like people to help each other, I should find out what he wants me to do … the weird thing is, I think that may be “to be happy”, as self-serving as that sounds.

  10. Hi Crystal,You write, “I think (on my good days) that God’s desire for me is the same thing that I most deeply want for myself…” I have been considering this and I think you are very perceptive. Could it be that God’s desire already resides within us? If we accept that this may be true, I wonder why we pray for what we want, when it may be God’s desire already may be percolating within us? Guessing, I’d say that possibly praying is a helpful way to seek clearness on the matter. I’m with Cathy on this one. I seldom pray for what I wish for. For me it has ended as a set up for disappointment. However, I do some pretty deep listening, which I recognize is my own form of prayer – listening for that ‘still small voice…’

  11. Hi Meredith. St. Ignatius believed that people were created in a way that they would only find true happiness when aligning themselves with God’s desire for them. I’m not sure how I feel about that 🙂

  12. Hello Mark Walter and welcome. I se from your profile you like Rumi. Meredith is a big fan of Rumi as well. I don’t mind him is small doses but prefer my poetry more angst-ridden :0)Why pray if our deepest desires are God’s desires in us?Sometimes it is right to ask a lover for a kiss even when you can see she wants the kiss as much as you do.

  13. Crystal, Ignatius was right, but it works both ways: God’s desire for us is our true happiness; like J. Campbell said, “follow your bliss”. Check out Matt. 7:8ff.

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