In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, 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. (Jn 16:23–27)
In the Christian life, spiritual growth proceeds in stages. We begin as infants overjoyed with our salvation and new birth and proceed into an adolescent, young adult stage that can last for some time as we assimilate what it means to live as new creations in the world. We learn, we test, we fail, and we rise again the challenge. The final stage is a maturity in which our fellowship with Jesus, the Spirit, and the Father are settled and our knowledge and wisdom can benefit the younger folks who are transitioning through their own stages.
Our life of prayer has similar stages. In our initial immaturity we learn to know the Father with our hesitant and largely self-focused petitions. Our growth phase is the period in which we learn to trust the Spirit to guide our prayer and our ability to intercede on behalf of others. The trust we gain is rooted in our understanding of the Kingdom in which we dwell and our role within it, allowing us to look away from ourselves and toward others. Finally, in our maturity our center is found in the will of God and the goals of the Kingdom. We trust our place in it, we understand the Kingdom to some extent, and we no longer need to worry about our daily needs.
As Murray says, “what our prayer avails, depends upon what we are and what our life is. It is living in the Name of Christ that is the secret of praying in the Name of Christ; living in the Spirit that fits for praying in the Spirit. It is abiding in Christ that give the right and power to ask what we will : the extent of the abiding is the exact measure of the power in prayer.”