IS “ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE” APPLICABLE TO US?
by Shawn Brasseaux
The Lord Jesus said in John 16:23-24: “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Unanswered prayer is confusing. Have you ever prayed to God for something, and yet you never received it? Why did John 16:23-24 not work? Did God lie? Not at all. Dispensational Bible study dispels confusion and doubt: that verse was not spoken to us. Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry spoke exclusively to Israel. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [Israel] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8).
Faith healers and prosperity preachers enjoy Matthew 18:19: “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” This too has nothing to do with us Gentiles: it belongs to Israel’s apostles.
If you pray according to John 16:23-24 (or Matthew 7:7; Matthew 18:19; et cetera), and do not receive what you prayed for, it is not because the Bible has mistakes, or because God does not love you, or because you had too little faith, or because God lied. God demonstrated His love for us, fully and clearly, at the cross of Calvary. These verses do not work today because God did not speak them to us. God is not doing today what He did with Israel in time past.
When our Apostle Paul prayed three times for the Lord to deliver him from his “thorn in the flesh,” Jesus Christ answered “No” three times. Second Corinthians 12:7-10: “ And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Why did John 16:23-24 not work for Paul? Again, it was spoken to Israel, not to Paul or us in this Dispensation of Grace. Saints, while God will not answer our prayers in the same way He answered Israel’s prayers, He does hear our prayers. Regardless of what happens, Philippians 4:6-7 will always be true: “ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”