“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you..” (John 15:16 ESV)
The latter part of this verse is one of those “blank check” promises in Scripture that often leaves us scratching our heads wondering whether it is true. It is helpful to remember that this promise rests firmly on the foundation of the previous words wherein Jesus gives his followers a purpose and authority in the world. Can this incredible promise apply to our professional work and the institutions we serve? Can it apply to budget matters, personnel conflicts, policies, and organizational atmosphere? Yes! Beyond any doubt the promise is as applicable to our profession as the foundation upon which it rests! For example, last semester, several of my professional colleagues and I set aside about 15 minutes a week to pray together. During this time, we pray for one another, but also lift up needs in our institution. The results are far beyond what we could imagine. In fact, at times, we want to pinch ourselves to make sure we are not dreaming. We have seen policies changed, abrasive personalities softened, pride humbled, sin exposed, repentance prevail, and joy and peace increase, pervading the institutional atmosphere. We are seeing the fruit of brotherly love lived out in the business of our library, making it a space where all are honored and God is glorified. All of these things, of course, are humanly impossible to accomplish. In many of the particular matters for which we prayed, God changed us first and then enabled us to become the agents of change and peace. What an exciting journey and adventure! In casesome of you are reading this and getting inspired, allow me to offer some “warnings:”
- Those with whom you pray can easily become your truest, deepest, and most trusted friends.
- Circumstances may worsen before they become better as things come to light and God works. Do not give in to fear. Keep praying remembering that God is the Master at bringing beauty and wholeness out of tragedy and human brokenness; just look at the Cross.
- “Whatever you ask” is a powerful phrase and one we must press into and believe, recognizing that God always answers prayer in the best possible way, but that the answer or resolution may not be in the way or the timing that we expect.
- Praying together, believing Jesus’ promise, may become addicting! As my colleagues and I see amazing changes, we look at one another and with large smiles say, “Let’s pray more!” We are energized as we realize again that God hears and answers prayer.
So, my dear ACL friends, let us embrace this promise and our purpose as followers of Jesus to see transformation come to our institutions in the lives of faculty, students, and colleagues! With God, nothing is impossible!
Laura is the Library Director at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI. She has been an ACL member for since 2009.