“While Christ is absent believers must ask much in prayer. It is written, ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’
We may well believe that up to this time the disciples had never realized their Master’s full dignity. They had certainly never understood that He was the one Mediator between God and man, in whose name and for whose sake they were to put up their prayers. Here they are distinctly told that henceforward they are to ‘ask in His name.’
Nor can we doubt that our Lord would have all His people, in every age, understand that the secret of comfort during His absence is to be instant in prayer. He would have us know that if we cannot see Him with our bodily eyes any longer, we can talk with Him, and through Him have special access to God.
‘Ask and ye shall receive,’ He proclaims to all His people in every age; ‘and your joy shall be full.’
Let the lesson sink down deeply into our hearts. Of all the list of Christian duties there is none to which there is such abounding encouragement as prayer. It is a duty which concerns all. High and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned,—all must pray. It is a duty for which all are accountable.
All cannot read, or hear, or sing; but all who have the spirit of adoption can pray. Above all, it is a duty in which everything depends on the heart and motive within. Our words may be feeble and ill-chosen, and our language broken and ungrammatical, and unworthy to be written down.
But if the heart be right, it matters not. He that sits in heaven can spell out the meaning of every petition sent up in the name of Jesus, and can make the asker know and feel that he receives.
‘If we know these things, happy are we if we do them.’ Let prayer in the name of Jesus be a daily habit with us every morning and evening of our lives. Keeping up that habit, we shall find strength for duty, comfort in trouble, guidance in perplexity, hope in sickness, and support in death.
Faithful is He that promised, ‘Your joy shall be full;’ and He will keep His word, if we ask in prayer.”
–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 3 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1880), 151-152.