Principles of Prayer:

Jesus is going to depart, and the disciples cannot go with Him. Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled (John 14:1).” While the disciples had Jesus physically present, they did not need to pray to Him, making the instructions given by Him in John 14:12-15 to pray in Jesus’s name new information.

Prayer is a tool given to Christ’s disciples to encourage their belief in Him. We cannot grow in our faith without prayer. Believers must rightly understand and exercise prayer in agreement with the Word of God.

Jesus has given us specific prayer principles to grow our faith and to prevent our hearts from being troubled.

Principle 1 - Prayer is a Profession

Prayer is a profession, to declare and admit openly and freely. Jesus wants us to ask (John 14:13-14). Prayer requires action on our part. When we examine how Jesus prays, it is evident that prayer is intentional, verbalized communication (John 14:16). Jesus models asking the Father when He prays for His own (John 17:9) and tells us how we, too, need to ask when we pray. Five more times in the upper room discourse Jesus tells the disciples that they need to ask (John 15:7, 16; 16:23, 24, 26). Only Christians have access to Jesus and the privilege of asking in prayer. Do not let your heart be troubled, instead, ask in prayer.

Principle 2 – Prayer is for the Purpose of God’s Glory

Prayer is for the purpose of God’s glory (John 14:13-14). The way God answers our prayers may not be what we want but will always bring God glory. Believers must lay aside their own wants, wishes, hopes, and desires, and truly yearn for God’s will to be accomplished. Do not let your heart be troubled, instead, ask in prayer for the purpose of God’s glory.

Principle 3 – Prayer has a Promise by Jesus to Glorify God

Jesus will do whatever we ask (John 14:13-14) when our prayers align with who He is, why He came, and what He came to accomplish. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus is:

  • the Word
  • the Light of the World
  • the Lamb of God
  • the Bread of Life
  • the Living Water
  • the Resurrection and the Life
  • the Good Shepherd
  • the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • the Vine

These descriptors point us to Jesus being the Savior, the one who gives life eternal. Jesus came to save the world. We must pray according to who Jesus is and pursue the greater works (Acts 2:37-41; 6:7) that He promised we would do (John 14:12).

Do not let your heart be troubled, instead, ask in prayer with the purpose of God’s glory, knowing that Jesus will keep His promise to glorify God.

Principle 4 – Prayer is through the Person of Jesus

In John 14:13-14, we learn that prayer is in the person of Jesus. His name is not a magic word or formula guaranteeing anything we want. We need to understand who Jesus is and what He desires which is the saving of the lost. Our prayers in the name of Jesus, giving us access to the Father, should align with His character, will, words, and works.

So do not let your heart be troubled, instead, ask in prayer with the purpose of God’s glory, through the person of Jesus, knowing that He will keep His promise to glorify God.

Principle 5 – Prayer is Answered on the Pathway of Love and Obedience

Prayer is answered on the pathway of love and obedience (John 14:15). Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is commanded twice in John 14:11. Belief is manifested in the actions of love and obedience to our Lord and is evidence that we are His. Living out our faith by love and obedience to our Master reveals to others that we are in Jesus Christ.

Right praying requires right living. If we are going to pray, asking with the purpose of God’s glory, believing in Jesus’s promise to glorify the Father, and praying in the person of Jesus, then we must be diligently living out our faith before others in love and obedience to Him.

Prayer is necessary for each believer to ‘let not your heart be troubled’ and is given to grow each believer in faith and relationship with the precious Savior, Jesus Christ.

Application Points

  • Is God big enough in you to bring Himself glory? Does God have enough priority in your heart that you say ‘not what I want but God’s will be done?’ Jesus models this purpose to glorify God all the way to the cross.
  • Consider your own prayer life. Is it mostly about what you want? Or is it about God’s purposes and glory? About the salvation of souls in Jesus’s name?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • John 17; Acts 2, 6
A Hymn to Encourage: "Sweet Hour of Prayer"

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
that calls me from a world of care,
and bids me at my Father's throne
make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
my soul has often found relief,
and oft escaped the tempter's snare
by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
the joys I feel, the bliss I share
of those whose anxious spirits burn
with strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
where God my Savior shows his face,
and gladly take my station there,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
thy wings shall my petition bear
to him whose truth and faithfulness
engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since he bids me seek his face,
believe his word, and trust his grace,
I'll cast on him my every care,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!